With the heat wave in full effect and the allergies kicking into high gear, this can only mean one thing… time to take those shirts off, head to the beach, and show everyone what you’ve been working hard for. All those countless hours in the gym, deciding whether to push that extra rep or that extra 10 minutes of cardio, has finally started to pay off. Unfortunately, for those who did not get into these activities, you are behind a bit. For either crowd, here are some tips that are going to take you to another level, which will have everyone taking a second look as you walk by this summer. Always eat breakfast Choose a low glycemic breakfast that is high in protein, such as lean meat, eggs, and nuts. Meat and eggs provide your body with amino acids, which increases lean muscle. Nuts supply your body with essential healthy fats while regulating your blood sugar levels (insulin sensitivity). An added benefit of meat comes from the hormonal response that improves neurotransmitter activity within the brain. Enhanced neurotransmitter activity leads to elevated energy levels and improved cognitive performance. Lastly, low glycemic meals will not spike insulin levels and will kick your body into fat burning mode. Choose your protein wisely Eating a high quality protein, such as grass fed organic meat, has been linked to high resting metabolic rate (RMR) levels. Elevated RMR levels result in superior fat burning and greater amounts of calories expended. Base your carbohydrate intake off of your activity level. Do not eliminate carbohydrate all together, but rather limit your carbohydrate intake. For individuals who live a sedentary lifestyle, choose to eat about 100-125g of carbohydrates per day. For more active individuals, assess your carbohydrate intake based off of your activity intensity level and frequency. If you perform two hours of activity, with one hour being a vigorous workout, ingesting 200g-300g (based off your bodyweight as well) that day will allow for enhanced recovery (i.e. muscular repair / growth). Time your carbohydrate intake Do not eat carbohydrates first thing in the morning. This results in increased levels of insulin, which leads to low energy levels and increased fat storage. Choose to eat carbohydrates around times of activity and/or movement. It takes approximately 60-90 minutes for your body to respond to the food ingested. Therefore, eat oatmeal (a resistant starch), or other organic sprouted whole grains, approximately 60-90 minutes before your workouts. Eating a meal composed of the major three macro-nutrients (carbohydrates, protein, and fats) before working out has shown significant increases in performance. However, stay away from grains and/or other carbohydrates at night. Choose your fat (wisely) Eating fat is a great thing. Fatty acids Omega-3 & 6 both support insulin sensitivity. If your insulin levels are elevated, your body is more likely to store fat. However, if your insulin levels can be controlled, than your body will be less likely to store fat and utilize those calories as energy. Choose to eat healthy fats such as organic wild grass fed meats, full fat dairy, avocados, olive oil, coconut oil, almonds, walnuts, Brazil nuts, etc… Incorporate these tips into your daily lifestyle, and once you have them dialed in, read Summer Tips for Fat Loss part II next month to continue altering that body composition.