Spring is here and along with warmer weather and flowers blooming, I see an onsalught of commercials and social media posts all focusing on weight loss in preparation of summer. It’s a silly marketing ploy that so many fall prey to, you know, “bikini season” and “summer ready body” kind of stuff.
It makes me sad because as you know if you’ve read my blog for any period of time to me fitness is a life-long pursuit to be practiced daily, in moderation, so that life can be lived to it’s fullest. I also strongly advocate that we ALL realize and accept that every BODY is different and what is a sign of beauty or sex appeal today is likely the antithesis of tomorrow, not to mention not everyone’s taste.
So for those of you getting sucked in to the taunting that your summer life just wont be satisfying unless you transform your body right now, I offer these gentle reminders to love yourself, not give up or give in, but be smart about how you prepare for summer.
DO NOT DIET
Dieting simply doesn’t work and it’s a waste of your time and money. Stop eating strange concoctions or restricting calories or fats or sugars. You have probably learned by now that the body fat simply returns once your old way of eating is resumed. Instead, eat 6 small meals every day, composed of healthy lean protein, veggies, fruits, grains, and fats, allow yourself a day or two of higher caloric meals or drinks and remember daily that you love your body and care about what you put inside of it.
VARIETY IS KEY
For those of you who do not love time spent in a gym or in front of a video or class – just remember that an hour here and an hour there WILL make a huge difference, and if you keep your workouts reasonably intense while maintaining a variety of styles, you will see results which in turn will stop making it seem like such drudgery. The key is to keep boredom at bay while maintaining progress. Start by working out 2-3 times a week with weights (ideally with a plan created by a trainer like me), each workout being different from the last. Then add in some fun outdoor activities on the weekends, maybe a dance or body pump class with a friend in the evenings, and/or a DVD at home once in a while. Variety will keep you entertained, and as you see results you will need far less convincing to stay diligent.
REMEMBER TO REST AND SLEEP
Taking a day every 4-5 days to allow your muscles and cardio system to rest is hugely beneficial to your metabolic system becoming more efficient and thereby burning more fat. Sleep, likewise, is essential to the body recovering and allowing a change in composition (i.e., more lean muscle, less fat) to occur within (which then shows up on the outside). So tweak your schedule and make sure you’re getting 7-8 hours of sleep a night. Your body will thank you.
STOP STRESSFUL THINKING
Clearly stress is not good in any areas of your life, but it’s especially hard on the body. While you may not be able to reduce the stress of your circumstances, you can reduce the stress you place on your body when you fret over your physical condition. Negative thoughts about your body, and beating yourself up for being “fat” or “out of shape” will not help your body relax and embrace the change you seek to make. Emotional stress will also force your body to hold on to fat as fat is an insulator and protector of organs, and has hormonal properties which are ignited when under stress. So lighten up your thought process and your body may just lighten up as well.
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Now get ready to enjoy the warmer weather and the summer vacations, and by following my advice you’ll hopefully be in better shape AND happier at the same time.
The month of May is three days away and there’s something about that month every year that triggers people into frantic action to get into bathing suit shape. Perhaps it’s because Memorial Day marks the beginning of summer to so many of us, but sadly 30-days is not enough for most people to achieve their fitness goals. In fact, the biggest road block to fitness success is unrealistic goals. It took you more than 30-days to get out of shape, and the hard truth is that it takes twice as long to get that fat off or tone up unused muscles.
With that said, here’s a few tips that can help tremendously in improving your physical state and appearance in the next month:
Stop drinking sodas, smoothies, and even alcohol! This significantly lowers your sugars which will stop your body from conversion and storage into fat. (Don’t panic about the alcohol, we’re just talking about one month here!)
Reduce and/or watch your sodium (salt) intake. Salty snack foods, frozen, canned and overly processed foods are very high in sodium and this causes water retention and bloat.
Start the day with a large glass of water – this jump starts the metabolism and then keep water flowing throughout the day to flush out toxins, and simultaneously allow a slight feeling of being full which will keep you from over-eating.
Eat five to six small meals/snacks all day, being sure to stop once you’re in that evening sedentary mode (no noshing while watching TV).
DO NOT avoid carbs! DO avoid processed carbs!
Perform 30-minutes of medium-high intensity cardio 3-5 times a week, along with 30-minutes of total-body high intensity resistance training.
Honestly, if you make and follow these few changes to your nutrition and daily routines between now and Memorial Day, you will see a difference in your body. If you commit NOW to consistent hard work and sustain it past May 31st, you can be outrageously fit and swim suit gorgeous by mid-summer for sure.