Spring is fading fast and, believe it or not, summer is nearly upon us.
One of the questions I hear all the time at the gym, during book-signings, seminars, workshops or conferences is, "How can I get ready for summer?"
People are always surprised when I tell them things like "eat meat and potatoes" or "set your alarm," but as you'll soon see, getting in summer shape takes a lot more than just going to the gym or undergoing weight loss programs these days:
Tip # 1 - Beware the Bloat: We often fall back on fad diets or "urban dieting myths" as summer season approaches, but often the "salad and veggies" routine - known as fibrous carbs - can result in unsightly bloating that is actually the opposite of what you're looking to achieve the desired weight loss outcome. If summer is right around the corner, eat enough vegetables to stay healthy but gradually shift toward less fibrous, more protein-centric meals like meat and potatoes - yes, I said it! - to avoid bloating while wearing that bikini or bathing suit!
Tip # 2 - Spot Check: The closer summer gets the more time we spend at the gym, starving ourselves or doing whacky things like drinking less water and eating more fiber. When we try to fix everything overnight, we can often end up doing more harm than good. Instead, take a good look in the mirror and be realistic about what you can fix in the time you have left before summer. Maybe your biggest sore spot is your flabby arms; focus on them for a few weeks by doing twice as many bicep curls per workout and at least you can rest assured you'll have the best arms you can possibly have come that July 4th picnic. Maybe your arms and legs are fine but you're feeling a little soft around the belly; no amount of sit-ups or crunches will help if nobody can see them! Cut back on your carbs, your sweets, your sugar and your snacks for a few weeks and bulk up on your cardio (one of the best weight loss programs) for quick weight loss that will help alleviate a cushy belly. Remember, it's better to fix one or two things realistically than try to get that "perfect" body overnight or instantly - and end up fixing nothing in the process.
Tip # 3 - Rest Easy: As summer nears the last thing on your mind might be more rest, but in fact sleep is the body's ultimate summer preparation device. The more you do weight loss exercises and diet to prepare for "bikini season," the more rest and repair time your body needs to build muscle out of fat and readjust to an altered diet. To go to sleep sooner at night, avoid drinking caffeine (or eating chocolate) after 2 or 3 in the afternoon, turn off the television an hour before bedtime and read a magazine or book and listen to relaxing nature music or smooth jazz instead. To wake up more refreshed each morning, set your alarm thirty minutes before you usually get up each day. Adding just half-an-hour to each day literally creates on extra hour every two days; just think of how much more relaxed you'll feel with all that extra time!
Tip # 4 - Mix It Up: I frequently tell my readers to "mix it up." What do I mean? Simple: don't do the same thing at the same time - for the same amount of time - and at the same intensity every single day. If you walk for half-an-hour at the same time every morning, at the same pace, your body will get used to it; it's called the Law of Adaptation and it's at the heart of why we can't lose weight or change our shapes even when we're consistent in our fat loss diet and exercise programs. In fact, it's that consistency that is often our downfall. Instead, mix it up! For instance, walk a few mornings a week but ride your bike every other day. If you're a morning person, force yourself to work out a few afternoons a week instead; you might be surprised by how this simple "trick" shifts your metabolism into overdrive. If ALL you do is one certain type of fat loss exercise, like walking or jogging, throw a little racquetball, basketball, swimming or tennis into the mix. If you're in a rut, get out of it - and soon - to make sure you break that diet plateau by summer.
Tip # 5 - Slow Down: Finally, slow down! I know that can seem the opposite of what you want to do, but looking good goes hand in hand with feeling good. Crazy diets, fad purge weight loss programs, over-exercising and under-sleeping can all create a haggard, frenzied, chaotic appearance that may help you look good in a bikini but won't help you enjoy summer one ounce more. And, in fact, the more rapid your weight loss, the more you deprive and deny yourself, the bigger the chance that you'll gain whatever quick, instant or overnight weight you lost before summer back before summer's even over. And who wants to look great in June and twice as bad by July 4th? Follow the steps in this simple fat loss program and you will both look better and feel better; the payoff is you won't look bad and feel bad the minute summer's over!
The goal with any fat loss and weight loss diet and exercise plan is to enjoy your life, not to deny yourself. Summer is no different; this is a time for outdoor activities, great good, fast friends and family fun. Don't miss out because you're obsessing over getting into a smaller size bikini or bathing suit or killing yourself trying to fit into something you wore three summers ago!
Be mindful of what you eat and how often you move, yes, but remember that the more you enjoy yourself, the more active you are and the more activities you join you will actually be eating less and moving your body more. In fact, the best way to look good for summer is to simply enjoy the summer; the details will work themselves out along the way!