By Carrie Morgan CPT, CFNC
Does the thought of donning a bathing suit frighten you? The warm temperatures of late are a reminder that summer is just around the corner. With warmer temps it’s time to trade those sweaters and boots for something a little more revealing.
I don’t normally recommend working out for the sheer sake of vanity because there are so many other benefits. However, the reflection in the mirror is a powerful motivator. It can also be an equally powerful discouragement. I personally know so many women who would rather sweat their way through summer wearing long sleeves and long jeans poolside in triple digit temps just because they feel too embarrassed to wear shorts or a sleeveless sundress, much less a bathing suit poolside. This is sad to me. You are worthy enough to be comfortable in clothing that is climate-appropriate!
Exercising as little as 3 days a week will make you discover muscles and tone that you have long forgotten. Combine that with a proper nutrition protocol and you’ll be rewarded with tone muscles and renewed confidence—enough to wear a tank top, shorts, or even a bikini on a hot summer day at the beach! Follow these three simple steps to help you to achieve your beach body:
- Increase the Intensity
The biggest mistake people make with their exercise routines is not having a high enough intensity level… yes, that goes for you on the recumbent bike reading The Enquirer. If you truly want the results, it’s going to take sweat equity. You can’t just wish yourself into a better body.
Commit to pushing yourself…
- one mile further on your run
- two more reps beyond where you think you can’t do another
- an extra set of legs, arms, or abs during your resistance training
- an extra rotation through a circuit
- to run a faster sprint when your coach tells you you’re doing line sprints… again
- to increase the weight on your resistance training
- an extra day each week of exercise
- to try new and harder exercises that use multiple body parts at the same time
- Veggies are Your Friend
Most Americans average only a meager 1-2 serving of vegetables per day when they should be consuming between 5-9 servings. Well, that sure explains the obesity epidemic we have on our hands! Vegetables are low in calories and dense in nutrition, and when eaten with lean protein, they make a perfectly balanced meal. It’s nearly impossible to over eat vegetables due to their high fiber content making you full long before you could ever over consume. Try to add veggies to every meal and snack to help inch your way to your beach body. All it takes is a little pre-planning and you’ll be on your way to a veggie-packed meal plan.
- Switching out grains for an extra serving of vegetables not only knocks the calories down to about a quarter of the original side dish, it will boost the vitamin and anti-oxidant content as well. So skip the rice and sub a sweet potato with a side of spinach or broccoli.
- Grill, roast, or steam your veggies for the week all at once. Then, portion them out into food storage bags for quick grab-n-go snacks or side dishes.
- Visualize a rainbow of color. Different colors in veggies represent different nutrient content. Deep leafy greens are the ones usually left off the menu but usually contain most of the benefit so try to include those in almost every meal next to a veggie of a different color like a vibrant red or orange.
- Get out of the “carrots & celery” rut. There are lots of other crunchy vegetables out there that are just as convenient to carry but even more nutritious. Colorful mini sweet peppers pair great with hummus- no chopping or peeling required.
- Skip the Sugar
Refined grains and sugars can be the biggest beach body killer. Just like sodium, sugar causes the tissues in your body to retain water. So not only are you adding empty calories which will ultimately pack on the fat, but you’re ruining any chance of showcasing your toned muscles because of bloating. Don’t be fooled into thinking you don’t have to be a sweet-eater to have a diet full of sugar. Refined grains like tortillas, breads, and cereals are easily converted in the body into sugar molecules. Even the “healthier” versions of these foods are high in calories making it more difficult to lean out. Additionally, hidden sugars can contribute to a large amount of daily calories, so read labels carefully especially on store-bought items like tomato sauce, ketchup, and yogurt. Opt for items with minimal ingredients and no added sugar or sweeteners. Finally, avoid alcohol and sugary drinks like juice and soda.
A beach body is possible, but it will come at a cost. After all, if it were easy, everyone would already have a beach-ready bod. But, others have done it, so why can’t you? Commit to those three simple steps and you’ll achieve your beach body too!