First, let’s define what it means to look good in swimwear.
It can be the first picture which requires special training and diet of a physique competitor. I write more about it here – Swimwear training II – challenge of the world champion.
The guy on the second picture is not ripped to the bone and his proportions aren’t in accordance with Michelangelo, but he is in incredible condition. It can be achieved by hard work in sport-specific training, for example rowing, swimming, athletics or CrossFit.
Most of the guys aim for athletic looks with defined but not shredded muscles and low body fat. You can see the six pack when the body fat level drops below 15 percent. Around 10 percent is doable without any drastic changes into your lifestyle. Guy on the picture above can have about 8 – 9 percent.
HOW TO GET IT?
Low body fat percentage, so that you can see the six pack. Body burns fat when it consumes less energy than used. It isn´t so easy, because the laws of thermodynamics also apply to the human body. The system switches into the most energy effective regime. It means that the body starts saving energy and fat metabolism slows down.
Never decrease the calorie intake by more than 400 – 500. Daily requirement for a moderately active young man is about 2,400; for woman about 2,000.
The source of the calories also matters. 100 calories from sugar elevate the insulin more than 100 calories from fat. Hormonal imbalance causes that anything you consume will be stored in form of fat. Therefore reduce the calories just moderately and avoid stereotype.
Carbohydrates are the easiest to play with. They are the fastest source of energy but also turn into body fat quickly. On a day when I have more physical activity, I consume more of them – mainly around the workout and reduce them towards the night. When I do light workout, I would consume only about 100 – 200 grams and on non-training days I would go to 50, even zero. It is doable, although it requires effort and it can be a good mental training.
Overall, 20 – 30 percent of energy should come from proteins, 60 – 70 percent from carbs and the rest from fats. Everyone should find what works best for them. If you are an active sportsman, you would probably have carbs at 70. If you have sedentary job, focus on protein.
I covered some food and sugar issues here. Avoid processed foods, simple carbohydrates and sugars, saturated fats, sugary drinks and alcohol. It is the best to consume food closest to the form found in the nature. Milk from cows, meat from a small farm or a neighbour who keeps cows, veggies from your garden. It also depends on your opportunities and income…
Exercise also helps with fat burning. When you do aerobic activity of low to moderate intensity (you are still able to utter 1 – 2 sentences while running), the body is using fat as the source of energy. The longer you run, the more the fat metabolism prevails. Ideal time is 45 – 60 minutes. Too long cardio can disturb your hormonal balance. Hormones can affect whether we build muscles or store fat.
Strength training releases growth hormone and testosterone that build muscles and power. Therefore we refer to the muscular guys as testosterone nation and maybe because of this are they popular with the opposite sex. However, it requires lifting heavy weight. The dumbbell hidden under your bed does not count.
Too much aerobic activity, combined with non-proper regeneration and nutrition can be contra-productive.
Strength is the base. The more defined your abdominal muscles, the more visible they are. Complex exercises, such as squats, shoulder press, pull-ups or weightlifting and kettlebell
strengthen the core muscles. Add isolation work to hit the abdominals from all angles. I prefer strict hanging leg raises – touching the bar with my toes, dragon flag and windmills. Frank Zane used to do sets of 50 + sit-ups after his strength workout. Sometimes, the simplest solutions are the best. In general, the muscle must get a stimulus in order to grow.
Body works as a whole. Strong abdominals and weak hips or shoulder area is sci-fi and can result in health problems over time. Therefore aim for balanced development.
Here are two sample trainings. The first one is suitable even for a beginner who does not have access to the gym (get it – make it a priority, if you mean it).
WORKOUT ONE – beginner friendly
1, the most difficult version of push-ups you can perform for 10 reps (traditional, close-grip, elevated, one handed…) 3 sets of 12
2, long jump 5 x 6 – 90 s rests
3, Circuit. Do all the moves in a row without stopping. After the circle rest for 90 seconds and repeat. (Do not go and sip from a drink in between two exercises. Be honest with yourself and work hard, or go home.
A, burpee 10 x
B, push-ups 10 x
C, mountain climber 10 x
D, squat 00 x
E, run 200 m or run upstairs
1, barbell squat 5 x 8
2, pull-ups 4 x max reps
3A, cable crunches 3 x 12*
3B, sit-ups 3 x 20*
Circuit 4 rounds, 90 second rest after each
A, 20 kettlebell swings
B, 20 sit-ups
C, 20 burpees
1, shoulder press 4 x 8
2, long jump 6 x 5
3A, hanging knee rotation 4 x 20
3B, plank hold 4 x 30 s
4, circuit – 4 rounds for time
A, 10 pull-ups
B, 10 kettlebell goblet squats
C, run 400 m
Monday – DAY I – full of energy after the weekend
Tuesday – cardio or circuit training (something like ABC circuits)
Wednesday – rest – the middle of the week
Thursday – DAY II – some energy left
Friday – rest – party time 😦
Saturday – if you did party hard, do cardio. If you did not party, do circuit training.
Sunday – if you worked out on Saturday properly, have a rest or do DAY I – in case you will not have time on Monday. If you Saturday workout was sh*tty, do cardio and potentially also DAY I.