Want to rock a smokin’ beach body this summer? You have to work for it. Here are TEN things you can do to create your best summer body:
1. Move heavy stuff. Whether it’s a dumbbell, a kettlebell or a medicine ball, heavier is better. For you women out there, there’s no need to worry about bulking up. Bulking is a testosterone thing and women simply don’t have enough to get scary big. But lifting heavy does stoke your metabolism, and burn more fat during and AFTER your workout. It also sculpts sexy muscles that will lift your derriere and create an enviable figure. We’re talking lats, glutes, pecs and delts.
2. Sprint. Perfrom 30 seconds all-out of any activity that makes your heart-rate soar, or do some HIIT (high intensity interval training) which can be 2-4 minutes in duration followed by a shorter rest period. Both sprinting and HIIT provide myriad benefits including:
- Power—sprinting increases the ability of the muscle to contract and move your body or an external weight.
- Fat loss—’nuff said.
- Excess post exercise oxygen consumption—or EPOC. What this means is, you’ll keep burning calories even after you stop working out.
- Sprinting is an efficient calorie burner.** Time crunch? Sprint!
**Sprinting on and off for twenty or even ten minutes versus jogging for an hour burns more calories in a shorter time. I’m seeing the term chronic cardio more and more these days in reference to long duration treadmilling and other steady-paced cadio activities that last thirty minutes or more. The takeaway from chronic cardio is increased appetite and fatigue, and lowered immunity. The effects of chronic cardio simply cannot compete with the benefits (one of the biggest benefits being FAT loss) gained from sprinting or HIIT exercises.
3. Sleep. Studies show that a good night’s sleep can boost your fitness efforts while conversely, a bad night’s sleep or insufficient sleep can actually cause weight gain through hormonal fluctuations, not to mention the increased appetite you find you have from simply trying to stay awake. Sleep makes you beautiful. They don’t call it beauty sleep for nothing. Go and get you some.
4. Get tan—old school style. And yes, my dark-skinned sisters, we’re already “tan” but we need the sun too. Twenty minutes of UV rays a day during peak hours—sans sunscreen—is GOOD for you. Sun exposure is needed for our bodies to produce Vitamin D, an important vitamin that has been shown to reduce risk of diseases including hypertension, MS, and osteoporosis and even mitigate memory loss. Other research shows that a little sun exposure can help you prevent skin cancer. That’s right. I said prevent. While getting out into the sun won’t improve your six pack, a little bit of color gives your skin a healthy glow and healthy looks SEXY. More than twenty minutes in the sun and you need to seek shade or a zinc or titanium-based sunscreen.
5. Eat your fat—just make sure it’s the right kind. Coconut oil, avocados, extra virgin olive oil and organic butter will help your skin look dewy and smooth from the inside out. Vegetable oils on the other hand—canola, corn, safflower and sunflower—can cause breakouts, especially if they’re used to fry the foods you’re eating. Be attentive when eating out. It’s okay to ask the waiter what exactly you’re eating. And don’t be fooled by restaurant-made oil and vinegar. I’ve seen soybean oil in place of olive oil more times than I can count. Remember: it’s your body. No one’s going to take as good care of it as you. Right? Right.
6. Hydrate. Good old H2O. Get it while it’s still relatively cheap. Have a tall glass before you eat to sate you so you don’t wind up stuffing your face (remember, diet is the key to sculpted abs). Calories DO count, so swapping juice for water is a no-no unless you want to get fat. Same goes for sodas, including the diet varieties. If you give up one thing this summer, let it be any non-water beverage. (Coffee and tea are okay in moderation.) If you’re exercising—and you are—or spending more time in the sun, or eating a high-protein diet, you will need even more. So sip some aqua throughout the day and don’t forget to toast to your health.
7. Recover. Muscles and strength build your workout. Don’t run yourself into the ground, get sick and have to take weeks off. Instead, take a day or two off every week and watch your body transform in wonderful ways.
8. Salad up. Summer is a wonderful time to put together big, satisfying healthy salads that will fill you but not fatten you. Lettuce, grilled chicken, peppers, avocado, slivered almonds, onions, berries, quinoa and a couple tablespoons of homemade vinaigrette will satisfy you for hours. Have you heard the term Volumetrics? It’s a simple concept that works: Add bulk to your diet without adding a whole lot of extra calories and your body will fill up for longer, simply from the increased food VOLUME. Try it and see. Then swap recipes with fellow boot campers and kettlebellers and watch each other’s waistlines shrink.
9. Get your mind right. Instead of focusing on the weight you still have to lose, focus on the strength, speed and power you’ve gained. Instead of wondering why your stomach still pooches, admire the leanness and great toned lines of your calves and thighs, and show them off. You deserve to celebrate all your hard work. Love your curves and approach your fitness goals from a loving, positive place.
10. Play! How many grown-ups actually get up off their rear ends and dive into the water? How many toss around a Frisbee or ball on the beach? Fewer and fewer from what I’ve seen. Pool and beach time can be active fun that gets you smiling with friends and family, like you used to when you were a kid. After a rollicking good time riding waves or practicing underwater handstands, catch a few rays, a few winks and catch up on a good book.
Put these tips into practice and you can bet someone will be watching you this summer with envious eyes, thinking, “That bitch. I wish I looked like that.”