Let’s face it: summer is coming. With warmer temperatures, swimsuits on sale and vacations looming, here are this Hollywood trainer’s time-tested tips for putting the “wow!” factor back in your bod for summer 2017.
- Use technology to your benefit.
Instead of simply using Instagram and Facebook to post photos of the tropical vacation location you’ve been drooling over, start digging the apps that can help you move closer to your health and wellness goals. There are plenty of free apps to help you get focused and stay on track. Lifesum, for instance, lets you set long-term weight goals, and tracks your daily calorie intake (and macronutrient breakdown), your water intake, and your daily exercise (and calories burned) without spending a dime. Not having a Fitbit is no longer a valid excuse.
- Try fasting once a week.
Excess calories lead to excess weight, right? But if you’re like a lot of people, indulging in a summery cocktail or Taco Tuesday once a week is a social and delicious part of being human. If you aren’t quite ready to go cold turkey, try fasting once a week. For example, if you had a little to much to eat on Saturday and Sunday, try limiting your caloric intake on Monday by fasting for all or part of the day. Or, try doing only veggie juices for all or part of the day (stay away from just fruit juice, which is very high in sugar and low in fiber). Giving your digestive system a little R&R will help you start the week back on track (just don’t blow it on Monday night!).
- Give walking and leisurely cardio a chance.
Don’t have time or money for the gym today? Don’t underestimate the power of getting in a walk, a hike, or a slippy-sock shakedown to your favorite new album in your living room. Some “all-or-nothing” personality types become convinced that these “fun” workouts offer no benefits to the body, and that’s simply not true. Get moving however you can for at least half an hour. It’s like your savings account; saving $10 may not seem like much of an investment, but it’s still better than saving $0 (and interest over time does add up!).
- Use your weights (as more than paperweights).
Stop thinking harsh calorie restriction is your friend and pick up your weights. If you just diet, you will lose weight, but you will end up losing muscle. In order to lose fat and gain (or at least maintain) muscle, you have to incorporate resistance training. If your goal is to look skinny-fat, skip leg day. Otherwise, pick up the weights.
- Drink like a fish
Drinking water will flush out fat, make your skin glow like a baby’s, and detoxify your liver. Many times, we mistake thirst for hunger when we really just need a glass of water. Go watch “Planet Earth” and realize that water is seriously cool (and makes up most of the planet and your body), and track your daily intake. Drinking up now will have you looking great when you hit the water at the ocean or pool later.
- Opt for fresh, local, and in-season real food.
Warmer weather has everyone wearing less and feeling a little more energized to get active. Listen to those same vibes when you eat. Lighter, fresher fare will make you feel light and fresh as well, so try filling your plate with fresh (or lightly steamed) local veggies, lean proteins, and food that is in-season. Check out your local farmer’s market and actually have a conversation with some of the farmers, who can tell you what’s delicious right now, as well as how to prepare it. Think less processed sugar and salt and more real food. Also, be real about what works for your body and what you need to avoid. Personalized nutrition and DNA tests are becoming the hot new thing, but chances are you know whether or not your body handles certain foods well. I know sugar and dairy just don’t jive with my system, so I stay away for the most part. A bit of old-fashioned common sense will go a long way toward getting you back in your daisy dukes.
- Indulge in bed, not booze.
If you’re feeling lackadaisical or burned out, sneak in some extra Zs rather than some extra drinks. Enjoy your social time, but instead of staying until last call (and downing three extra beers), duck out a few hours early and hit the hay. Cravings are always better the next morning, and you’ll make better decisions when you’re more rested.
- Soak up a little sun.
Gone are the days of slathering on oil and laying out for hours on end, but don’t forget that you need some vitamin D for basic functions within your body to work optimally. The sun is the most efficient source of this important vitamin, and many of us barely see the sun, thanks to longer, indoor working hours. Try spending 20 minutes a day outside. The tan will make you appear slimmer (fact), you will sleep better, and you will feel a little happier. Winner winner, outside dinner!
- Join a local challenge.
It baffles me that so many people avoid local health and wellness challenges—many of which are included in your gym membership at no additional cost. Local challenges, where you complete a set number of workouts in a month or partner up for accountability, aren’t created by evil trainers who want to laugh maniacally at you after you leave the gym. In fact, if you do more classes for the same price, you save on the per-class amount. On top of that, you will meet other cool people who will encourage you to adapt positive new habits. This is a no-brainer. Stop whining and sign up.
- Host get-togethers that aren’t food-centric.
As much as we all love eating, there are other fun ways to spend time together. Instead of centering your hangouts around food, try centering the time you share with loved ones around fun, new activities, like hiking, dancing, crafting, gardening, finding cool seashells along the beach—get creative! Not only will your waistline thank you, but you’ll also find out interesting tidbits about your friends and families (like the fact that Grammy was the number one table tennis player in her all-girls’ high school).
Go forth and conquer; summer is coming!
Chelsea Vincent has been teaching fitness for almost ten years. Prior to teaching, she had 15 years of formal dance training. Chelsea has a BFA from Carnegie Mellon University and is a certified power yoga instructor, spinning instructor, barre instructor, and weightlifting Instructor, as well as an ACE-certified personal trainer and wellness specialist.