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1 June 2017

Get Lean This Summer | 8 Tips That Actually Work!

Sophie Guidolin Fitness Star Inspiration Motivation Fitspo Strong Woman Abs Toned
The countdown has begun & I have only a couple of months before my holiday! We've all been there & all tried quick fix diets, drinks & summer body plans, but how many have actually worked? I've definitely been fooled once too often. But in fact there's no secret to it, hard work & commitment is what achieves the most results. And the best results are achieved with time - some of the Instagram fitness stars we see have spent years building their physiques - I particularly like Sophie Guidolin, who's very honest about how long her progress has taken. I admire that honesty.

Sophie Guidolin Fitness Star Inspiration Motivation Fitspo Strong Woman Abs TonedSophie Guidolin Fitness Star Inspiration Motivation Fitspo Strong Woman Abs Toned
Sophie Guidolin, Fitness & Nutrition coach & competitor.
But what if you've only got a couple of months, or even weeks to feel more confident in your own skin? Well not to worry! Here's my top tips, that have worked for me, to help you lean out, banish the bloat & feel more radiant in time for summer...

1. Low Carb Not No Carb | Know your macro nutrient ratio! If you are unsure, check out my recent post - The Essential Guide to Macro Counting. I hate hearing people say they're on a low carb diet, because more often than not, they cut far too may carbs out, too quickly & then the diet fails. Plus carbs are an essential energy source, especially before & after workouts. I would suggest gradually decreasing carbs each week & increasing your protein to help maintain muscle (along with heavy lifting) & sustain energy. For example, my maintain level for carbs is 260g per day; I have gradually been taking off 20g-30g per week & am currently at 190g. Honestly, I haven't missed those carbs, because it's a gentle decrease. The lowest I will go will be around 104g carbs per day, which is 20% of my calories - see my Easy Macro Guide for more on ratios. But know gradual is key!

Get Lean This Summer - 8 Tips That Actually Work! Eat clean balanced diet
2. HIIT | Hate cardio? Same! Well know that high intensity interval training (HIIT) is actually a more effective form of cardio than an hour on the treadmill. For example try speed intervals on the treadmill, bikes or rower, where you do 45 secs sprint & 45 secs slow pace for 15 rounds. This really gets the heart rate up & is a more effective fat burner. Bodyweight exercises can also be built into it - just have a search for routines! I personally like to do cardio after my weight session, as you've already used up your immediate energy from carbs & your body will then start working on using stored fat for energy. Vice versa, you burn all your energy/carbs doing cardio & don't have much left to push through a weights session. Aim to up these sessions for better results. My aim is 3/4 times a week.
3. Weights | I know I go on about it a lot, but it's my favourite way to train & is a workout that has given me the greatest results. I would recommend lifting for 10/12 reps x 3 sets & really push the weights - you should struggle to do the last couple of reps, if lifting enough. Just make sure your form is correct first! Weight training is so effective, as it goes on to burn calories hours after your workout, as your muscles are repairing themselves! Sounds scary, but this is how muscle grow! Alternatively crossfit is another great workout, which incorporates both weights & cardio. As long as you enjoy it, that's the main thing!
4. Eat Clean | We hear this so much, but that's because it works. I now eat 80-90% clean food & I feel so much better as a result. I rarely bloat, I hold onto less water weight & can eat far more whilst getting leaner! All because there's no rubbish added to my food, like preservatives, excess sugar or salt, bad quality, fatty cuts of meat etc. Don't feel that you have to make everything from scratch however - such as coconut milk, peanut butter & bread - who has the time! Its all about balance. A great rule of thumb is to check the ingredients, the further down the list of ingredients you go before finding something unknown added, the better the food. This isn't always the most expensive either, for example, some cheap peanut butters have less added to them than the expensive ones!
5. Drink Clean | Drink can be equally as powerful for banishing the bloat & flushing out toxins from the body. Stay away from fizzy & sugary drinks - even juices & smoothies! You wouldn't sit & eat 5 oranges or a banana, half a punnet of strawberries & blueberries in one sitting, would you? But you can easily drink it... Instead opt for fruit in replace of juices. Try to reduce sugar in teas & coffees. Drink more water - lemon water is a fantastic detox! Drink green tea, herbal teas & black coffee. Like with the food, try to drink 80-90% healthy drinks & then enjoy the occasional treat.

Get Lean This Summer - 8 Tips That Actually Work! Eat clean balanced diet Hydration Water
Aqua Carpatica - A natural, sodium free water, that's affordable too!
6. Detox Drinks | I am very sceptical when it comes to miracle weight loss products. But I do like the occasional detox tea, say once or twice a year, as they really do detox you & take out all the toxins & junk, leaving you feeling leaner. But it is important to note, these teas don't make you loose weight (body fat), the difference on the scales will be down to losing water weight & flushing out your system. So these are a great product to detox your body & start afresh with clean eating, but are not a weight loss quick fix.
7. Yoga | I love to stretch & yoga is the perfect way to do it. It's relaxing, it increases flexibility & range of motion, it relieves post workout stiffness, improves balance, is a great bodyweight workout & it helps to elongate & lean out your body. I like to do it after a workout, for 10-15mins, or try doing it first thing in the morning to refresh your body. Aim to do it a couple of times a week at least, to see results.
8. Skincare | Before getting into a bikini, I will have been using tanning lotion for weeks, because a glow will always flatter. Any type of pampering however will make you feel a lot more confident in a bikini, so try exfoliating, moisturising, waxing/shaving, painting your nails... A little bit of self love is always a good confidence boost.

Get Lean This Summer - 8 Tips That Actually Work! Eat clean balanced diet Meal Prep Meal Plan Hydration Water
Now is the best time to start! Remember small changes that you commit to make a bigger impact than a quick fixes. I hope you can take away at least one tip & I'm sure in no time you'll be ready to strip down for the beach!

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