how to get into summer shape quickly

Shed Your Winter Weight Without Waiting

Winter is typically a time where we slow down, preoccupied with the holidays and ending the year, so naturally focus is given to our weight.

If you ate a few too many holiday pies, watched too much tv and played too little in general, chances are you're carrying around some extra pounds. With spring in full swing, you're likely looking towards summer and swimsuits and maybe just slightly panicked. 

The good news is that you can lose weight quickly if you really focus yourself and if you don't set too unreasonable of expectations. If you have 100 pounds to lose, you won't be Speedo-ready in a few months, but you can be well on your way to a healthier life. If, however, you've got 15-30 pounds to spare and you want to dump it quickly, then this guide is for you.

If you follow the instructions we've put together, you should have very little difficulty shedding that winter spare tire and getting ready to hit the beach. The best part is that there's no goofy pills or wraps to buy, and no special delivery meals to eat!

Manage Your Diet

The first part of getting yourself in a healthier state is managing your nutrition. You can work out for hours a day but if your nutrition isn't on point you'll never lose any weight, and all the "diet" food in the world won't help you actually diet. It's critical that you transition from processed Franken-foods to a whole food diet.

Cut Those Carbs

It's a well-worn cliche that carbs are the enemy, and that's a different article entirely, but for the purposes of quick weight loss, they definitely are the enemy.

Carbs not only keep your insulin high which keeps your body in fat-storage mode, but they also actively make your body store more water. This is because carbohydrates convert into glycogen in the body and are stored in your liver and muscles. 

When you cut carbs to around 20g/day, your body enters a metabolic state called "ketosis" in which you convert fat into ketone bodies to use for fuel instead of glucose.

When you cut your carbs that low, your body will scrounge your blood for excess, free-floating glucose. When that runs out, it will burn up all that glycogen in storage in your liver and muscles.

An image of healthy organic foods on a white marble top

When that glycogen is gone, all the water it was stored in gets flushed out, which automatically will make you look leaner. In addition, puffiness all over your body will diminish as your body stops retaining water in general. When you're in ketosis, you'll finally be primed to burn fat first, and that's where the real weight loss kicks in.

Prolonged ketosis provides a great many benefits beyond fat loss, including:

  • Reduced insulin in the blood. When there's persistent insulin in the blood, it effectively shuts off your body's ability to burn fat. In ketosis, insulin is largely suppressed, so you can tap into your fat stores easily.
  • Increased mental clarity. While this isn't as well understood as other aspects of ketosis, the mental clarity is reported in most people who can stick to keto until their body is primed to burn fat (about 4 weeks on average)
  • Better retention of muscle mass during low calorie periods. When you're living off sugar and you cut calories, your body will utilize what it considers "excess" muscle for energy. Keto prevents that to a higher degree.
  • Ketosis blunts the appetite, making it easier to eat less or simply skip meals entirely.
  • The first 2 weeks of ketosis, often called "induction", most people can expect to lose 10-15 pounds. While half of that is likely water weight, it is possible to lose a substantial amount of fat, which is a great way to kick off your quest for your summer body

Be wary, because there are many people out there right now trying to sell you supplements, drinks, and meal replacements with "keto" plastered all over them. While these products probably do what they say they do, they're a waste of money and time. The best keto diet is one that is packed with good protein, healthy natural fats, and green, leafy vegetables

Some wonderful sources of protein for keto are:


Beef in all forms, particularly organ meats


Small, cold-water fish like sardines, bristling, and anchovies because they're high in omega-3 and calcium, and because they're small, they're very low in lead.


Eggs, all day every day. Eggs are one of the most nutritionally perfect foods on the planet, and they're cheap!


Poultry in all forms, ideally free-range and able to eat grass and bugs, which makes for a better nutritional profile

Some people think that keto is anti-veggie but that's pretty far from the truth. There are only a few vegetables you should stay away from on the keto diet:

  • Potatoes, sweet potatoes, and other starchy tubers
  • Corn in all varieties
  • Beets

If it's starchy like potatoes or corn, or sugary like beets it should be avoided. You can have plenty of leafy greens like lettuce, spinach, kale, and all the other delicious plants your heart desires. Avocados are your friend on keto, providing a high dose of healthy plant fats and some necessary potassium.

An image of a plate full of Magnesium (MG) Rich Foods: Chocolate, banana, cocoa, nuts, avocados, broccoli, almonds

Speaking of potassium, when you're cutting carbs like this and subsequently shedding vast amounts of water, you will need to supplement electrolytes.

While you can take potassium pills, it's highly inadvisable as it can be dangerous. Your best bet is aiming for potassium and magnesium-rich foods, such as:

  • 100% cacao cocoa powder 
  • Cold water fish like salmon
  • Spinach
  • Avocado
  • Nuts, in particular walnuts
  • Full fat plain Greek yogurt
  • Broccoli
  • Mushrooms

You want roughly 3000 - 5000 mg of sodium a day which can be reached simply by salting foods. For potassium, aim for 3000 - 4000 mg, gained strictly through food, and between 200 - 400 mg of magnesium. If you need to, you can supplement magnesium in the form of magnesium citrate which won't hurt your stomach the way other forms might.

Supplementing electrolytes will also help you avoid the main argument against keto; the keto flu. Not really a flu but more of a mix of symptoms from electrolyte deficiency, including:

  • Headache
  • Irritability
  • Weakness
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea and general stomach upset
  • Mental

While some of that can be attributed to converting from a sugar metabolism to a fat metabolism, most of it can be fixed with a simple salty chicken broth. It's well worth it to have to be mindful of your electrolytes because keto really will rocket your fat burning into the stratosphere.

Problematic Diets

So now you know that keto is the best diet to follow for quick, sustainable weight loss, and you know that solid protein, healthy fats, and leafy green veggies should be the backbone of your diet. That list above isn't exhaustive, however, so what are the main things to avoid in order to get into summer shape quickly? 

While trying to type out a complete list of all the ways your cravings will mess up your progress is, well, impossible, the majority of the problematic foods can be summed up into a few categories:


Alcohol serves no nutritional purpose, and you know that - you're not drinking it for the health benefits. However, if you're trying to ditch fat fast, booze is one of the worst things you can ingest.

In addition to being empty calories, alcohol will always be burned first by your body, so fat burning goes on hold while you've got alcohol in your system.

Secondly, alcohol causes you to retain water, which will increase puffiness. It impacts your ability to recover from exercise, disrupts sleep, and makes you feel awful the next day if you drink too much, making it far less likely you'll be compliant with diet or exercise.

Finally, booze makes you crave unhealthy foods and that's not doing anything to help you along. If you must drink, go for clear liquors mixed with non-sugar mixers, like diet soda, club soda and Crystal Light, or straight water.

The added benefit here is your alcoholic preferences will mature, which makes you 1000% cooler.


This one should be obvious but sugar wreaks havoc on your metabolism.

Spiking insulin drives blood sugar down, which then makes you hungry, causing you to eat and then driving insulin back up. This roller coaster will eventually cause your cells to become resistant to insulin's effects, and this is the first step towards diabetes. 

That's all end-game, worst case scenario, but in the short-term, sugar causes bloating and weight gain. It serves no nutritional benefit whatsoever, and causes far more issues than it solves (and it solves none). 

Cut sugar out in all forms, including white pasta, rice, and bread and especially soda or sweetened drinks.

Keto Supplements

There are no diet supplements you need to lose weight save for those that grow, swim, fly, or walk on the earth. Use your nutrition to form the bedrock of your weight loss routine and don't fall for the supplementation gimmicks.

The only things you should really add to your plan would be whey protein powder (the lower carb the better), fish oil, turmeric powder, and possibly vitamin D.

Creatine is a great supplement, too, but not for your goals here, because it makes you retain more water in the muscles and we're not going for puffy.

Things You Should Do

While weight loss is primarily dietary, you will need to move your body around if you want to get beach-ready in a few months. Exercise in general is great, but you can actually waste a lot of time and effort if you don't know what you're doing. Work out smarter AND harder with these tips to maximize your time at the gym.


We're not talking running for an hour straight every day on the treadmill. Constant cardio releases a lot of cortisol and this can actually lead to greater weight retention. Instead, aim for HIIT cardio, which stands for high-intensity interval training.

There are plenty of HIIT guides online, but the basic premise is extremely high cardio output for maybe a minute, than 30 seconds of rest, then bursts of cardio again. A very simple setup is the Tabata protocol:

20 Seconds Body weight Squats (as fast as you )

10 Seconds Rest

20 Seconds Repeat Squatting

Repeat this cycle 8 times

This is great for your heart and increases fat burning better than 1 hour of cardio. It's still worth doing low intensity walking for about 30 minutes a day, but it really should be leisurely.

Lift Weights

A basic plan like the Starting Strength 5x5 will help you hit all the major muscle groups and get stronger, and adding muscle is a great way to amp your metabolism. Find a program that works for you and keeps your interest and keep at it, 3-5 times a week with one or two rest days peppered in.


Make sure you get 7-8 hours of rest a night, especially once you start working out. A tired body won't exercise, and a tired mind wants to eat all the garbage and has more trouble with willpower. Get your sleep!

Not Necessarily Easy, but Definitely Simple

Maintaining a very low carb diet while working out will be difficult at first, but the important thing is still diet, so if there are days you can only walk, then just do that.

Things to remember:

  • Eat healthy, whole, low carb foods
  • Don't be shy of protein and healthy fats
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Avoid sugar and most carby vegetables
  • Exercise hard, but also smart
  • Get plenty of rest
An image of a man lying on a grass relaxing.

Stay strong, stay focused, and in a few months you'll rule the beach, pool, backyard bbq, or wherever else you wanna be incredibly gorgeous!

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