When it comes to losing weight nutrition is 80 percent of the game. But the other 20 percent is anything but optional if you want a perfect beach body this summer. Fitness will play a huge role in ensuring you’re happy with the way you look in a swimsuit.
Time is of the essence with Memorial Day, the unofficial start of summer, right around the corner. However, it is still important to start shedding your winter weight slowly by gradually ramping up workouts. This will give you the best chance to succeed and meet your weight loss goals.
Conversely, you can be more aggressive out of the gate when it comes to nutrition. With a few tweaks to your diet you will begin noticing an improved figure relatively quickly.
With that in mind, here are nine tips to start slimming down and toning up for the beach.
Keep a food journal: Accountability is going to be key here because you’re working on an accelerated schedule. It is important that you track everything you eat and drink each day. Make sure you’re within your limits and be sure to keep and extra close eye on fat and sugar.
Cut back on carbs: Oprah was almost brought to tears professing her love of bread. Although you may have laughed at the overly dramatic commercial, millions can attest that carb cravings are no joke. So you’re going to have to really fight to cut back on them. When you do indulge, look for lower sodium options to avoid bloating. Feeling puffy in a swimsuit isn’t the most comfortable thing in the world.
Cut back on alcohol: Beer and wine are loaded with sugar, carbs and calories; each keeping you from looking your summer best. Hard liquor can be a slightly better option when taken straight, but avoid the trap of mixed drinks that often contain as much sugar as soda. If you’re going to indulge, try limiting yourself to one drink per week.
Cut back on sugar: This is a tough one because sugar is in almost everything these days. In the U.S. we eat more sugar than anywhere else in the world. So, you’re going to have to really scrutinize nutrition and ingredients labels while you slim down for summer. One of the best places to start by cutting out soda and juice from your diet altogether.
Drink more water: Studies have shown that your body will burn about 30 percent more calories in the hour after you drink just half a liter of water. The colder the water is the better results you will see. In addition, dehydration negatively affects the body’s ability to burn fat so it’s important to have plenty of H2O on hand. A good rule of thumb is to drink half your weight in ounces each day. So, if you weigh 150 pounds you would drink 75 ounces of water.
Eat small meals frequently: By switching from three big meals a day to five smaller meals you’ll be doing your body good. Eating frequently can help keep your metabolism up and increase your body’s fat burning ability. Limit your snacks to 200 calories or less and make sure you eat every two to three hours and you’ll be good to go.
Stand tall and have good posture: Having good posture improves core strength and is a great place to start working on your abdominal area. When you walk on to the beach make sure you’re standing tall and you’ll automatically look thinner because the stomach area is being stretched. When you’re sitting, check your posture every 15 minutes or so. Make sure your shoulders are back and stomach muscles are tight. Swapping out your regular office chair for a stability ball could also be greatly beneficial.
Cardio: It’s important that you not bite off too much at the start. However, you are going to have to push yourself because the clock is quickly ticking down to the start of beach season. You’re eventually going to want to do 45-60 minutes of aerobic exercise four or five times a week. Whether it’s jogging, biking, or swimming you need to get you heart rate up to burn maximum calories. When you’re at the office try walking the stairs for five minutes a couple of times a day.
Tone: If you’re not a meathead who wants to spend hours in the gym this isn’t going to be a problem. One of the easiest ways to tone up is to do 10 sit-ups and pushups every time you use the restroom. It sounds a little funny, but it won’t take a lot of time out of your busy schedule. And if you’re drinking as much water as recommended you’ll be putting in plenty of work. You can also try using resistance bands and free weights at home. For toning, lighter weight plus more repetitions is the equation for success.