Routines To Get Your Body Ready For Summer

By Janey Dike on February 27, 2014

Courtesy of flickr.com

It’s easy to let your healthy diet and workout routines slide to the back-burner during the cold, winter months. With most of the holidays centered around eating (including grandma forcing you to eat thirds) and sweatpants, wool socks and puffy coats covering our bodies, it can be hard to remember a time when you could actually see more of your skin than just your face and hands.

It isn’t uncommon to hear about diet or workout routines that come out in May, promising people beach bodies with quick and easy methods after long months of hibernation. But these workout/dieting routines usually just simply don’t work or they encourage people to follow unhealthy guidelines that end up causing more destruction than good. One way to avoid falling into these routines is to plan ahead and start working on health and fitness months before you begin to shed your layers. Here are some tips to get started early on gradual diet and workout routines that will leave you confident and healthy by the time you are ready to soak up the summer sun.

Set Up Reasonable Goals

This is an important first step to give you clarity and focus in what you actually want to achieve. Make sure you give yourself enough time to get used to a routine and complete a personal goal that will be healthy improvement. Some ideas for goals include: Eating more nutritiously by eliminating certain types of food (such as cutting down on processed munchies), losing 10 pounds and keeping it off, gaining 10 pounds of muscle, or just working out more often to improve stamina, heart health or strength (maybe for summer activities like swimming and beach volleyball).

Find Motivation

One of the hardest parts of changing your habits is keeping up the effort. It’s easy to eat healthy or go to they gym during that first week when you are excited about the changes you are going to see. But when week two or three rolls around and you are really stressed, it can be hard to keep going with your commitment. Find something to motivate you and keep you focused on your routine for the times you want to quit. Maybe it’s the fundraiser run your community holds every year that you want to participate in. Maybe it’s that super cute bathing suit you are going to buy if you meet your goal. Or maybe you just want to have that clean-eating feeling that you have whenever you filter what you consume. Whatever it is, find a strong motivator and keep that in mind while you work toward your goal.

Drink More Water

Drinking more water is always an easy and smart choice when working towards a healthier, fitter you. Water has so many benefits and can help you achieve your goal, no matter what it is. For working out, water helps to energize muscles by providing enough fluid for cells and preventing muscle fatigue. Water can also fill you up (and with no calories). Try drinking a glass of water with each meal and drinking a glass of water during the day when you start to feel hungry. If the hunger subsides, you were really only thirsty. If you are still hungry, then grab a snack.

When it Comes to Food, Make Gradual Changes

Quitting junk food or sugary sweets cold turkey rarely ever works out. Instead, make gradual changes to your everyday eating patterns. Replace refined grains with whole grains. Add a banana to your breakfast meal and some baby carrots with your lunch to increase your intake of fruits and veggies. Cut back on processed foods when you can and look for similar, yet healthier alternatives.

Try Some “Super Foods”

There are many articles with lists of foods and health benefits that they can add to your daily routine diet. Try a few out and see if you can incorporate them into your meals. For example, green tea is a popular choice because along with its soothing effects, studies show that it may stimulate the body to burn abdominal fat. Berries contain fiber which can keep you full for longer periods of time. They can also satisfy sugar cravings. Greek yogurt has more protein than other yogurts, which keeps you full and the body burns more calories digest protein than carbohydrates.

Find Exercise That You Like

If you like to run, go running. If you hate running, don’t run. There are so many different types of cardio exercise and ways to get your body moving. Find something that you will look forward to rather than dread. Some options include cycling, swimming, kick-boxing, or even classes like yoga, Zumba and spinning. Make sure to start at a level you are comfortable with. While you want to push yourself, don’t attempt anything you aren’t ready for and don’t force yourself to work harder if you know you’ve already reached your physical and mental limits. Once the activity becomes routine, you can make it more intense or do it for longer periods of time.

Don’t Forget To Build Up Muscle

Some people don’t realize that cardio isn’t the only way to burn fat. Lifting and building up muscle increases your body’s metabolism and can keep it raised even when you have finished working out. In addition, a lifting routine can tone your muscles and change the way your body looks. If you don’t have a gym, there are many ways to build muscle from home, including abdominal exercises. To see the best results, incorporate a healthy diet and cardio in with your lifting/muscle building routine.

Review Your Progress

To avoid trying to change your body or change your diet and workout routines too quickly, try to start early in order to meet your goal in a healthy and achievable way. For those looking to be in tip-top shape for the beach, begin changing you lifestyle choices now, while you still have a few months to see or feel improvement. Along the way, if you feel like your efforts have plateaued, try changing something and finding another way to make your diet and workout routine work for you.

I am a junior Broadcast Journalism major and a member of Maryland's Unbound Dance Team and the 2014 UMD Orientation Staff. I hope to one day travel and give a voice to people around the world that need the media's attention and the community's help. I love dancing, participating in service projects, talking about books, watching movies, and eating large amounts of ice cream.

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