Your Summer Body Blueprint – Tips & Diet

As temperatures continue to rise and our days get longer, most men are gearing up for the start of the summer season by upping the ante in the gym. However, without the right approach to nutrition and supplementation, your efforts in the weights room can often yield sub-optimal results.

That’s because building the ultimate summer body starts in the kitchen, and there’s nothing you can do to out-train a bad diet. So, to rid ourselves of that layer of fat that commonly accompanies poor winter eating habits, we need to both up our game in the gym and sharpen up our efforts in the kitchen, with the added support of well-formulated supplements. In fact, science has proven that the combination of the correct diet and the appropriate exercise plan can deliver the results we’re after – the ability to build muscle and burn fat, simultaneously. According to researchers at McMaster University in Ontario, Canada, combining a high-protein diet with a full-body high-intensity weight training programme delivered the best results in changing body composition.

The findings, published in 2015 in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, showed that study participants who followed a high-intensity resistance training programme six days a week, for a total of four weeks, and combined their training efforts with a high protein intake from whole food meals and a protein supplement, lost more fat and gained more muscle than the control group. There results clearly demonstrate the steps needed to achieve the ultimate summer body. To help you achieve your goals, use this Summer Body Blueprint as your guide to get your nutrition on point.


Summer Body Diet Blueprint

1.) Manipulate your macros

As already stated, eat lean, high quality sources of protein with every meal – up to 35% of your macronutrient intake, according to the McMaster study. It is also a good idea to be strategic with regard to your intake of carbohydrates. Eating most, if not all of your carbs after training replenishes depleted energy levels with minimal risk for fat storage. Eating some form of carbs before really intense sessions, like back or leg day, is also an opportune time for an energy boost that fuels intense training. Carb cycling and carb-backloading are two proven macronutrient manipulation techniques that can deliver the conditioning you’re after. It’s also worth switching starchy carbs to more fibrous or leafy veg options when you’re trying to improve your conditioning ahead of summer, as opposed to gaining added mass.

2.) Control your portions

Count your calories to ensure you don’t create a calorie surplus in your diet, which leads to weight gain. Take into account the additional calories you burn during training to achieve the correct balance. If you’re struggling to shed the fat, then consider creating a slight deficit, just don’t cut calories too much! You still need to fuel workouts and aid the recovery process. It’s also important to understand that a balanced diet does not mean eating a portion of each food group at every meal. It can be highly beneficial to split your carb and fat portions, as already mentioned, eating carbs and proteins at strategic times throughout the day and combining protein and healthy fats at other meal times.

3.) Cut out all added sugar

Don’t add sugar to anything. It’s energy-dense and devoid of any nutritional value. It also plays havoc with your hormones. This makes your body more likely to store energy as fat, rather than release stored body fat for energy. Sugar also promotes systemic inflammation, which can hamper your recovery and is linked to many other health issues. It is therefore also advisable to avoid sweetened foodstuffs or manufactured products that contain added sugars.

4.) Keep a food journal

There’s a popular saying in the broader fitness industry: β€œwhat gets measured gets achieved.” You can’t make meaningful changes to your diet if you’re guess what, how much, and how often you eat. So track everything, from meal composition, portion sizes (weigh your food) and calorie content, to when you ate and even how you felt afterwards. This will help you make more informed decisions when trying to adjust your diet to achieve better results.


Summer Body Supplement Blueprint

1.) Whey Protein

When to take it: After waking up and directly after training
When we sleep our bodies go through a regeneration process whereby damaged muscle tissue is repaired and other metabolic processes take place. It’s during this time that our bodies use the micronutrients we’ve digested or are stored in our bodies to drive these processes. We are therefore in a depleted state when we wake up and, the longer we sleep, the greater our catabolic (muscle breakdown) state. We therefore need to kickstart our muscle-building processes with a good dose of protein, and whey is the ideal choice due to its high availability.

2.) Fat-loss complex

When to take it: Before morning training
Stimulant-based thermogenic fat-loss supplements typically contain ingredients such as caffeine, green tea extract, yerba mate and synephrine, and are often combined with other synergistic compounds such as L-carnitine to increase your metabolism and make you more efficient at burning stored fat for energy. This process can be enhanced when combined with fasted cardio in the morning.

3.) Creatine

When to take it: After weight training
Creatine supplementation boosts intra-muscular levels of creatine phosphate, which increases muscular endurance and strength, and enhances muscle cell hydration. It also stimulates pathways that turn on protein synthesis, which leads to the development of lean muscle and enhanced muscle tone.

4.) Glutamine

When to take it: Before weight training
Glutamine is an important building block for muscle and other protein structures. Supplementing with L-glutamine minimises muscle breakdown during intense training and offers significant post-exercise muscle recovery benefits.

5.) Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAA’s)

When to take it: Before morning training
BCAAs are vital substrates for other amino acids, which are released in large quantities during intense exercise. BCAAs are also used for fuel by muscles, which spares muscle tissue during intense training, and can restrict cortisol release during exercise. They may help ease delayed-onset muscle soreness after a heavy weight training session.

6.) Pre-workout supplements

When to take it: Before morning training
Pre-workout supplements help to enhance the delivery of vital nutrients to working muscles by dilating blood vessels. This allows nutrient and oxygen-rich blood to flow more freely to deliver the energy substrates and amino acids that aid performance and help rebuild damaged muscle. This also improves the efficiency with with the metabolic by-products of exercise are removed from fatigued muscles, which improves performance, and boosts recovery between sets. Many pre-workout supplements also contain other ingredients that increase mental alertness, physical energy levels, and strength.

7.) Conjugated Linoleic Acid

When to take it: After dinner
CLA supplements improve fat loss and body composition by inhibiting the lipoprotein lipase enzyme, which plays an integral role in the storage of body fat. As a result, fatty acids tend to be diverted to muscle cells, where they are preferentially burnt for fuel.

8.) Casein Protein

When to take it: Before bed
Casein is a slow-digesting protein supplement that is ideal for use at night as it is releases an amino acid ‘trickle’ throughout much of your sleep cycle. This can boost the potent hormonally-driven recovery and repair process that occurs while you sleep.