Heading to the beach, guys? Trendy beachwear? Check. Sunglasses and sunscreen? Check. A physique worth Instagramming? Not so sure?
An enviable physique is everyone’s dream. However, a beach body is a completely different ball game. There’s truckloads of diet and workout gold out there on the internet, but if putting it to use was easy, experts would be out of jobs and the seaside full of picture-perfect beach bods. We talk to fitness experts Diksha Chhabra, Sapna Khanna and Satnam Singh, who decode what goes into the beach-ready physique.
It is made in the kitchen
Quoting Ron Woodroof from Dallas Buyers Club: ‘Watch what you eat.’ Don’t skip meals or experiment with fad diets. Your diet should be a good mix of protein, complex carbohydrates, fibre along with water.
Protein: The Holy Grail of building muscle is protein, which helps develop strength and aids in recovery after an intense workout. Opt for lean protein (eggs, chicken and turkey, low-fat dairy, and fish). Your recommended protein intake depends on a number of factors (daily physical activity, height and body weight, workout goal), and can be calculated on a credible fitness website.
Forget refined carbs: These are easily digested in the body, but can spike blood sugar levels. What’s worse — extra sugar is converted to fat. Go for complex carbs (found in oats, brown rice, whole-wheat bread, sweet potatoes) which take time to get digested in the body, but contain the all-important fibre — our next point.
Fibre: Starving is a no-no. It leads to muscle and stamina loss. You need to eat, so instead of relying on junk food for snacking, go for fruits such as guavas, raspberries and apples, and sprouts. Food rich in fibre keeps you full for longer with fewer calories. Fruits with yoghurt and probiotics have been deemed helpful in reducing belly fat. They also aid digestion and boost metabolism, both of which are central for a strong and defined core.
Focus on compound lifts such as squats/deadlifts, which are excellent for your core: Sapna Khanna
Hydration: They help prevent summer dehydration, keep bloating at bay and help flush out the excess sodium. Excess sodium means water retention, and hence water weight in the lower stomach.
Work out the entire body, mate
Your physique needs to be proportionate, which means when you are working out, you have to focus on both the upper and the lower body. However, some men still shy away from taking the shirt and the shorts off on the beach. And that’s because of two reasons — abs lacking definition and visibility along with small calves. Hence, one needs to specifically focus on these two body parts.
By training abs regularly, you can improve the resting tone of your abs, which increases their visibility: Satnam Singh
Before you start training calves and abs, you need to understand that for best possible results, they ought to be trained two to three times a week, and with high intensity. These muscle groups have high endurance and recover much faster.
1) Instead of focusing specifically on the abs, focus on your entire core — the abdomen, lower back, and pelvis. This doesn’t mean you stop doing those crunches, but that you should add exercises like planks and battle ropes to your arsenal. Go for cardio sessions in short bursts (10 minutes). As with any form of exercise, focus on the right form instead of the number of repetitions. Also, remember to take fewer breaks in between as you progress.
High reps and slow motion is the key to train calves for faster results: Diksha Chhabra
2) This can never be stressed enough, but there is absolutely no need to do one thousand crunches a day. Avoid overtraining (training more than three days in a week). Instead, focus on compound exercises such as squats and deadlifts, which are excellent for your core. They also help maintain better form in ab exercises. Three days of weight training, combined with strength and core training two days a week, is the ideal workout.
Calves training: Calves is a small but extremely stubborn muscle group. Train calves with seated and standing calf raises, or calf raises on leg press machine, along with donkey calves raises. High reps and slow motion are the key to training calves for faster results.