Ah, spring: It brings longer days, warmer rays, and the inescapable certainty that—at some point in the very near future—you’re going to have to take your shirt off in public. If you have yet to shed the comfy layer of adipose you acquired over the past few months, relax: There’s still plenty of time to do it—and to add some muscle while you’re at it.
In honor of Men’s Fitness’ 30th year, we’ve compiled 30 of our most effective get-lean tips to kick-start your beach-body plan. And though a concerted program of both diet and exercise is most effective for shedding fat, we’re not going to weigh you down with specific diet-to-exercise ratios. Just keep in mind that losing weight should be part of a holistic strategy that leaves you stronger, fitter, and healthier overall. Now, get ready to rule the summer.
1. Do your best Michael Phelps imitation
Don’t just splash around, swim. It’s low impact and can burn 900-plus calories an hour.
2. Go heavy on squats
The more muscles you can recruit with proper form, the stronger you’ll get and the more fat you’ll burn.
3. Train with a stronger pal
His ass-kicking will work you harder and get you stronger.
4. Go on the prowl
Combing cardio and weights—like pushing a prowler, jumping rope, or doing circuits—burns max fat.
5. Run ten 100-yard sprints
You’ll burn up to 500 calories and sleep like a rock at night.
6. Eat off a blue plate
Seeing food on a blue dish—as opposed to red or yellow—reduces appetite, studies show.
7. Buy nuts (peanuts, pistachios) unshelled
You’ll eat half as many if you have to shell them yourself.
8. Chew mint (or sugar-free mint gum) after meals
The flavor tells your brain it’s time to stop eating.
9. Do power yoga
It can burn 344 calories per hour.
10. Train fasted once a week
Skipping a pre-workout meal—aka intermittent fasting—works to keep adrenaline high and blood sugar low.
11. “Drown” your appetite
Dehydration can make your body think it’s hungry, so drink 130 fl oz of water per day.
12. Start skimming
Ditching cream and sugar for skim milk and no sugar can save you 105 calories a cup. Drink two cups a day, and that’s 76,650 calories a year.
13. Use only ellipticals with handles
You’ll recruit muscles in your arms and burn almost double the calories overall.
14. Get egg on your face
Among people who skip breakfast, 30% are more likely to be obese, says the American Heart Association.
15. Shop till it drops
Your weight, that is: New gear can inspire you to lift harder, get leaner, and recover faster. Try these:
- Nike Metcon DSX Flyknit: Ditch the running shoes when lifting—you’ll work heavier and safer wearing sneakers with a flat sole, supportive heel, and airy, superlight upper. $160, nike.com
- Crossrope Bolt: With its aluminum handles, ball bearings, and two weighted ropes, this jump rope can’t be beat for burning calories or flying through double-unders. $59, crossrope.com
- Moji Curve Pro: This freezable, portable massager has four stainless steel balls for a 360-degree massage that helps break up gnarly muscle knots for improved mobility. $50, gomoji.com
16. Berry the past
The resveratrol in strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries can help you drop pounds by turning flabby white fat into calorie-torching beige fat, reports Washington State University.
17. Use panko to crush that crust
Panko flakes soak up less oil than breadcrumbs, so they’re perfect for coating proteins like pork chops and chicken.
18. Learn the dirtiest menu words
Alfredo, butter, breaded, battered, crispy, fritters, golden, refried, loaded, pan-fried, covered, and—the all-time filthiest ever: smothered. Avoid them all.
19. Then learn the (c)leanest menu words—and use them religiously
Grilled, baked, lightly sautéed, primavera, marinara, roasted, and—the Messiah of Menu-dom—steamed.
20. Booze smart
Order cocktails with soda water and fresh lime juice instead of sweetened mixers, which can add 150 calories to your glass.
21. “Garçon, a doggie bag, please!”
Ask the waiter to serve you half your entrée and pack half to go.
22. Scare the shit out of your muscles
Aww, they’re too timid to work out with unfamiliar gear like SandBells or truck tires? Tough. Make them do it anyway—the changeup will help your body recruit more muscle fibers.
23. Treadmill line?
We don’t need no stinking treadmill line. Do box jumps or burpees while you wait.
24. Try the “burns twice” diet
Hot spices rev up your metabolism and help you eat more slowly.
25. Honor thy fava
All beans, really: They’re protein- and fiber-packed and can melt fat.
26. Choose the right supps
Supplementing wisely can help you fight cravings, shed water weight, and have more energy to train.
- MHP XPel: This powerful herbal diuretic was engineered to eliminate excess water retention, reduce bloat, and aid fat loss.
- Inspired-Bar: Mark Wahlberg’s all-natural bars supply mega protein and nutrients while sticking to the strictest quality and safety guidelines.
27. Give yourself half a break
Cut rests in half. You’ll send your muscles and cardiovascular system into overdrive, and burn more fat.
28. Be a HIIT man
Turn your body into a fat-burning furnace by alternating sprints with jogs.
29. Iron things out with her
Training with your sig-o can boost the odds you’ll stick to a workout by as much as 34%.
30. Think of each meal as a jealous lover
Don’t let anything distract you from your food. Doing something else—watching Netflix, working, watching Netflix while working— during a meal can cause you to eat 50% more, says the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.