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Fit Body Diet – Be Lean & Toned For Summer

Summer is just around the corner which means sunny days, trips to the beach, BBQ’s and less clothing! Time to step up your training right? Yep, regular exercise is essential for a healthy and fit body but to really get results your nutrition also needs to be on point.

This sudden realization often sends people into a panic, so I thought it would be a great time to lay out some nutritional guidelines to help you get lean and toned for summer.

How Should Men And Women Eat To Get A Fit Body For Summer?

The same way we should always eat to have a healthy, fit looking body of course. The time of year doesn’t really change that. While I’m not a fan of quick fixes when it comes to nutrition and exercise,  having an event or goal to aim for does help focus our minds and that’s always a good thing. We know which foods to avoid – sugar, trans fats, processed foods, fried foods etc., but what foods should we be eating? Let’s have a look.

Protein – For Firm Muscles

To be healthy and maintain lean muscle we need to supply the body with good quality protein at regular intervals each day.

  • Needed for growth, maintenance and repair of the body
  • Essential for firm and toned muscles
  • Helps to curb cravings (particularly sugar/carbohydrate cravings)
  • Required for healthy hair and nails
  • Keeps us looking young

An interesting point that may encourage you to eat enough protein is a youthful looking  face. That might sound strange, but have you ever noticed a person who was slim yet their face looked soft and doughy? Well this is often due to a low protein diet and is more common in women as men’s diets are generally higher in protein.

Protein is not only essential for firm muscles but it also helps us feel satisfied and avoid cravings. A diet low in protein leads to cravings for sugary and starchy foods. This kind of low protein/high sugar diet gives the face that soft and doughy appearance, blurring facial contours and contributing to sagging. So if you want a toned jawline make sure you’re getting enough protein.

Best sources: organic chicken, turkey, eggs, grass fed beef, wild fish – salmon, mackerel, herring, haike etc., whey powder, almonds

Fiber – For Natural Weight Loss

In this section I’m talking about fiber-rich vegetables not wholegrain breads, pasta etc. I’ll cover grains in the carbohydrate section.

  • Helps suppress appetite on hormonal level
  • Fills you up without weight gain
  • Essential for healthy digestive system
  • Low calorie density – low in calories, high in nutrients

There’s a reason the people with the best bodies eat plenty of tasty salads and cooked veggies. Fiber rich vegetables are full of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants and aside from the health benefits associated with a high fiber diet (such as reduced risk of bowl cancer) you can eat more of these foods and feel satisfied while keeping overall calories low. This is because the body absorbs the essential nutrients in vegetables while the “bulk” or fiber passes through the body rather than being stored.

If you want to get in shape without feeling deprived, fiber is your friend.

Best sources: fresh veggies – leafy greens such as spinach, romaine lettuce, kale, broccoli, cabbage. Cauliflower, red cabbage, carrots, all types of lettuce.

A nice selection of fiber-rich and high antioxidant vegetables. Each colour contains different antioxidants so try to include as many as possible.

Healthy Fats – For A Healthy Body

To be healthy we need to consume healthy fats on a daily basis including a small amount of saturated fat from healthy sources.

  • Help to stabilise blood sugar – aiding weight management/loss
  • Adds flavour and taste to food
  • Required for lubrication of joints
  • Essential for heart health
  • Needed for healthy cell formation

I’m hopeful the idea of all fats being bad for us and being avoided at all costs is a thing of the past. We definitely want to avoid damaged fats/trans fats from fried foods and processed pre packaged foods, but healthy fats are essential. They key is moderation.

Best sources: Extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, avocado, fatty fish – salmon, mackerel, herring, sardines. Flaxseed, walnuts.

Antioxidants – For A Healthy Body, Healthy Mind & Glowing Skin

  • Protect cells from free radical damage
  • Boosts the immune system
  • Essential for healthy, glowing skin

Antioxidants neutralize free radicals within the body. Free radicals are unstable molecules that attack the cells of the body. A diet lacking in antioxidants can lead to a large number of diseases due to the damage caused by long term free radical exposure.

Best sources: Brightly coloured fruits and vegetables – Kale, broccoli, red cabbage, carrots, tomatoes, bell peppers, onions – red, green, brown, beetroot, aubergine, spinach, blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, goji berries, cherries, apricots, oranges, lemons, limes, cantaloupe melon.

Carbohydrate

  • Energy dense – easily used/stored by the body
  • Can be a source of fiber

When it comes to carbs most people eat more than enough and usually go for the heavier types like potatoes, pasta, rice, breads and breakfast cereals. I think you can be perfectly healthy without eating grains, but this may be unrealistic for some people. For those people I would suggest eating low carb rather than no carb. It’s also a good idea to eat them earlier in the day or around your workouts/training to avoid storing them as fat.

When choosing carbs try to go for the least processed and most natural forms.

Best sources: non-instant oats, sweet potatoes (with the skins), quinoa, black beans, kidney beans, chickpeas/garbanzo beans, buckwheat (not related to wheat), millet.

By following the suggestions above and using them in combination with regular exercise you can be confident that you’ll have a great body this summer.

For more info on the above you may be interested in some of my previous posts:

Health Boost – Antioxidants

Coconut Oil – A Healthy Saturated Fat

Fiber – Change Nothing About Your Diet And Still Lose Weight?

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