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4 Ways To Get Into Shape For Summer

26th July 2022

26th July 2022

By Shivraj Bassi

Swimsuit season is fast approaching, and with it the common desire to lose a little weight. For many, the approach of summer means it’s the ideal time to start cutting down on the junk food, upping your exercise game and working out which fit you’re going to showcase on the beach first. 

There’s no quick fix for losing weight, no matter what all those fad diets might tell you. It’s not possible to lose 10kg in a week in a healthy way and keep the weight off. However, there are a number of tried and tested ways to get healthier, lean up and feel energised during the hotter months. 

If you’ve ever experienced any form of disordered eating in the past or have any medical conditions, please consult your doctor before embarking on a weight loss-focused diet. Additionally, it’s well worth checking your weight and BMI before you embark on your journey, to ensure that you’re at a weight where it’s safe to think about losing a few pounds. 

Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate

When you’re trying to lose weight, you won’t get anywhere if you don’t get the baseline right. And the baseline of the human body is that we’re 70% water, so if you’re not hydrating your body properly you’re already starting out on the back foot. 

You should be aiming to drink approximately eight glasses of water a day, more if you’re in a warm or humid climate and if you’re exercising a lot, as your body will lose more fluid to sweat. As well as being an essential substance for sustaining human life, drinking plenty of water will improve your energy levels, improve your skin, aid digestion and can even help your heart and circulatory system to function better. It’s time to drink up. If you struggle to swallow enough of the clear stuff, try getting a water bottle that you love to encourage you to remember. Innermost’s bottle is perfect for this.  

Up your workout game
Photo by Jonathan Borba on Unsplash

While it’s cardio that has the reputation as being the best kind of exercise to encourage weight loss, it’s the combination of both cardio and strength training that will see that waist circumference reduce the fastest. When you strengthen and work on building up the muscles in your body, your body will naturally burn far more calories consistently than it otherwise would - even when you’re on your way to the kitchen for a late night healthy snack or lying on the sofa watching Netflix

You don’t need to worry that strength training will make you bulky, either - this is a myth that simply isn’t true. If you need some inspiration before getting started, check out our guide to what we wish we had known before we started to lift weights

Consider adding a protein shake to your diet to give you some post-workout protein-fuelled energy that will keep you fuller for longer. The Lean Protein is formulated to encourage healthy fat-loss, reduce cravings and support muscle growth and repair, making it a smarter way to lean-up.

Bring out the carrots

To begin losing weight in a healthy way, diet is the most important thing to be aware of. If you’re not being considered and nutritionally optimal in the kitchen it doesn’t matter how many sit ups you do or how long you can hold a plank for, your abs won’t be able to grate cheese if you don’t eat your salad. 

Some easy initial things to try include swapping white carbs for wholegrain, reducing the amount of meat you eat and cutting down on your sugar intake. Calorie-counting can be a useful tool if you’re looking to ascertain how much energy you’re putting into your body and how much you need to cut down if there’s a certain amount of weight you want to lose, but be wary of becoming too focused or obsessed with the numbers. It’s not worth becoming overly focused on counting every single calorie you put into your mouth at the expense of your mental health. 

The Tone Capsules are also a great option here for an extra boost when it comes to shaping up. Nootropic capsules, they contain research-backed ingredients that gently raise your metabolism, reduce cravings and promote sustainable fat-loss, so they're a good addition to your diet when you're looking to lose weight. 

Back off the booze

While many people love a tipple now and then, alcohol truly is the definition of empty calories. While getting merry is fun every now and then, if you’re drinking most nights, especially if you’re drinking beverages which are high in calories and sugar such as beer and cocktails, it could be seriously holding you back from hitting your weight loss goals. 

Try swapping out higher calorie drinks for healthier alternatives such as spirits with soda, or red wine, which has health benefit of including polyphenols, which help to reduce inflammation in the body. If you really can’t bear to say goodbye to beer, a light beer such as a Corona Light for 99 calories or a Budweiser Select for 55 calories are better choices than the usual stuff you get down the pub. 

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From the Bedroom to the Gym: Is Your Sex Life Affecting Your Workout Performance?
The relationship between sex and workout performance is one that’s long been debated by scientists and fitness fanatics alike. It’s complicated and multifaceted, so answering the question of whether your sex life is affecting your training is difficult. That said, today we’re going to take a look at a variety of evidence, both academic and anecdotal, as well as several different scenarios and at least try to reduce some of the mystery around the subject. First, it helps to understand what’s actually happening to the body, both physically and psychologically, during both activities.   The Effects of Sex on the Body Sexual activity causes several changes to occur in the body:   Physical Changes That Occur During Sex During sexual activity and the lead up to it, the human body undergoes a process known as the sexual response cycle. This is the case for both males and females, though the cycle can be highly individual and may not be the same each time for each person. Describing the full sexual response cycle is beyond the scope of this article, however it consists of 4 phases: Desire Arousal Orgasm Resolution Factors such as elevated heart rate, increased blood flow and pressure and heightened muscle tension all come into play. If you’d like to read about the sexual response cycle in more detail, check out this great article from Cleveland Clinic.   Psychological Changes That Occur During Sex Several psychological changes occur both during and after sex. Most notable are the release of endorphins and oxytocin, which are associated with improved mood and a better sense of wellbeing. These are also responsible for reduced stress levels, which brings a multitude of additional benefits that are of particular interest to those of us participating in regular training and exercise. Cortisol, the hormone responsible for stress, is catabolic in high levels, meaning it can cause the breakdown of lean tissue. So, whilst it is unclear whether sex itself affects workout performance, the reduction in stress levels it may bring is definitely beneficial for preserving our results!   The Effects of Exercise and Training on the Body Exercise and training also cause the body to undergo a number of changes. These occur both during and after the physical activity. There are in fact a number of similarities in changes that happen during exercise and sex:   Physical Changes That Occur During Exercise The physical changes that happen in the body vary based on the type of exercise being undertaken, however, there are some that are common to exercise in general: Increased heart rate Increased blood flow, especially to the muscles Faster, deeper breathing due to additional oxygen needs Heightened activity within the circulatory, respiratory, musculoskeletal and endocrine systems A full summary of the changes that occur within these systems can be found here. More aerobically demanding exercise will, of course, place greater emphasis on the circulatory and respiratory systems as well as causing fat to be metabolised as an energy source. Resistance training, which often relies more heavily on the lactate and creatine phosphate energy systems, instead promotes greater muscular and endocrine (hormone) activity. Note the common physical changes between sex and exercise here, as they do crossover!   Psychological Changes That Occur During Exercise The psychological changes that occur during exercise are similar to those experienced during sexual activity and are mostly related to the release of endorphins and other ‘feelgood’ hormones. These help to regulate mood, and it is common knowledge that frequent exercise and leading an active, healthy lifestyle promotes a feeling of wellbeing.   Does Sex Affect Our Workouts? This is where things become complicated. Though extensive studies have been done on the subject, the results of these have varied massively. We must also take into account the experience of individuals, and this anecdotal evidence again has huge variance. Let’s look at both:   Sex and Training: What the Science Says Scientific studies on the relationship between sex and training are contradictory at best. There’s no denying the positive benefits of both activities, particularly from a psychological perspective, but as for the effect of sex on actual performance in the gym the results are inconclusive. A study, published in April 2021, by Kirecci, Albayrak and co. examined the effects of sexual activity of 50 men in the 24 hours prior to training on lower body strength. The study measured effects by having the men perform 3 separate squat sessions, each at the same time of day. Each of these sessions occurred after participating in or abstaining from sexual activity the night before. The men performed 5 sets of 5 repetitions of their maximum squat weight during these sessions and the difference in weight lifted was observed. The study concluded that ‘sexual intercourse within 24 hours before exercise [has a] detrimental effect on lower extremity muscle force, which suggests that restricting sexual activity before a short-term activity may be necessary.’ Aside from this study, most others found either no notable relationship between sex and athletic performance. A meta-analysis of 9 crossover studies, conducted by Zavorsky and Brooks and published on 16 September 2022, confirms this. The analysis concluded that ‘The results demonstrate that sexual activity within 30 min to 24 h before exercise does not appear to affect aerobic fitness, musculoskeletal endurance, or strength/power.’ This is perhaps more notable, because these studies incorporated different types of exercise and were not restricted purely to a strength/power based activity like squats.   Anecdotal Evidence: What About the Experiences of Real Gym Goers? The anecdotal evidence is, as expected, highly individualised. However, there tends to be a bias against the results of most studies, particularly in those participating in sports involving strength and aggression. For example, many fighters claim that they perform better when they abstain from sex in the days leading up to a contest. Similarly, bodybuilding forums are full of debate on this topic and many claim they note a significant decrease in motivation to train at maximum intensity after sexual activity. It has been hypothesised that this may be due to a downregulation in testosterone production after sex; during orgasm the mineral zinc is released in the body and this is also a precursor for natural testosterone production in the body and may, therefore, provide some reasoning as to the experience of many trainees.   Key Takeaways The relationship between sex and workout performance will always be a complicated one. The effects of one on the other in terms of physical fitness and, in particular, mental wellbeing, are clear, but when it comes to actual performance this appears to be highly individual. We’d advise doing what feels best for you but not worrying too much about it. Instead, prioritise your nutrition and make sure you’re fuelling your workouts properly. While you’re here, why not take a look at the Innermost range? We’re proud to be completely transparent about the ingredients in our products and we always ensure they’re of the highest quality. Check us out, and be sure to get in touch if you have any questions! Read more