The fitness professionals thoroughly stand by the notion that the summer body is built in the winter.
If you want to lose weight?
Typically you want to lose up to 0.5% of body fat every week so if you are currently 30% body fat and want to change to 12% (picture below) it will take you around 8 months if you are incredibly lucky/hard working.
As you can see, starting early is the name of the game. Losing body fat is very difficult, especially if you want to maintain muscle mass throughout the process.
Common myth - doing lots of cardiovascular exercise will help you lose fat. Agreed it will help you lose body fat as it changes the calorie expenditure model but you will also lose a lot of muscle mass with the increased risk of injury.
How to lose fat and keep muscle mass?
Simply put; start now!
. Start weight training or continue progressive overload over-time
. Eat more protein
. Keep hydrated
. Walk more, take the stairs more and generally live a healthier lifestyle
. Increase volume of training
. Monitor all calories (including drinks) and change calories regularly as you lose bodyweight
. Reach out to a fitness professional for advice and guidance
If you want to gain muscle?
If you thought losing body fat took a long time, think again! Unfortunately building muscle mass takes even longer, unless you are a total beginner where you will gain some additional muscle fairly quickly.
If you are reading this and you are thinking about getting "jacked" for your summer holiday, you may unfortunately be too late but this shouldn't completely put you off. You may experience some additional compositional changes if you started now. If you are currently lean and can risk gaining some additional body fat, you will probably see notable changes in your body.
You will always be able to change your physique so don't worry about too little, too late. Any additional training benefit will be noticed when it comes to your holiday photo's.
Common myth - you always gain body fat when building muscle. I agree that there is a heightened risk to gaining body fat as you are in a calorie surplus but if you work to a smaller surplus you will likely maintain body fat or worst case, gain very small amounts of body fat.
. Increase volume of training sessions
. Make sure your calories are correct
. Don't be scared of carbohydrates
. Slow down the tempo of exercises, slow reps will build more muscle
. Limit cardio if you can, use the time & energy for building muscle
Be your best!