We are well into the fourth month of the year and that can only mean one thing… bathing suit season is right around the corner. If you’re already freaking out, take a deep and remember that no body is perfect and no amount of crash dieting will ever change that. This year instead of going on a super strict calorie deficit let’s focus on creating healthy lifestyle habits that you can incorporate into each day in order to get that coveted beach body that you’ve always dreamed of.
As with pretty much everything else in life, a balanced approach to exercising is really the best way to be consistent without being too strenuous. Cardio-wise be sure to include at least one day of steady-state training (think jogging on a treadmill at the same pace for 30 minutes) and one day of HIIT (think sprint intervals for around 20 minutes) as these are both essential for fat loss and a great way to lean you out. Weight training is also equally important as it will also lead you to a nice toned and lean look. Separate your weight lifting workouts by body part each day (for example Monday is biceps/triceps, Tuesday abs, Wednesday lower body, Thursday chest/back/shoulders) and be sure to never work the same body parts two days in a row as you will end up over training that particular muscle group. You may be tempted to work your abs everyday with the hopes of getting a six pack, but that really won’t happen. Doing endless crunches or even holding plank each day will not do the trick. You really have to combine cardio with strength training in order to get there and yes, it will take time but it is possible. The best thing to do is to keep your belly pulled in whenever you workout as it will not only strengthen that area naturally, but it will also help protect your spine from injury. Always take at least five minutes to warm up with dynamic stretching prior to getting started and finish up with at least five minutes of static stretching, you may want to also add a 20 minute yoga workout to your schedule as well; it will help you work out the kinks, loosen you up and not to mention de-stress you too. Give yourself a minimum of one day off from working out each week to allow your body to rest and recover, that way the next time you do hit the gym you’ll be ready to go and will give it your all.
Now let’s talk nutrition. There is so much information out there when it comes to eating right, and there is always some “guru” popping up saying that they have found the ideal diet or secret ingredient that will make you lose weight in no time. It’s all very confusing, in fact it gives me a bit of headache just thinking about the info overload. Truthfully, the only thing that really works is whatever works best for you and your lifestyle. We’re all different, we all lead very different lives and therefore nutrition is not one size fits all; there is no one right way to nourish yourself, so just go with what you’re comfortable with. What works best for me is a plant based volumetric diet with small meals every two to three hours, meaning I consume big portions of nutrient rich food that’s not too high in calories, so lots of non-starchy veggies , lean protein, whole grains and a bit on unsaturated fats at each meal and one to two fruits each day. Maybe for you it’s different, maybe you’re more comfortable with three larger meals a day, or intermittent fasting where you only eat during a certain timeframe. If you’re not sure, try a few different options on for size and see what works best and what feels right to you, just make sure that you are eating enough each day and each meal is balanced (1200 calories is not enough for anyone, no matter what size you are or how much weight you want to lose). A good way to know if you’re eating enough is to pay attention to how you feel after you eat dinner each night; if you’re still genuinely hungry and you can’t stop thinking about food then you are not eating enough. As a general rule, try to stay away from prepackaged meals and snacks as often as possible as they are expensive and tend to have added sugar/salt/fat that you really don’t need. Although these are convenient when you’re in a pinch, try to stick to the homemade stuff whenever you can, there are plenty of recipes that you can find that are easy to prep and are delicious. Don’t forget to enjoy a treat meal each week if you choose that way it’ll give you a little something to look forward to and remember to keep hydrated.
Whether you are getting ready for a beach vacation, pool party or family get together, don’t let your diet take control over your life, remember this is your life and you are in control of it. Love the body that you have and always strive for the body that you want.
Start It, Finish It