As we collectively shed our winter clothes and move into the hotter months, some realizations might be hitting you like a tonne of bricks - Swimsuits. Shorts. Crop tops. Lots and lots of beach days. While getting fit for the summer might be your goal if you clicked on the article, it’s important to note that fitness isn’t just about dieting and getting a flat belly; it’s also about getting stronger and being comfortable in the skin you’re in. With that in mind, keep on reading for our guide to a great summer body.
1. Set a goal that’s beyond weight
Being hung up about the what’s on the scale is a sure fire way to feel bad about yourself, so make sure you don’t focus too hard on the numbers. Two people who are 55 kilograms, for example, could have drastically different fitness level, so don’t make the mistake of assuming that heavier = bad. According to The New York Times, “Fat takes up about four times the space of muscle tissue, for example, so it is quite possible to look and feel fatter even if your height and weight remain the same.” Instead, exercise to feel better about yourself regardless of what the number might be.
2. Don’t just do cardio
Naturally, every nutritionist and fitness trainer could harp on about the benefits of cardio for hours. They’re nothing to sneeze at, either—cardio can improve your heart health, metabolism, recovery ability and even prevent diabetes, according to bodybuilding.com. But make sure you’re incorporating strength training of some kind into your routine, too.
“Strength training can help increase your metabolism by speeding up your Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR). This is because it takes your body more calories to maintain muscle than it does to maintain fat. Estimates are that for every 1 lb of muscle you gain, your RMR goes up 30-50 calories,” Staci Anderson writes for nerdfitness.com.
Plus, strong core muscles and legs help make cardio easier, too—it’s a classic virtuous cycle.
3. Keep a food journal
Writing down everything you eat not only keeps you accountable for the food you eat, but also allows you to look back on how your food makes you feel. Did that quinoa make you feel full for a longer time than white rice did? What did that chocolate cake do to your digestion? Registered dietitian Rosis Schwartz gives her take on food journals to bestfoodmag.ca:
“Tracking your food choices -food, time and amount-each day as you are about to eat is a proven strategy for success. Not only does keeping a food journal make you think before you eat, it allows you to evaluate difficulties when they arise. For example, did skipping snacks lead to a night of nibbling?,” she explains.
4. To begin, begin
One thing that all fit people have in common, regardless of how they exercise, is their ability to walk out of the door and work out. Even a brisk walk every day brings you closer to your summer goal. Check out some of Friday’s tips on fitness in our Health section for a head-start. Good luck!