Summer is here and although the season stands for all things fun, colorful and vibrant, for some of us, the mere thought of summer brings great anxiety and discomfort because of all the picnics, beach parties and pool parties that have been etched into our social calendar. Yikes! Less clothes! We have to get summertime fine! We’re not ready! Here is a list to help you get to where you want to be…this summer, next summer or in five or ten summers!
- Drink Less. Your social calendar is filled with barbecues and summer parties, which equal food + drink. Think of all the empty calories you’d be saving yourself, if you just said no to that extra cocktail. Those calories can be “wasted” on more delicious stuff. Like banana bread pudding topped with pecans and chocolate and caramel drizzle.
- Speaking of drinking – Drink More Water. Staying hydrated is super important, especially in the summer. Water helps maintain balance of body fluids, helps control calories and keeps your skin looking great! Make your water more appealing by combining fruits in a jar/pitcher and letting them sit for a day. Examples of combinations: orange and blueberry, cucumber and mint, kiwi and cucumber and strawberry, lemon and basil.
- Weights. Women, pick up a dumbbell. Pick up several. Pick up a heavy dumbbell. You won’t bulk. I repeat: YOU WON’T BULK! You want a summer body you can show off? I suggest the next time you exercise, you grab a pair of dumbbells that challenge you. Which rules out the 2lb dumbbells. Seriously.
- Interval Training. Busy schedules (or restless minds) call for short, intense exercise sessions, which burn calories like crazy (my heart rate monitor is valid proof). Think short bursts of exercises that would make you want to flip out on everybody (example- sprints, burpees and running up stairs), followed by rest periods. Repeat multiple times!
- Love Yourself & Get Comfortable. Deciding to make a change means you love yourself enough to realize you need to let go of and/or develop certain habits. Get comfortable with the body you have now – it’ll fuel the journey towards the body you could potentially have.
- Tag A Friend. Accountability partners are so needed! Report when you’ve dipped in the cookie jar one time too many. Tell him/her how much you hate ab work. Get guidance/advice/reprimanding. Laugh about the silly things. Plan your workouts. Cheer each other on, and celebrate the little victories.
- A Moment on the Lips… Summer bodies are made in the kitchen. Eat the right foods! Even foods that are the same calorie content are processed differently in the body. So just because that over-processed snack has the same number of calories as that bowl of greek yogurt with almonds and strawberries, does not mean you should make that choice. The summer body will be a pipe dream for as long as you consistently make bad eating choices. #thatsimple
- Group Classes & Outdoor Activities: It’s very easy to get bored and lose motivation (especially as the summer-body-program requires consistency and dedication. Switch your work outs up by taking group classes (spinning, yoga, body pump, body works), where if you’re anything like me, you scout the most fit person, and try to best them! Ha! Also, participating in outdoor activities (like hiking, playing ball) feels less like exercise and more like fun. A friend of mine just went kayaking over the weekend with friends – he kayaked for FIVE MILES! Not only did he have a great time socializing, he was burning calories doing so. His arms and abs must hate him.
- Compound exercises. These are exercises that combine/concentrate on more than one muscle group/body part. Think of them as a one-stop shop. The great thing is, there exist a gazillion different workout combos that are effective and creative! Some of my personal favorites: Burpees and shoulder presses/bicep curls; jump squats and weighted punches; plank rows and push-ups, and, lunges and lateral raises.
- Start NOW. What are you waiting for? Yes, summer bodies are made in the winter, but since we missed that memo… Let’s just say that summer lasts for three months, and a lot of significant changes can happen. Don’t say you weren’t warned!
Didi A is a fitness enthusiast and blogger over at Muffin Tops and Love Handles. She enjoys grocery shopping, creating unusual dishes, picking up heavy objects and devising ways in which she can have all her cake…and eat it too. Follow Didi on Instagram at @Rexie_A