It’s that time of year again – beach body envy season, right? Wrong!!! Its time to stop making excuses of why you have an extra winter layer of padding, and why more expensive designer bathing suits do not fix the problem. Get off the couch, and move your ass into gear, while shedding off some of the winter pounds. Here are five easy steps to help for the summer season.
1) Set a goal & stick with it – Start by being honest with yourself. First, what are realistic goals? (Hint: losing thirty pounds in a month and thinking you’re going to run every day when you’ve never run before are not realistic goals.) Keeping in mind that healthy weight loss is about a pound a week, taking into consideration your habits – both good and bad – and the demands of your schedule, set goals that are attainable for you and your lifestyle. Second, make yourself accountable for those goals. Invite a friend to join you so you can keep each other on track. Post your progress on social media so others can follow your success. Ditch the “I don’t have enough time” excuse. If you have enough time to watch TV at night, you have enough time to work out. Physical activity should be a major priority, so if necessary, put it in your calendar and follow through with your commitment.
2) Think before you drink – Basically, just drink more water! Really try to pay attention to the ingredients and content of what you are drinking if it not water. This is were calories sneak up on you, and can set back your healthy goals. 430 calories for a Starbucks blended drink, or two glasses of wine or beer at dinner. Those are unneeded calories that you body directly converts to fat. Sugar from fruit juice, Gatorade, sodas, are all dangerous territories. Safe areas are unsweetened herbal teas, black coffee, and of course the king of drinks: water. You should be getting at least 8 glasses of water a day – doing so will boost your metabolism and energy levels, help your body flush out toxins, keep your joints working, keep your organs healthy, keep your skin supple, and generally just help you function better.
3) Change it up – in a workout rut? Been working out for a while and stopped seeing results? Our bodies get used to the fitness routines we fall into and we stop seeing results (once your body is accustomed to your routine, it doesn’t burn up as much energy doing it so we stagnate). You should aim to switch up your workout about every four weeks. If you run, change your route to add hills or sprints. If you use cardio machines at the gym, change them up every once in a while. Switch from the elliptical to a stationary bike, try out new classes offered at your gym, and add new strength training moves to your weight routine. The more you keep it interesting, the more motivated you’ll stay and the quicker you’ll get in shape!
4) Cut out sugar & carbohydrates – Both of these substances are villainous when it comes to weight loss. Both create spikes in your insulin levels , and when your body cannot process the excess of glucose you are putting into it from things like breads, sweets, sugary drinks, and processed snacks, it automatically stores the surplus as fat. Pay attention to your ingredients labels (food makers sneak a lot in there that would surprise you!) Stick to tons of fruits and veggies and lean meats and, without altering much else in your life, you’ll see speedy results.
5) Combine cardio and strength training – Along the same lines of changing up your workout routine every month or so, keep it interesting from workout to workout as well. By engaging in interval training and switching from cardio to weights and back again, you’ll get a better total body workout in less time. Switching from one muscle group to another torches calories and keeps your heart rate elevated, so do squats and shoulder presses simultaneously, then jump on the treadmill for ten minutes, then switch back to working different muscle groups simultaneously and so on. Also make sure to add bursts of difficulty to your cardio (try box jumps, stair runs, or adding sprints or hills). Removing any monotony from your workout will make it go by quicker and help you get fit faster.
There’s no magic trick when it comes to getting in shape and losing weight for the summer. It takes dedication and diligence. But, with the right motivation and devotion to reaching your (realistic) goals, you can be basking proudly poolside come summer!