Summer. It hits, the sun scorches and men across the country are slammed with the realisation that they'll soon have to get their bodies out.
The good news is that finally it looks like there might be a short-term pain, year-long gain way to make topless afternoons in the garden less Johnny Vegas and more Matthew McConaughey.
Researchers from the Spanish University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, and the Swedish Mid Sweden University have just released a study which shows that a cohort of 15 overweight men kept a 5 kilo weight loss off, a year after losing it. Plus – here's the kicker – it was achieved after just four days of intense diet and training.
So, how did they do it? And, more importantly, could it work for you? Here's a four point plan of, what seems to be, a miracle regime.
1 | They were overweight to begin with. The men who took part in the study all had a BMI of over 30 – a number which sticks you in the 'very overweight' category according to our pal the NHS.
2 | They only ate 320 calories a day. Divided into two groups, half of the men were given their daily allowance in the form of liquid whey protein, and others in the form of liquid sucrose. This all stopped at the end of the four days, with the guys then allowed to eat what they wanted for the rest of the week, and only allowed to do very little exercise. (If you give this a go, take the whey option – the guys who consumed the sucrose lost lean muscle mass).
3 | They exercised all day for four days. The determined gents put up with an extreme exercise programme on such little fuel. Forty-five minutes on an arm-crank-ergometer (the one where you pedal your arms) daily, followed by eight hours of walking, combined with the lack of food, creates a 5,000 calorie deficit.
4 | They relaxed. After the week, the men went home, with no instruction to change their regular routines. The researchers checked back in with them a month, and then a year later, with any decrease in lean muscle mass that had resulted from the crash training back in full swing.
Sound hard? We think so too. But the sport scientists who led the study – Jose Calbert and Hans-Christer Holmberg – report that none of the participants quit, and, most surprisingly, none said they were hungry.
The only explanation provided for the sustained weight loss is that the men were so happy with the rapid results that it had a knock-on effect on their day-to-day lives, making them healthier in the long term.
Now, we're not recommending you tale four days off work to not eat and go roaming around your town all day long: local wandering crackhead is not a good look. But we are curious as to if this wil spawn a programme with a similar gist that we could get on board with.