I guess truthfully this title should be “Ways to get your body healthier for the whole year”. But, summer is approaching at record speed and the truth is most of us aren’t ready to shed the clothes and hop into a bathing suit. Health and fitness is definitely a lifestyle change that lasts 12 months a year. But what do you do if you aren’t ready for pool time in front of actual people! If you’re sweating out those days coming up, check out these 8 quick ways to get your body ready for summer!
Now, don’t go nuts. If you’ve got 100 pounds to lose, it won’t happen in a few weeks. But don’t let the number detour your summer body plans. If you’ve got 100 to lose and you lose 10 or even 20, that’s a huge deal. Weight loss is best broken down into small goals.
You don’t wake up one day and decide to run the Boston Marathon. I can barely run to my neighbor’s house because I suck at running. But if I want to start, I’ll go slow and any improvement will be a win and a step in the right direction. Same with getting that summer body. Several small changes make a huge difference.
And know that these are simple, inexpensive changes, but there is no magic pill. These are lifestyle changes.
8 Tips for A Great Summer Body
Drink. Water that is. And lots of it. Your body needs at least as many ounces of water as half of your weight. Example. You weigh 150 pounds. You should get a minimum of 75 ounces of water. 75 sounds like a huge number. It’s really not. Get one of those cups that shows the increments in ounces on the side and set your goal. Fill it up and start drinking.
It’s good for you, it helps you feel full longer which in turn reduces binge eating, and your skin will also thank you for it. And it’s free. Well free in a sense – you still have to pay the water bill. But 75 ounces of water is significantly cheaper than 75 ounces of coke or beer!
Yep – I know it’s almost summer. Pool days, beach trips, vacations, cookouts, late nights, and good times with friends. And if you avoid alcohol anyway, then you can pat yourself on the back and skip right over to the next one. But, if you enjoy a drink or two, or ten, just know that alcohol will hinder weight loss. No way around it. Especially large amounts.
Because what happens when we consume large amounts? You consume more carbs than you should and you tend to eat more. And not cucumbers and salads. If you’re not willing to cut back on the booze, just know your progress will be slow. There are some health benefits to minimal servings of certain kinds of alcohol, but if you are attempting to fast track some progress, it’s best to skip it.
Get out there and move. Physical activity is good for more than just weight loss. It’s good for your mental state also. I don’t know anyone that works out regularly that says how miserable they are afterward. No one. They may be sore and they may be tired, but their minds feel great.
You don’t have to join a gym or buy $100 yoga pants. Nope. If you’re completely sedentary, meaning you have no physical activity in your life, start small. A ten-minute walk to start with if you’re able. Increase your time and your pace, and don’t overdo it at first. Don’t start out with a five-mile run or an hour of cross fit. That’s how people get injured and thus halt their progress.
But just start somewhere. Commit to yourself that you will be physically active in some way for at least 30 minutes a day. Maybe a ten-minute walk, 10 minutes of ab work, and 10 minutes of cleaning (it counts!). Try new things to see what you love. Maybe eventually cross fit will be your thing, or spin class, or running – it takes trial and error, but don’t quit. Do it and your body will thank you.
Cut down on Carbs
Carbs are my best friend and enemy at the same time. I love them – show me a plate of fries, a pan of biscuits, or a piece of cake and I’m in love. But I also know how crappy I feel after I overindulge in carbs. Sluggish, unmotivated, and guilty. That’s how I feel after I eat a ton of carbs. It’s the hardest part for me of dropping pounds, but the most effective. I will take bread over veggies any day, but not if I want to see progress.
Bread, cookies, chips, cake, beer, fries, creamer – put a hold on them and you will see progress. Not easy, but necessary.
Grab some lemons on your next grocery run. Squeeze a half of a lemon into either cold or warm water and drink up first thing in the morning. This serves as a mini detox jumpstart for your body every day. Wait to eat for at least an hour afterward to give it time to do its thing. Now, I’ll admit. I hate this part. I just don’t like lemon or lemon flavored things, but it works.
Use about 6 ounces of water, pop it into the microwave for 45 seconds, and then squeeze in half a lemon. This will help to rid your body of toxins that are hindering your progress. And it’s cheap. Lemons don’t cost much and you only need a half each morning. Just add 4 lemons a week to your shopping trip for about $3 or so depending on where you live.
Increase Your Protein
Your body needs protein to feel full. Grilled chicken, fish, eggs, lean beef, even certain veggies will need to become your mealtime staples. This article provides a comprehensive list of nutrition info and what exactly you’re getting from different sources of protein. Most resources say 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of weight. To get your weight in kilograms, divide the pounds by 2.2. Then multiply that number by 0.8. Example: 150 pounds needs 54 grams of protein per day (150 pounds divided by 2.2 = 68, 68 x 0.8 = 54). So do the math and start figuring a meal plan around your protein sources.
Or an easier way to think about it is divide your weight in half. Now aim for that many grams of protein. 150 pounds – 75 grams of protein a day.
Learn to Love Veggies
Veggies will be your best friend when you need to drop some pounds quickly. They are nutrient powerhouses, you can eat large servings of veggies and not blow your calories and fat for the day, and they are in prime season now. Scope out a local farmers market and load up. Ideally, you can incorporate veggies into every meal and snack if possible.
Certain veggies like broccoli and carrots are high in fiber which adds to that “full feeling” you need to keep from grabbing that bag of chips. Add them to grilled chicken and salads. Cut up a few red and yellow peppers for a great snack – dip them into some olive oil and vinegar. Cucumbers are packed with water and have amazing nutrients and health benefits.
And if you’re just not convinced, check out this post to help you learn to love veggies even when you hate them!
Pick up the weights. You don’t want to just drop pounds and also lose muscle. Toned = good. And it’s not just good as far as appearances go. You need to focus on increasing your muscle mass. Now I don’t mean you should be as ripped as a bodybuilder. But everyone can benefit from strength training.
If you can’t or don’t want to join a gym, grab some dumbbells and also incorporate your own body weight. Nerd Fitness has one of my favorite at home strength training workouts for beginners. Just be smart. Know your limitations to avoid injury. If you need to, get a physical from the doctor first to assess how much you can do. But definitely start strength training. Muscle burns more calories than fat. Which means you want muscle!
So to sum it up – here are 8 things you need to focus on to get your summer body!
- Drink tons of water
- Limit alcohol
- Move your Body!
- Cut Carbs
- Drink lemon juice every morning
- Increase your protein
- Eat veggies
- Add strength training to your fitness routine
And one bonus tip – Sleep! Your body needs sleep. Aim for 7-8 hours each night and give your body a break!
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