With summer around the corner, several of my clients are telling me that they want to look more “defined” or be “leaner” for bikini bathing at the beach, “shoulderless” dress wearing at an event or evening out, or looking “shredded” for an upcoming photo shoot.
Granted, depending on how many days or weeks are between the time a decision is made to “transform” one’s look and the actual “deadline” to achieve it is, the options vary.
However, since most of you who’ve asked are nearing your target date, I am gonna let you in on a few secrets.
First, if you want to look “leaner”, you need to be “leaner”. Maybe that’s overstating the obvious, but it’s true. You can’t show what you don’t have. I know I am talking in riddles here, but I what I am saying is that there needs to be muscles under the “coat” in order for you to be able to show them off. So, first you must train, WITH WEIGHTS, to develop the muscle you eventually want to display.
Second, if you haven’t done so already, you must change your diet. There are two reasons, well, maybe three, why the muscles you have stay hidden. One is that there is too much adipose tissue (yes, fat) surrounding the muscles. Two, your body is retaining too much water, making your muscles look “smooth”. And, of course three,…both!
So, let’s assume that you are doing everything you can by eating better. You are eliminating all the non-essential fat from your diet. You are eliminating all added sugar from your diet. You are not eating any refined carbs. You are not eating any starchy carbs after 5pm. You are eating lots of lean protein like grilled chicken breast (no skin) and high fiber vegetables like Brussels Sprouts. Last, but not least, you are reducing your sodium and increasing your water intake every day. Yes my friends, that is the most important part of the equation. If you have all the muscles in the world, but also have water retention, you’re not gonna look the way you want.
I know many of you are saying, “If I want to remove water from my system, why should I be drinking a gallon of it a day?” Well my friends, water flushes your system of impurities (especially sodium) and the more of this good stuff you ingest, the more of the bad stuff will digest and be “eliminated”.
So, here’s the secret to unveiling the muscles you’ve worked so hard to get!
In the weeks leading up to your event, try and keep your sodium levels between 2500 and 3000 mg per day. Many things you wouldn’t guess are high in sodium can really derail your “train”, so be sure and calculate it. Your current intake will surprise you. I guarantee it.
Then, about 48 hours prior to your target date, reduce your sodium intake to between 700 mg and 800 mg per day. Be careful, don’t do this prematurely. If your body senses that your are withholding a “nutrient” from it, it will compensate and start retaining more sodium and water to become more “balanced”.
As far as the water goes, it is best to drink up to three to four quarts of spring water in the days leading up to your event. Don’t drink tap water (it’s perfectly safe, but it’s hard to measure its sodium content). Then, on the day of the event, just drink when you are thirsty. Only take several sips. Don’t drink too much at a time. A good rule is that every time you eliminate water on the “Big Day”, sip a little to replenish what your body lost.
Last, but not least, if you really want to see “separation” in your muscles, get a spray tan. When the light hits a “pale” “canvas” it gets absorbed and the lines are lost. But if there are shadows, the muscles will look bigger, better and toner.