We're a few months from Summer and you know what? I want a beach body by the summer even though I don't have a beach to go to! It starts now. First order of business is The Belly Must Go! Getting in shape takes time; it's a process. What makes people fail in their body transformation pursuits is unrealistic expectations, overzealous body goals paired with extreme diet and training practices. While a radical diet and training protocol may give you quick results in the short term, it's not a healthy approach nor is it sustainable long term. You're not meant to drop weight rapidly and if you mismanage the situation you'll end up with dramatic consequences that include, but are not limited to issues of stretch marks, loose skin, compromised energy levels, foul moods, and low libido. The belly must go, but it must do so gradually.
The concept of weight loss is simple, but it’s not easy. Let me increase volume here - THE CONCEPT OF WEIGHT LOSS IS SIMPLE, BUT IT'S NOT EASY. I have adopted a simple fat loss strategy that’s relatively easy to understand and implement without any complicated training and nutrition protocol. I'm going to share exactly what I plan to do to get lean in the quickest (and healthy) way I know and it's based on 3 basic principles which I will discuss in detail:
Smaller, frequent meals: I'll look to eat every 3 hours or so to keep the hunger at bay because waiting too long between meals is a setup for overeating later. The biggest enemy of progress when it comes to weight loss and sticking to a ‘diet’ is adherence. People fail because the hunger becomes overwhelming. Control your hunger and you can control your nutrition. Additionally, the frequent meals consumed should have a specific element of portion control and include a serving of protein at every sitting. Portion control playbook will for a start be as follows: all protein should equal your palm in size, all carbohydrates must equal a cupped handful, and vegetables your fist. Your hand should always guide you. Important - every meal eaten should have some protein.
High protein intake: High protein intake means 5-6 separate servings of protein per day. I will use and depend on protein to help increase satiety (nkani ya njala reduces), increase caloric expenditure through a higher thermic effect (meaning more calories burnt from digestion), minimize muscle loss from the reduced food intake and increased training while also improving muscle recovery (which means I can train more and more intensely).
Low to moderate carbohydrates: I will carefully manage my carbohydrate intake and carefully select my carbohydrate options. Carbohydrates are your body’s primary source of energy but if you eat carbohydrates (matebeto nshima) in excess and don’t use it (exercise/movement) then it gets stored as glycogen and body fat. My advice? Eat carbohydrates in accordance with what you will be doing and seek out brown carbohydrates such as brown rice, brown pasta, brown bread etc. Siting all day and later feeling entitled to matebeto nshima is a belly expansion activity. I will include fiber based carbohydrates such as muesli, Weetabix and plain old oats to help move things along and keep my gut healthy.
Low fat intake and careful consideration of fat options: Fat has the highest energy value of all the macro nutrients so I'll try to minimize its consumption and also carefully select my fat options. Fat options to be considered will be avocados, peanut butter, olive oil, fish, various nuts and seeds. I will also be avoiding fried food where I can, and where it's not practical I'll use olive oil to prepare my meals.
Smart hydration: I will be increasing water intake to optimize hydration and suppress appetite. I'll be consuming 40 mls of fluid per kilogram of body-weight. This will include drinking 5-6 cups of green tea daily to increase fat burning capacity. You should forget about other weight loss teas, stick to green tea and keep it simple.
I will strength train 4 times per week and base each workout on compound movements. I will squat, bench press, dead lift and shoulder press on each of the days and support the training with supplementary isolation movements. Here's my training template and note that it takes me no more than 60 minutes (usually 30-45 mins) per session to get it done:
NB: Two sets per exercise with 90 seconds rest between sets for all movements.
Always remember that when you're training, you're doing it to look good not to look strong. Getting lean is all about the cosmetics so train sensibly and stop flexing for strangers in the gym before you hurt yourself.
Low intensity cardio🚶
Easy run/walk 5-10 kilometers (or 10, 000 steps) 4 times per week. It's a very comfortable, stress-free activity that focuses on keeping the body in motion for anywhere between 20 - 40 minutes. The mornings are always best for this.
Other useful tips:
The Belly Must Go Sample Meal Plan:
Meal 1 – 3 boiled egg whites🥚, 1 slice of wholegrain bread🍞 with peanut butter
Meal 2 – Whey Protein shake with 200ml of skim milk🥛, 2 servings of fruit (i.e. apple + banana 🍎🍌)
Meal 3 – Rice, Beans, 2 servings of green leafy vegetables🥬 (i.e. broccoli, spinach), chicken breast
Meal 4 – Whey Protein shake with 200ml of skim milk🥛, 2 handfuls of nuts🥜
Meal 5 – Muesli with Greek yoghurt
Meal 6 – Grilled Hake with 2 servings of vegetables🥬
I hope to encourage others to embark on this journey with me. Start with your next meal. Make the right decision. Stay consistent with the basics and over time those small conscious decisions made on what you put in your mouth and how often you move your body will amount to big results.
Acknowledgement: Headline was inspired by 'KB'!