Without a doubt, summer is the most revealing of seasons when it comes to our bodies. Getting a leaner look this season is possible. It starts with learning about good health and what works with your lifestyle to create a balance. Our bodies need nutrients, some in small quantities called micronutrients and macronutrients in much larger amounts help us to keep a lean body weight.
Micronutrients are vitamins and minerals found in foods. Although the ratio may be small, these nutrients are vital to our body functions. Macronutrients are proteins, carbohydrates and fats we eat daily as a primary source of nourishment. For a lean summer look, you want to regulate macronutrients for building healthy muscles. A balanced diet consisting of both prevents deficiencies responsible for illness and poor health.
Here are 13 ways to look leaner this summer, just keep in mind everyone is different. The best advice is to learn what your body needs and how it responds.
One fact to remember, our bodies do not make all the vitamins we need. Depending on the method of cultivation, processing, storage and preparation, the level and quality of vitamins varies in foods.
There are two type of vitamins; water-soluble or fat-soluble. Fat-soluble vitamins are stored in our body, making it self-sufficient for limited durations. Water-soluble vitamins are not stored; our body takes what it needs and eliminates the excess.
- Water-soluble vitamins B and C–daily doses keep our body functioning.
- Fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K–3 times a week met the recommendations.
Minerals in food vary in quantity and quality depending on the soil content because plants absorb minerals through its root system. The fluctuation has to do with the agricultural practices for replenishing the soil’s nutrients for two types of minerals; major and trace. Major minerals are sodium, potassium, chloride, phosphorus, calcium, magnesium and sulfur. Trace minerals include iron, copper, iodine, zinc, manganese, cobalt, fluoride, and selenium.
- Major minerals, 100 milligrams per day
- Trace minerals, less than 100 milligrams per day
Proteins are necessary for muscle growth and the repair of bones, skin and blood circulation. Since your body does not store protein, you need to develop a diet that keeps your body well supplied. Each meal should contain protein to help build muscles and burn fat for a lean look. Whether you are a meat connoisseur or vegetarian, proteins are a source of energy. For example, a cup of beans has sixteen grams; a cup of yogurt eleven grams and one chicken breast has twenty grams.
- Protein sources are eggs, poultry, beans, beef and seafood.
- Daily recommendation of protein for women is forty-six grams and fifty-six grams for men.
Our main source of energy is carbohydrates (carbs) followed by sugar and starch. Most of us know our body stores excess carbs as fat. Consider whole grains and root vegetables over carbs because they keep you fuller longer and reduce your cravings. Bananas, pineapples, and dried fruits are low carbs with the least sugar.
- Your body uses stored carbs throughout the day.
- Carbs help to build lean muscle and burn body fat.
Good and Bad Fats
All bodies need fat, but you need to balance the good fat with the bad fat. Good fat keeps our body functioning, bad fat causes problems. This food category may be the toughest to change because bad fat tastes good, but it affects how our body responds to getting lean.
Eating foods with more good fat content, promotes healthy skin, and increases vitamin absorption. Best sources for good fat include nuts, olive oil and fish. Two types of bad fat are saturated and Trans–both solidify at room temperature. Foods containing bad fat include beef and pork fat, butter, margarine and shortening.
- Good fat produces energy and burns fat to do it.
- Good fat satisfies your craving and keeps you feeling full.
Drink Right Amount of Water
Water’s major purpose is to metabolize proteins and carbs from the foods we eat. Besides keeping you full, water helps to cleanse the body by flushing our systems, maintaining our temperature and keeping our joints working. The average adult’s body consists of sixty-five percent of water.
Leaner and stronger muscle holds seventy-five percent of water; body fat contains ten percent and our bones account for twenty-two percent.
Although water is vital, we do get fluid from other sources. You can see why having enough water is important for our bodies and muscles.
Shape Up with Activity
A leaner look takes eating healthy combined with the right amount of activity. One hour of moderate to intense physical workouts, helps to burn 500 calories a day or 3,500 calories equal to one pound a week. The level of exercise or activity speeds up your metabolism causing you to burn more calories. Interesting fact, height makes a difference when it comes to developing lean muscle.
Although nutrition is the same, short individuals need less energy compared to taller individuals to lose weight.
- Life gets busy and distractions happen. Try to team up with a friend for motivation and support to focus on your goal.
Looking lean and healthy requires a good quality sleep. When we sleep, our body uses the time to repair, replenish and rebuild our muscle. Sleep also lowers the fat storing hormones, increasing the fat burning hormones. Our body may respond to the loss of sleep as stress, triggering the secretion of cortisol decreasing muscle tissue not fat. High stress also generates the need to eat more food.
- Sleeping longer increases fat loss compared to sleep deprivation-losing muscle.
- Six to eight hours of continual sleep works best.
Take some time for yourself and relax. Do something you enjoy like reading or lounging in the tub. Learn to meditate or take a yoga class to relieve muscle tension for maintaining a lean body weight. Relaxing prevents the release of cortisol, stopping the chain of events that increase your appetite causing fat cells to grow by raising your blood sugar.
- Relax and restore your body’s metabolic balance for staying lean.
Plan the Menu
Our days involve tasks and responsibilities and changing everything to fit into your lifestyle is impossible, but you can manage it better. Planned menus and routines help you stay focused with less frustration to reach your goal of looking leaner for the summer. Don’t worry about the small slips, we all have them. Take a deep breath and get back on track.
- Given the proper nutrients, our body has amazing rejuvenating abilities to lose the fat and strengthen muscles.
Getting lean for the summer or any season is about managing your behavior. By making good choices and developing healthier habits that fit you–results follow. It is about balance for longevity and adjustments over a few weeks to see the effect. Pat yourself on the back as you drop clothing sizes and your body starts to change its shape.
- Be consistent and have patience.
Moderation is Essential
All good things happen in moderation. Even a strict diet needs some fine-tuning to help you stick with it. The goal is to get you looking lean for summer and that means enjoying time with friends and family.
It is a proven fact, we flourish from socializing so allow yourself some slack when it comes to calories, just moderate and keep track of what goes into your body and minimize the effects.
- Learn how to keep a lean body weight throughout the year.
- Foods are mood enhancers, so try to eat smaller portions and save the rest for another day.
Know Your Body
Pay attention, your body is sending messages. It likes or dislikes the foods and the activities you choose. Each one of us responds differently. Learn what foods keep you in shape and nourish your body to sustain muscle mass and strength.
Are you feeling weak or tired?
You need more protein for energy. Staying lean once you reach your goal is about a sense of balance in the foods you eat, and the lifestyle you choose.
- Keep a log on what you eat–record the combinations that got you here.
Everything listed here has a purpose of keeping your body healthy and your physical posture lean. Learn how vitamins and minerals interact with our cell enzymes to build and support our bones, teeth, and skin, blood and body tissues. Get to know the right quantity of protein to help manage your cravings.
Read the food labels for the fat type and content. Learn why fat makes a difference in keeping your body healthy to reach your goal.
Be realistic about your goals and adjust the balance between micronutrients and macronutrients to get the desired results. This is not about tough dieting; this mindset is about making healthy decisions for a leaner you–so start slow. Plan your food intake strategy, it removes the stress and increases muscle growth and fat loss. This is not about going without–getting leaner is about taking control of your health and showing off the results.