Summer bodies are made in the winter…but how? – My current training and nutrition
I am a big believer in consistency with my training and nutrition and I like to stay in good shape all year round. However, it doesn’t mean that I always push myself to the max in the gym and follow a strict diet. I personally like to go through phases when my goals differ from either wanting to be leaner, usually during spring and summer, or trying to build some muscle and improve my shape, during winter. My training and nutrition vary accordingly. It is not possible to constantly keep up a higher training volume and calorie deficit needed to lose fat and stay lean. It is quite stressful and draining both physically and mentally, therefore it is important to strategically build in phases in your training where you focus more on building and recovering. Winter is the best time to do this. We tend to eat more anyway due to the cold weather and the more frequent social events leading up to Christmas, so why not use those extra calories to make some improvements to your physique.
Here is what my current training and nutrition is like:
I have lowered my training frequency and I currently lift weights 4x a week as opposed to 5-6x. Rest days are important because that’s when the muscles recover and grow. I really enjoy the extra days off and having time to do other staff than training. It also makes me more motivated and to work harder when I am in the gym. My current split is 1x Legs & shoulders, 1x Back & Chest, 1x Hamstrings and glutes, 1x back and shoulders. I focus on lifting heavier and resting more between sets. I tend to do more straight sets and less supersets/ trisets, because my main goal is to lift heavier. The training sessions are slightly shorter than usual because I do less overall sets in a workout. I am usually done in 40-45 minutes.
I don’t do any cardio at the moment apart from the 5-10 minutes warm-up on the Stairmaster before my workouts. However, I try to make sure that I hit 8-10k steps a day. It is quite easy during the weekdays, but at the weekend I usually go out for a walk to hit this number. I love walking. I find it very therapeutic and it always makes me feel great. It is also quite refreshing to walk in the cold, just make sure you wear a warm jacket if you are like me and always freezing lol.
I have been trying to eat more, especially carbs to help me lift heavier in the gym and to build muscle. I still tend to eat 5 meals a day, I just make sure that at least 3 of those meals have carbs. I eat 3 main meals a day and 2 snacks or smaller meals. I stopped carb cycling for now and instead I am eating pretty much the same amount every day regardless of whether I am training or not.
I might have more than 1 “cheat” meal a week if I want to. (I don’t really like to use that term anymore). What I mean is that I am more relaxed with my diet and if I want to go out more than once a week or have a little treat here and there I do. This could be a glass of wine, some crisps, pizza or just a meal out. However, there are weeks when I don’t even feel like having anything like that at all. There are no rules here, I just listen to my body. It has been working well for me so far, I am still maintaining a relatively lean condition with less training days and more food. Maybe not as lean as I was in the summer but that’s ok. I am probably going to follow this “more relaxed” approach until January when I usually get bored and set myself a new goal to work towards. 🙂
The bottom line is, improving your body shape is not always about getting lean and losing fat. You also need to put the time and effort in building muscle. Consistency with your training and nutrition is key to get results.
If you want to start working towards your summer body now, and follow a training and diet approach that gets you results, but also allows you to embrace the Christmas season, why not join one of my online coaching programmes? Let’s get ahead of the game and start the New Year already feeling strong and confident within yourself!
Summer bodies are made in the winter! Start now! 🙂