There are a few simple training tips you can follow in pursuit of the elusive ‘beach body’. The main premise is to reduce body fat, build or preserve lean muscle, and in turn increase resting metabolic rate (RMR).
Your workout time needs to include both strength training and anaerobic conditioning because both contribute to muscle building and they burn a lot of energy. The greater the RMR the more effective the total caloric burn is, outside of your training sessions. Therefore you get leaner faster even when you’re not exercising!
Here we are going to look at five simple tips to include when designing your beach body training plan.
*As a side note, it should be highlighted that these points be combined with adequate nutrition to support fat loss and recovery whilst minimising loss of lean tissue. This is the most important factor to consider when manipulating training and diet for aesthetic purpose.
Tip #1- Train with a high volume of work, short rest periods and moderate loads
A higher volume of work with short rest intervals (30-45 seconds) will elicit a greater growth hormone response to training and burn a greater percentage of calories during and post workout. The majority of exercises used should be compound multi joint exercises such as squats, deadlifts, chin-ups, lunges, rows and bench-press. Using this type of exercise alone will use significantly more energy than single joint isolation exercise. Sets and repetitions should be within a hypertrophy repetition range of 8-12 and around 3-4 sets per exercise as a general rule for the greatest hormonal response.
Weights around 70-85% of 1RM should be used as this will significantly elevate testosterone and growth hormone response. A higher growth hormone output is desired due to its effect on protein synthesis (preventing catabolism from dieting and intense training) and its lipolytic effects (increases fat breakdown and metabolises glucose and amino acids). To achieve the best response from this, aim to train above the lactate threshold by incorporating the whole body into your sessions utilising compound movements alternating between upper and lower body with short rest intervals.
Tip #2- Train with free weights to build muscle and create an anabolic response.
Strength training with free weights is the preferred choice when training for body composition changes. It is superior to aerobic style training due to the hormonal response and energy utilisation elicited. Because free weights are not in a fixed plane of motion they require greater levels of musculature to be used in stabilising the joints and performing the movement, giving greater energy expenditure.
A study from the journal of Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise compared fat loss in three groups of overweight subjects. All groups were on a fat-loss diet and one group only did the diet with no exercise, whereas a second group did the diet with aerobic training, and a third group was on the diet and did strength training. The diet group lost 14 pounds of fat, while the aerobic group lost 15 pounds of fat—only one pound more, which was not statistically significant. The strength training group lost 21 pounds of fat, which was 34 percent more than the aerobic group!
Tip #3 Perform high intensity anaerobic interval training over aerobic training
Interval work is one way of working against lactate threshold and is glycolytic in nature (which will use energy substrates for fuel). The problem with interval work is you shouldn’t do it every day. As it focuses too much on the lower body. Combine too much of it, with “leg training days” and you can end up losing muscle, from too much demand and not enough recovery. Programming is everything!
The biggest problem with aerobic training is that you get better at it.
In aerobic training, the work required to run 5 miles will become less and less as you get fitter – you become more efficient. So to continue to improve you either go further (do more work for the same amount of calories) or you run it faster.
Going further kind of defeats the purpose. Is there much joy in running 40 mins to burn the calories you once burned in 30 mins? And going faster involves the same problem. Eventually, the new speed becomes too easy for you and you have to go at a greater intensity to get the same benefit. You will reach an intensity eventually that will be the end of the aerobic zone. Quite simply going any harder will send your body into the anaerobic zone. So at some point you’re not doing aerobics any more. So, if you have to stop doing it at some point to get the benefits you seek why not do anaerobic work to begin with?
Tip #4 – Move daily
In addition to training in the gym it is a great idea to move more. Lack of inactivity and a sedentary lifestyle will lower glucose and insulin sensitivity. Blood sugar imbalances will result further decreasing RMR. If you were once lean and active and you stop doing physical activity your metabolic rate will slow with the same result - Fat gain.
Build activity into your daily routine. Maybe you could take a stroll on your lunch hour? Or do a spot of gardening? As a bonus this will help control levels of cortisol hormone preventing loss of muscle and storage of belly fat!
Tip #5 – Train your abdominals the correct way for development
Exercise physiologists and other experts agree that most stabilizing muscles of the body are comprised mainly of mitochondrial mass and density. This means the muscles are highly resistant and have greater endurance capacity when training.
While this usually means high reps would be the way to go, there is a caveat here, when training the abs correctly you should not be able to accomplish more than 15-20 reps for any given movement. You must keep your abs tensed throughout the whole movement for development. This is the only way to ensure fatigue in the muscles that will lead to an adaptive response. Also due to the mitochondrial density abs can recuperate quicker than other muscle groups so you may train abs a little more frequently for development.
Incorporating the above tips into your plan of training will have you well on the way to achieving your fabulous "beach body" this summer! Not enough?! We'd love to help! Jump on into one of our Personal Trainer Courses here at TTR!