It’s that time of the year again where the weather is getting warmer, flowers are starting to blossom, and birds are flocking to their summer nests. While you are supposed to enjoy this marvelous period of the year, you are getting kind of anxious, because you know that this is just an overture to the troublesome process that awaits. And that is the process of shedding all those winter reserves you have stored around your belly and thighs. After all, summer is the season where all of those imperfections are most clearly seen. However, you needn’t lose sleep over this, as there is still time to get a summer body you’ll feel confident about. Let’s see how you ought to tackle this challenge.
Set your priorities straight
It is important that I make a disclaimer right from the start. As it is already March, and the summer season begins with the first days of June, it would be wise not to set your expectations too high. There is only so much a person can do over the span of three months. While you can deprive yourself of almost all foods, and eat only lettuce for 90 days, you will find this attempt to be of an unfortunate outcome, as you will most likely give up after day 4. This is by all means understandable. After all, I speak from experience when I say that extremely rigorous diets without previous preparations almost never work.
With this in mind, you should set your priorities straight and get the right mindset before you start cutting down on calories. In order to get a summer body that you will be proud of, you will need discipline and perseverance. There will be two things you need to focus during this period and those are:
- Proper diet
- Correct workouts
Maintaining a proper diet is the most important factor that will help you get a summer body
Whichever way you look at it, losing weight is all about cutting down on your calorie intake. This means that it is possible to eat only chocolate bars and popcorn and lose weight, just as long as you are in a calorie deficit. However tempting this route may seem, it is actually rather unfavorable for both your body and mind. As chocolate bars are high in calories, you will need no more than two or three to satiate your daily calorie needs. And that will leave you hungry throughout the day. Not to mention that you are by no means giving your body the nutrients that it needs to function properly.
Once you understand that, it will be easier to approach your diet. And it is important to find the diet that suits you, as that is the only way to maintain it. Some of the general rules of thumb to follow that will undoubtedly provide results include:
- Applying fasting to any diet you choose to follow. Multiple studies have shown that willful refrainment from eating for a period of time is greatly beneficial for weight loss, muscle gain, and better health overall. I suggest that you take a break from your last meal from the previous day and your first meal from the following one for 16 hours if you are a man, and 14 hours if you are a woman.
- Avoid mixing proteins and carbs in your meals. This will make it much easier for your stomach to digest the foods you are eating. So, you would eat your meats, eggs and dairy products with some salads and leafy greens.
- Drinking only water, tea, and coffee. The latter two ought to be unsweetened, and without milk, if possible. It is generally smart to avoid adding calories through drinks, as they will not make you feel full, but will only hinder your progress.
With correct workouts, you will have faster and better results
Exercise alone cannot get you the results you are striving for if you don’t have your diet in check. You can run a whole marathon and burn a whopping 2,600 calories, and still gain weight by eating 2,700 calories on the same day. Of course, these numbers are the extremes, but it is important to understand how this works. So, before you start doing the workouts to burn fat and build muscle, make sure that you are eating properly.
Doing only cardio or lifting only weights will certainly provide results, but it is by combining these two that you get the best outcome. Cardio does not necessarily help to build muscle in the way that strength training does. And the more muscle you have, the faster will your metabolism be, and the quicker will you see results. However, cardio bares a lot of importance when it comes to your health and losing those extra pounds. With all that said, I would strongly suggest that you include weight lifting to your workout routine at least two times a week. Incorporate cardio exercises after you have finished strength training, or have a separate day for them.
Extra advice when it comes to working out
Many people find it hard to maintain a workout routine as they find it boring, tedious and time-consuming. However, for a good workout, you really do not need more than 40 minutes, providing that you are really working out during all that time. So, if you find yourself having issues with motivation, and cannot seem to get yourself to the gym, try some sports. While being fun, a sports activity will burn plenty of calories without you even noticing.
I suggest that you try martial arts like Brazilian jiu-jitsu (it provides cardio and strength training all in one session), and kickbox (great for cardio, wonderful for building sculpted muscles). If these are not your cup of tea, perhaps Zumba lessons will work for you. Some people like team sports like soccer, basketball, or squash. Experiment a little, and find an activity that will be fun and keep you coming back for more.
To sum up
A controlled diet and regular and proper physical activity will undoubtedly provide results in the forthcoming months. If you do not see results right away, do not give up. Give yourself two weeks for a visible change. And if you manage to maintain this healthy way of living for a year, you will most certainly get a summer body the whole beach will envy you on for the next season.
Judith O’Connor is a freelance author and an aspiring trainer. In her writing, she focuses on giving advice to people who are striving towards getting in shape. She hopes that her knowledge will soon transfer to helping clients through in-person sessions.