With the conclusion of Memorial Day weekend, it means one thing. Well besides, it meaning the end of lacrosse season (thank god), summer is upon us. And as baseball season gets into full swing, there is something else all of us pumping with testosterone through our veins can look forward too…
White pants are in again.
Now you won’t catch these thunderous quads dead in a pair of white pants, but every guy out there over the age of 4 knows that white pants are one of the best parts of summer. I won’t name names but one of my best friends weaknesses is curly hair and white pants. He’s handsome too for all our female readers out there.
But I digress. Before I say something not PG for all our toddler readers, here’s part two of getting you to look fanasstic as summer gets into full swing.
Tip #1 Hip Thrust Your Way to a Better Booty
You really didn’t think I was going to spend the entirety of my introduction drooling over white pants and not tell you how to fill them out better. You and I both know I’m better than that.
Everyone with an X chromosome loves a good butt. Yes, that would be the entirety of the world population. Unfortunately, finding a good butt is about as difficult as finding a good Nicholas Cage movie. Whether it’s the overindulgence of thousand calorie lattes at Starbucks or the questionable dogmatic belief that running somehow sculpts your ass, you just don’t find a good backside with high frequency anymore.
Let’s change that and do so we’re going to have to use some unconventional methods. Anyone that’s been around the fitness industry in the past few years is no stranger to the fact that Bret Contreras has changed how we think about training the gluteals. He’s uprooted and destroyed the common belief that squats and lunges are the best exercises for your booty. Great exercises that everyone should do more of but the best exercise for not being able to fit into jeans? Nope, try again.
That designation belongs to the classification of exercises that in my best biomechanics verbiage most closely resembles you humping the air with a barbell on your hips. Literally. (Side note: delving into the biomechanical proof behind the superiority of the hip thrust is beyond the scope of this article. If you’re interested, check out Bret’s site.)
Without further ado, world meet the hip thrust. Hip thrust in all your infinite glory meet the Show Me Strength community. If you’ve never done one, I implore you to start. Like yesterday. Not only will you fill out your pants better, your back will start to feel better (we sit our butts all day, most of our glutes are asleep leading to all sorts of dysfunction).
If you’ve never bridged before, here is how I would progress you to full out hip thrusts which is probably the most difficult variation.
Step 1: Add bridges to your warm-ups.
Double leg then progress to single leg. Two sets of 10 will get you feel them firing. Because for most of us our hamstrings are our dominant hip extensors, you may feel some cramping in them as you bridge up. Pre-contract your glutes before starting each rep to counteract this.
Step 2: Start to implement bodyweight glute bridges to your training program.
Start with 3-4 sets of 10-20 reps and progress your volume each week.
Step 3: Add the barbell to the mix.
Once you’ve comfortable performing 80-100 bodyweight bridges during your program without your hamstrings cramping like you just ran 20 miles, then you’re ready for the barbell. I like programming it in your B) or C) exercises group with 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps.
Step 4: Once you feel comfortable with the barbell glute bridge, add in the hip thrust and start having a hell of a time building that booty.
You’ll get funny looks at the gym. It’s all good because you won’t be the ones getting funny looks at night or at the beach.
Tip #2 Keep your carbs limited to the post-workout window
The truth is that carbs aren’t the devil nor do they make you fat but you have to manage them appropriately if you’re going to lose fat in an efficient manner.
The Y2K American has carbs for every meal. Buttered bagel for breakfast (I know many a college freshman that has gained 20 lbs from this combo alone), Subway sandwich for lunch, and god knows what carb concoction for dinner.
Clearly not a recipe for beach body success. Why?
Because when insulin is elevated, fat oxidation (burning) is non-existent. If you think about it, it just doesn’t make evolutionary sense for your body to burn fat when it’s in the fed state. That would be counterproductive to survival during famine times.
The physiology behind fat loss is a bit more complicated but the basic premise is that our bodies only utilize fat stores for energy when insulin levels are low. Thus, in order to maximize results in the shortest amount of time as summertime rolls around the corner, it’s imperative we manage our carb timing for optimal fat loss.
If you train with high intensity (lift weights, sprint, crossfit, etc), you need carbs. No ifs, ands, or buts about it. Go paleo while training with high intensity and you’ll be all but guaranteed to lose muscle and feel like crap in the process.
By keeping carbs to the post-training window, we are taking advantage of our bodies anabolic window delivering the nutrients when and where our body needs to recover while ensuring insulin levels will be kept low in the hours following training.
Note: Research has shown that there is no magic anabolic window where you have to get X number of carbs and protein in a certain amount of time post workout or you’ll shrivel up and die. That’s fine, we need not worry about such things. Refeeding post training will ensue glycogen restoration and initiate protein synthesis.
I suggest a shake consisting of sweetened almond milk, rolled oats, protein powder, full fat greek yogurt, and frozen berries. Follow this up with some sort of starchy carb at the following meal (rice, sweet potato, potato) and you’ll be well on your way.
Tip #3 Find a means to de-stress every single day
Stress is the silent killer and it’ll make fat loss next to impossible. Remember, everything in biology only makes sense in terms of our evolutionary history. Getting lean, like “woah that guy is ripped lean”, is an inherent stressor to the body. Your body doesn’t want to give up that much fat. It’ll fight you every step of the way and if you’re chronically stressed, I can guarantee you’ll be fighting an uphill battle every step of the way.
Thyroid levels drop (the regulator of your metabolism). Cortisol and consequently blood sugar levels rise. Testosterone and growth hormone levels plummet.
All that happens because you and your girlfriend constantly fight about you forgetting to put the toilet seat back down. Just kidding, an acute stressor like that won’t give you a spare tire around your gut but chronically stressing over relationships, jobs, and anything similar will be sure to give you love handles that will take a little more than some treadmill sprints to lose.
It’s all about hormonal balance and managing your stress on a daily basis. We’re all going to have shitty days when our friend just looks at us the wrong way and we’re ready to jump them. It happens but if we’re going to win the fat loss war, managing these stressors is imperative.
My suggestion? Have something to do that de-stresses you everyday.
Have sex, meditate, play an instrument, get your girlfriend to give you a massage, give her one back on occasion, nap, etc.
The list is endless. I certainly have my favorites from above and it’s all about finding a daily routine you can incorporate to keep you stress-free or as close to it as possible.
Start to incorporate each of these into your training, nutrition, and lifestyle and I’ll be back next step with three more tips to help you dominate this summer.
If you’re looking for new recipes to spice up your “healthy” eating, Chad and I highly recommend Metabolic Cooking, a fantastic resource packed with over 250+ delicious recipes.
Want our help? Click here to learn how we can coach you into a seriously awesome human being and get you into badass shape this summer > Show Me Strength’s exclusive online training and lifestyle design programs.