Many of you have caved in to temptation during the holiday period, gorging yourselves with lots of food, sugary and alcoholic drinks, sweet treats and have been guilty of not being involved in physical activities. This has resulted in a “holiday gut” that you want to burn off ASAP. Here’s what you need to do to torch off those extra kilos.
Mix up cardio with supersets and intervals
Getting on a treadmill or elliptical machine only and working your way through it is not going to give you the optimum results you seek fast. interval training shows better results than slow cardio for fat loss. Adding in resistance training will further sculpt your body, giving you the lean physique fast.
Interval training involves a series of low to high intensity workouts spread over short rest periods.
Here’s a suggested workout:
- Warm up for 15 minutes with a few 20-second bursts of sprinting at the end to prepare for the workout.
- Then run, bike or row for 30 seconds at nearly all-out exertion before taking a three-minute active recovery period. Repeat the set for five or six times, and finish off with a 10-minute cool down.
This targets your hamstrings, calf muscles, quads, glutes, and abdominal muscles.
As for resistance training, you could do four rounds of 15-seated rows, 15 dumbbell curls and presses and 24 reverse lunges – amongst other exercises – without any rest (because you’re resting a set of muscle groups whilst working on the other).
This targets your back, biceps, triceps, hamstrings, gluteus maximus, thighs and calves, and works other secondary muscle groups.
Watch what you consume
Protein is a vital macronutrient to losing weight as research has shown it reduces cravings by 60 per cent, helps you eat fewer calories in a day and boosts your metabolism by 80 to 100 calories a day. So make an effort to eat protein-packed foods, such as whole eggs, seafood, legumes and nuts.
Carb restriction also helps you lose fat, so be sure to avoid refined carbs such as white rice and bread, pastas and pizzas. If you do choose to have carbs, pick options such as wholemeal bread and brown rice, but portion control them with more protein and vegetables.
Of course, watch your sugar intake as well – carbonated drinks are the worst of the lot, so resist the urge to have any. Alcohol and processed juices are also high in sugar, so try replacing them with water or unsweetened iced tea.
Lower your stress levels
Activating your stress hormones is said to trigger glands that cause you to gain belly fat and keep them stored in the abdominal area. As such, you need to engage in pleasurable activities that relieve stress.
Getting involved in activities, such as yoga or meditation have been proven to be effective, calming your mind and promoting spiritual health. A good start would be to wake up 10 minutes earlier in a day just to collect your thoughts and focus on your breathing.
Ending the day with another round of yin yoga or meditation will help you get plenty of restful sleep, which also aids in preventing weight gain. Research has shown that people with less than seven hours of rested sleep a night tend to gain more weight in their bellies.