Spring has officially sprung and the weather is getting warmer by the day. If you're a Floridian like myself, you probably have been in tank tops and shorts for weeks now, but most of the rest of the country is finally getting to enjoy some sunshine and warmer temperatures. This time of year is great because not only do we get the opportunity to do fun and exciting outdoor activities, but we can also start packing up the winter clothes and break out our Spring and summer attire! This can be a somewhat discouraging time though, and not just because some of us may be in desperate need of a tan. Often we let the hustle and bustle of the holiday season and the gloom of the winter months disrupt our fitness and nutrition regiment. Eating healthy and working out consistently typically becomes less of a priority during the winter months and by the time the warm months come along, many of us are not quite ready to strut our stuff on the beach. And then, once the summer months get rolling, we get busy with trips and parties, it can also be tough to stay on track. So if you're in need of an extra boost to get you ready for bathing suit season as well as how to stay on top of your goals this summer, here are a few helpful tips to get you going in the right direction:
1. Get Up and Get Moving: Physical activity is incredibly important, not just for heart health but it is also a great mood booster, which is needed after the dreary winter months. If you have spent the past several month sedentary, you will want to start off slow. Going for a walk is a great place to get started. Spring time is actually wonderful time of year to participate in a run/walk event like a 5k. In my blog post, "My Journey to Becoming a Marathon Mama" I offer some tips on how to get started with jogging. Not only will this cardiovascular activity help you burn calories, lose weight and feel better, completing an event like a 5k will give you something to work towards and be an accomplishment to be proud of! Running may not be for you but there are several other great activities you can engage in to get your heart rate up. Biking, swimming, tennis, basketball and Zumba are just a few great examples of things you can to help get you in shape for summer time.
2. Lift Weights: Even more so important for shaping your body than cardiovascular
exercise is strength training. Although you cannot technically "spot train," lifting weights will increase your overall lean
muscle mass, burn calories and tone your muscles to help slim and shape your body. Body weight exercises like push ups, planks, squats and lunges are a great place to get started and can be done in the comfort of your home. You will soon want to challenge yourself by increasing your work load with things like dumbbells, kettle bells, medicine balls, bands, etc. And ladies, don't be afraid to lift heavy, you will not bulk up! The best and
most effective way to strength train is to hire a fitness professional.
This way you will have a safe, progressive program designed
specifically to your abilities and goals. For more information on
hiring a fitness professional, check out my blog post on the topic.
3. Ditch the Quick Fix: Vacation time may be right around the corner and you are eager to look good in your bikini, but think twice before you jump on the latest fad. From pills to magic body wraps and juice diets to miracle cleanses, I have seen just about every quick fix around claiming to "change your body and change your life." Yes, these things may give you some instant results, but don't expect them to withstand the test of time. Many cleanses and diets are too strict to do for extended periods of time and once you are finished with them, the weight packs right back on. Also, be leery of the latest and greatest weight loss products sold on the shelves or by people claiming to be experts. Often these are simply fads that will not get you permanent results, sold to you by people with little to no knowledge of nutrition and fitness.. The only way to get true, lasting results is through healthy nutrition and regular physical activity. You have to make a commitment to a healthy lifestyle, otherwise you will be constantly looking for the next quick fix and be disappointed yet again when the results do not last.
4. How To Eat Clean At Spring/Summer Gatherings: From Cinco de Mayo to Memorial Day and Independence Day to Labor day, the warmer months are great for firing up the barbeque and enjoying delicious grilled food with family and friends. Cook outs can be your friend or your foe though, so it's important to make smart choices when it comes to summer parties. Be sure to stick with lean proteins like chicken and fish, avoiding those high in fat like cheeseburgers and hot dogs. Skip the chip and snack table and opt for healthier side dishes like grilled veggies and salads with vinaigrette dressings. Cooks outs also seem to be filled with decadent summer deserts like cupcakes, pies and ice cream. Chose fresh fruit over these high calorie indulgences, that way you can enjoy a sweet treat with out the extra calories and fat most desserts are packed with. Making healthy choices and portion control will help keep you on track even while attending Spring and summer gatherings.
5. Your Clothes Will Measure Your Progress: When you adopt healthy eating habits, engage in cardiovascular activity and strength training regularly, you are sure to see results. The best way to measure these results though is not on the scale, but rather how you look and feel. The scale is just an arbitrary number that unless you have a large
amount of pure body mass to lose, it does not tell you the whole story in your fitness progress. The way your clothes fit, your energy level and how you feel are going to be your best tools to determine if you're reaching your wellness goals. So instead of having an amount of weight you'd like to lose, consider having a "thinspiration" outfit that you'd like to not only fit back into but feel comfortable and confident in. This way you will not be so caught up on what the scale is saying and getting discouraged if it's not moving the way you want it to. Keep in mind muscle is more dense than fat tissue so if you're building lean muscle mass, you may not lose the actual pounds you thought you would. But if your current clothes are getting loser and you're able to fit back into outfits you were previously not able to, then you're definitely making progress!
6. Don't Just Do It for the Bikini: Although it's definitely nice to look good for a particular time of the year or specific event, it's important to keep the momentum going all year round.. More importantly than how you look, is how you feel. When you commit to a healthy lifestyle, an added bonus will be looking better, but above all else, you will feel better and have more energy! So yes with bathing suit season right around the corner, you may be currently focused on shedding some pounds and toning up for the summer, your hard work should not end there. Commit to eating clean and working out all year long for a healthier happier you!
The certified and professional coaches at CWSC Performance can help you reach your fitness goals. Visit us on the web at www.CWSCPerformance.com for more information about our training services, class times and prices. Also be sure to like us on Facebook for upcoming events and promotion.