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Part Four of Five: Karl's fab 30-day beach body plan

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A new improved you for the summer.

A new improved you for the summer.

Getty Images/iStockphoto

Karl Henry for Weekend Mag/Health&Living Pix Ronan Lang/Feature File

Karl Henry for Weekend Mag/Health&Living Pix Ronan Lang/Feature File

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A new improved you for the summer.

Fitness expert Karl Henry shares his exclusive four-week fitness and diet guide. In part four, he reveals the final three exercises and how to recover from hard sessions

So, welcome to the last lap of the beach body plan. Three weeks in and you should be feeling fantastic, full of energy and life and also feeling good about your body. You have put in plenty of hard work and eaten well; for the first time ever you have realised that eating healthily and regularly will actually help you lose weight and feel good.

The whole concept of starvation diets or liquid diets are bad for your body, your health and in the long-term they are bad for your weight too.

While you may lose weight in the short term, in the long term 90pc of people put the weight back on . . . and generally more!

You will have slowed down your metabolism and in some respects done your body more harm than good. If nothing else, by getting you in shape over the past few weeks, we will have shown you just how easy real weight-loss can be!

This week, I give you your final three exercises and push you a little further in your cardio sessions too. You have done great so far. But let's work really hard this week for the final push – those holidays are coming!

HOW TO RECOVER FROM A HARD SESSION

Let's first get you back out running with the most effective recovery process that you can do:

1 increase your protein intake: When you work out, you are putting your body through trauma, forcing your muscles to breaking point and producing minute muscle fibre tears. Protein is the main nutrient that helps the body to recover, so you need to increase the amount of protein that you eat in order to speed up the recovery process.

Normally you should be eating 1-1.5 grams of protein per kilo body weight but after a tough session you can increase this to two grams per kilo body weight to help the body to recover faster.

Don't forget your veg, though, as it's packed with lots of anti-oxidants and nutrients that will help too.

2 increase your water intake: After a hard session, your glycogen stores are empty and your body is full of lactic acid. You want to eliminate this as fast as possible so it makes sense to increase your fluid intake by about 500ml to help the body regulate itself faster.

Yes you may be going to the toilet a little more than normal but that won't do you any harm for a day or two as you will bounce back fitter and stronger.

3 stretch: Gentle stretching in the days after your session will help you loosen out quicker by gently returning the muscles to normal. You can use a foam roller or just stick to old-school stretches but ideally aim for a few minutes of stretching each day, working all of the major body parts, holding for 20 or 30 seconds each time.

Remember, you shouldn't be stretching your body to feel any extreme pain.

4 epsom salt baths: This is one of the more enjoyable ways to recover. Drop into your local chemist and pick up a bucket of Epsom salts. Go home and pour yourself a nice hot bath, pour in the salts and get in and soak for half an hour, letting the salts go to work and absorb into your skin, no pain involved!

Irish Independent