“This app will change bike training forever, it’s that good”

Excer-ICE-ing

There’s this new fad called ‘The Ice Diet.’

Most people prefer to excercise in a warm, comfortable gym or even in their own home. Get outside when you can to expose your body to the cooler temperatures that will speed up your fat-burning. There is no evidence that hot workouts offer benefits or that sweating increases your calorie-burn. On the contrary, it just feels like more effort — but for less return.

Don’t worry if you get things wrong at first. There should be no shame in falling off the bandwagon as you adjust to your new routine. The Ice Diet is intended to be a plan for life, not a short-term hardship.

So what is the ice diet exactly? Below is a step by step guide.

1.Drink a cup of icy slush before you start

In hot environments such as gyms and yoga studios, the body diverts blood away from the muscles to the skin for cooling, which is partly why exercise often feels harder. A study by New Zealand researchers in the journal Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise showed how icy drinks give you a workout boost instead. In the trial, male athletes were given a syrup-flavoured ice slush just before running on a treadmill in a hot room and were able to keep going for an average of 50 minutes before they had to stop. When they drank only syrup-flavoured cold water, they could run for an average of 40 minutes. It seems the ice drink probably lowered body temperature before they ran, letting them keep going before their bodies became too hot.

2. Avoid over-layering

Remember that you will get warm quickly when you exercise, even if it doesn’t feel like it when you take the first step. Ask yourself if the merino base layer, thermal tights, insulated gilet and heat-panelled leggings are really necessary. Even on a really cold day, one thermal is often enough.

3. Opt for a cooler pool

Cooler water means your body needs to burn more calories just to maintain your internal temperature — that’s why top swimmers who train in cool pools consume more calories than athletes in other sports to stay at their racing weight. Hotter water makes swimming harder work. As water temperature rises, so does heart rate, largely because the effort required by the body to dissipate heat generated in a swim is raised.

4. Try a cold bucket

If you are not a fan of plunge pools or post-workout ice baths and cold showers, then dunking your hands in cool water (chilled to 20 degrees) every so often is a quick way to boost calorie burn. When I tried it as part of a trial at the University of Nottingham, results showed that the temperature of my good fat rose from its baseline of 34.5 degrees by 0.15 degree. It doesn’t sound much, but represents a rapid increase in five minutes of cold exposure that equates to a 10-15 per cent rise in the number of calories I burnt. Try it in conjunction with regular exercise for the best benefits.

5. Experiment with ice aids

These are currently the hottest performance enhancers in sport. Cooling gloves, developed by Stanford University scientists, are used by Manchester United and the FIFA World Cup-winning German football team; cooling vests were shown in trials at the Joslin Diabetes Centre to stimulate fat-burning activity better than other measures and cryotherapy ice chambers are hugely popular among athletes, footballers and rugby players looking to aid recovery from intense exercise. An alternative is an ice-cold bath or shower which has been shown in some studies to get you back on your feet so that you are ready to work out again tomorrow.

6. Cool down carefully

Ice may be beneficial before a workout, preliminary evidence suggests sipping ice-cold drinks post exercise might not be such a good thing. A hard workout also triggers good fat into calorie-burning mode and taking ice immediately afterwards could counteract that, suggests Professor Michael Symonds, a researcher in obesity and its link with cold temperatures, at the University of Nottingham.

The two-week exercise blast

Below is a two-week Ice Blast programme that is great for maximising fat-burning in conjunction with the Ice Diet. It is not for those of you who are new to exercise but is a great regimen if you have a decent fitness base and want a hard-hitting kick start.

Week 1

Day 1: 20-minute run or cycle, incorporating 5×20-second sprints
Day 2: Rest
Day 3: 30 seconds each of burpees, jumping jacks, squat thrusts, high-knee running, jump squats, step-ups and presses, lateral jumps and knee-tuck crossovers with 10 seconds rest between. Repeat.
Day 4: Warm up, then perform 4×60-second sprints on the bike or running with a 90-second breather. Recover for 3-4 minutes.
Day 5: Warm up, 5×30-second sprints uphill on bike or running. Cool down.
Day 6: 10xburpees, jumping jacks, lateral jumps, step-ups and presses with a 10-second breather between each. Then take a 20-second breather and repeat each 9 times, then a 20-second breather and repeat each 8 times until you perform just one repetition of each.
Day 7: Warm up. Sprint for 30 seconds, rest for 15 seconds. Repeat 8 times. Cool down.

Week 2

Day 1: 20-minute run or cycle with 6×20-second sprints.
Day 2: Rest
Day 3: 30 seconds of burpees, jumping jacks, squat thrusts, high-knee running, jump squats, step ups and presses, lateral jumps and knee-tuck cross-overs with 10 seconds rest between each. Repeat.
Day 4: 10 minutes easy running, 3 minutes hard, 5 minutes easy.
Day 5: 10xburpees, jumping jacks, lateral jumps, step ups and presses with a 10-second breather between each exercise. Then take a 20-second breather and repeat each movement 9 times, then a 20-second breather and repeat each 8 times until you perform just one repetition of each.
Day 6: Warm up, run or cycle 60 seconds hard, 90 seconds easy. Repeat 6 times. Cool down.
Day 7: 30 seconds each of burpees, jumping jacks, squat thrusts, high-knee running, jump squats, step ups and presses, lateral jumps and knee-tuck crossovers with 10 seconds rest between. Repeat.

The diet plan

WEEKS 1 AND 2
Schedule your meals within a 12:12 ratio — that’s a 12-hour eating window, followed by 12 hours of eating nothing. That means that you can eat only between 8am and 8pm, or say 9am and 9pm. Eat three meals a day. In the first week you should be eating around 1,200-1,400 calories a day. However, don’t focus too much on calorie-counting — the important thing is to get your meal schedules in place.

Meal suggestions

Breakfast: (eat just one of the following) porridge topped with sliced mango and Kiwi fruit; blueberry omelette; bowl of muesli; scrambled eggs; wholemeal pancakes served with a desert spoon of Greek yoghurt; sliced banana and a handful of chopped and flaked nuts; Greek yoghurt piled with berries~
Lunch: Spicy broccoli salad with slice of rye or whole grain bread; ceviche of monkfish; veggie-stuffed pitta; watercress soup with a slice of rye or wholegrain bread; salad Niçois; tomato and red pepper with slice of rye bread; butternut squash salad; watercress and quinoa salad.
Dinner: chicken breast baked with garlic and lemon zest served with a large green salad; coconut vegetable curry with brown rice; veggie burger served with green salad and granary roll; spicy chops served with steamed seasonal vegetables; salmon and broccoli noodles; swordfish served with steamed vegetables; vegetable stir fry with cashews.

How to cool down

Decrease non-essential heating including towel rails, under-floor heating, heated seats in cars; open a window where you are sitting for at least five minutes for every hour; reduce heating in your bedroom by one degree; subject yourself to a cold blast — either in the shower or by going outside with few layers on; if you go to the gym, switch 50 per cent of your workouts outside.

Try one of these activities per day

Take a 15-minute walk outside (the World Health Organisation recommends that we should take at least 10 to 12,000 steps per day — most manage only 4,000-5,000 per day. Walk five minutes at a brisk pace followed by 20 seconds at a moderate pace, then back to five minutes at a brisk pace — repeat for 20 minutes. Take the stairs wherever you find them. Walk ten minutes fast, ten minutes steady, ten minutes fast. Walk for 20 minutes at a brisk pace.

WEEKS 3 AND 4
Schedule your meals within a 13:11 ratio — that’s an 11-hour eating window, followed by 13 hours of eating nothing. For example, you can eat between 8am and 7pm or 10am and 9pm. Experiment on two days with just two meals ie, brunch and supper. Revert to three if it proves too challenging. In weeks 3 and 4 you should be eating 1,100-1,300 calories a day.

Meal suggestions

Breakfast/brunch: (eat just one of the following): muesli; poached eggs with avocado and spinach; quinoa fruit salad; coconut pancakes served with low-fat Greek yoghurt and berries; scrambled eggs (made with 2 free range, organic eggs) and a slice of smoked salmon; porridge topped with dried or fresh figs or prunes
Lunch: broad bean and quinoa salad; salad Niçois; watercress soup served with slice of rye or granary seeded bread; veggie-stuffed pitta with feta cheese; watercress and quinoa salad; barley chicken with steamed vegetables; stuffed red peppers
Supper: chicken served with lightly steamed seasonal vegetables; Thai beef salad; salmon and broccoli noodles; carrot veggie burger in granary bun served with large green salad and seeds.

How to cool down

Get into the habit of opening a window an hour before you go to bed. Invest in workout gloves and a head band rather than thermal base layers, thermal socks rather than leggings. Try a foot plunge pool. Take a cooler bath. Get outside on a cold day for 2-3 minutes without a coat.

Try one of these activities per day

A gentle 35-minute walk. Walk 45 minutes at a steady pace. Walk or jog for 3 minutes at a moderate pace, “sprint” walk for 20 seconds, revert to moderate pace for 2 minutes and repeat twice more. Walk 10 minutes steady, 8 minutes brisk pace, 3 minutes fast pace, 4 minutes steady. Skip as fast as you can for 60 seconds, skip gently for 60 seconds, repeat 4 times.

WEEKS 5 AND 6
Schedule your meals within a 14:10 ratio — that’s a 10-hour eating window, followed by 14 hours of not eating. That could mean you only eat between 8am and 5pm. Or say between 9am and 6pm. Make the shift towards two meals on three of those days if you feel comfortable with that. If not, leave at three until — and only when — you find it manageable. In weeks 5-6 you should be eating 1,000-1,200 calories a day.

Meal suggestions

Breakfast/brunch: bowl of fresh fruit salad made with a variety of fruits sprinkled with seeds; porridge topped with dried or fresh figs or prunes; poached eggs and spinach; blueberry pancakes; poached egg with avocado and spinach; scrambled eggs with salmon and feta cheese.
Lunch: spicy broccoli salad, with a slice of rye or seeded bread; veggie-stuffed pitta with feta cheese; tuna sandwich; watercress and quinoa salad; butternut squash salad.
Dinner: swordfish with small baked sweet potato and a large green salad with seeds; vegetable stir-fry with cashews; chicken with steamed vegetables; risotto; vegetable stir fry with cashews.

How to cool down

Reduce heating to 19 degrees; try outdoor swimming; open your car window when driving; try ice-skating; aim to be spending ten minutes of every hour in the day outside; try sleeping with just a sheet.

Try one of these activities per day
Walk easy for five minutes, fast for two minutes, repeat three times. A 45-minute walk or cycle. A 30-minute hilly walk or cycle. Run, walk or cycle hard for 40 seconds then at a moderate pace for 60 seconds, repeat 8 times.

Convinced? Follow these steps and after a couple of weeks you’ll begin to see results. Your body will thank you for it, I promise.

-M
[email protected]