Reduce The Number Of Days You Train
“The first step is reducing the number of days a week you train,” says Stephan Cabral, the Precision Fitness & Performance 2011 Personal Trainer of the Year. “If you are training five to six days a week, you could cut it back by a day or two. But three days a week is the bare minimum. Weight training should be done a maximum of three times a week, while you’ll need at least a couple of cardio sessions. This is agreed to be the perfect mix to maintain low body fat while still living a balanced life.”
You can’t keep banging out the same workout or your mind and muscle will die of boredom. “The best kinds of workouts involve dumbbells, barbells and throwing a medicine ball around,” says Nick Grantham, a strength coach who has advised the English Football Association and the British Olympics Association. “You should aim to work several muscle groups by performing moves such as press-ups, barbell squats, inverted rows, pull-ups and lunges. Stick to 6 to 8 reps, as these are the most efficient at maintaining muscle mass.”
Not all cardio is created equal. The occasional hack around your local park won’t keep you lean in the long-term. “If you don’t keep pushing yourself, eventually your former fatter self will make a return,” says Grantham. “Stick to interval training and you’ll hardwire your body to keep shedding calories faster than you can store them.”
You may feel ready to relax back into a less restricted diet but you still have to stick to the rules of muscle-building nutrition. These eating strategies from Grantham will ensure your abs stay on the right side of visible:
Selenium: This antioxidant helps to clear up your system after long bouts of training, minimising muscle wastage. A Liverpool University study found that it helps your body fend off attacks from viruses, keeping your immune system strong, so you can keep training even with interruptions from colds and flu.