Maybe this sounds crazy early, but it’s time to start thinking about my summer body. Spring is almost here, my friend – and summer is close behind.
If you’re like me, you probably feel a mix of excitement and anxiety about the upcoming swimsuit season. After all, summer is the time when we let loose and have fun – but it’s also the time when our bodies on display. And also all the Cheetos we ate over the winter.
Here in the Midwest, the winters are cold and the sweaters are large. I don’t know about you, but I’m packing a little bit of cold weather “insulation.” You, too?
Please let me be clear: This post is NOT about saying we need to be a certain size or shape to look amazing, accept ourselves or feel confident – whether at the beach, in the summer or at any other place or time. But for those who don’t feel their best and are coming from a healthy mindset of simply wanting to look and feel better… this post is for you.
If you’re not quite feeling confident about your summer body just yet, don’t worry! There are plenty of simple things one can do to get ready for the warmer months. From eating the right foods to exercising more, there are simple ways to get your body summer-ready.
I’ve got a plan to shed that winter weight and get back in shape, and I’m sharing it here.
Keep reading for 7 simple ways to get ready for summer – and get that summer body!
Table of Contents
Get Your Summer Body with Realistic Goals
Starting a health journey can be overwhelming. There are so many things to think about that it can be hard to know where to begin.
But one of the most important things you can do is to look at your starting point and finish line and set realistic goals.
Why? Because when it comes to weight loss and fitness, there is no one-size-fits-all approach. What works for your neighbor might not work for you. And vise versa!
Also, you probably both have different ideas of the results you want – and what you’re willing to do to achieve them. (Something huge to consider, by the way.)
That’s why it’s so important to look at your own starting point and set goals that are achievable and realistic for you.
The S.M.A.R.T. goal setting system is a great way to set goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-based. Using this system can help you to create goals that are tailored to your own needs.
For example, if you’re currently a couch potato (no judgement!), a S.M.A.R.T. goal could be to walk for 30 minutes, three times a week. This is specific, measurable, achievable (assuming you have a safe place to walk), realistic and time-based.
On the other hand, if you are already pretty fit, your S.M.A.R.T. goal might be to run for 45 minutes, four times a week.
No matter what stage you’re at when it comes to your fitness and weight loss journey, setting realistic goals – that are tailored to your own unique circumstances – can be an incredibly effective way to stay motivated and successful.
Just decide where you are, where you’d like to be, and when you’d like to get there.
Find a Support Buddy Who Wants What You Want
When it comes to fitness goals, it can be tough to stay motivated. It’s easy to give up when you don’t see results right away or you have a bad day.
Face it – for some of us, TV and a bag of chips is a coping method! (If this is you, too, see the next item.)
That’s why having a support buddy can be so helpful. A support buddy is someone who is trying to get healthy along with you. They can help you stay on track when you feel like giving up.
They can also challenge you to do your best and push you to reach your goals.
If you don’t have any friends or family who are working on health goals, there are still plenty of places you can find support.
There are online forums and social media groups dedicated to weight loss. (Facebook and Instagram have hundreds.) You can also try joining a weight loss challenge at your local gym or community center. Fitness trackers often have community groups attached to cheer and support each other.
With a little effort, you should be able to find a supportive buddy who can help you stay motivated and challenge you to achieve your weight loss goals.
Develop A Positive Mindset
Losing weight can be a stressful process. There are so many things to think about and keep track of, from counting calories to working out to staying motivated. It’s no wonder that many people give up before they even start.
But it doesn’t have to be that way! One of the most important things you can do for yourself is to take some time to relax and de-stress. This can be anything from taking a yoga class to watching a good movie to taking a long walk in nature.
We all have things that push our re-set button. Maybe yours is soaking a long, hot bath. (Want the ultimate relaxation? Treat yourself to these magnesium bath flakes from the Dead Sea. They’ll also soothe those newly sore muscles!) Or snuggling with a cozy mystery book. (Oh wait, that’s mine.) Or listening to the amazing Ms. Etta James or playing Candy Crush on your cell phone.
Studies have shown that taking time to relax can help reduce stress levels, which in turn lowers cortisol and can help with weight loss. It also reduces anxiety that leads to food cravings.
So next time you’re feeling stressed about your weight loss journey, take a step back and relax. It might just be the thing that helps you succeed.
Decide on Your Summer Body Diet
Eating healthy is one of the best things you can do for your body. And one of the best ways to eat healthy is to ditch excess carbohydrates. Carbohydrates are turned into sugar in your body, and too much sugar can lead to weight gain and other health problems.
When you eat fewer carbs, your body has to produce less insulin. Insulin is a hormone that helps regulate blood sugar levels. When there’s less insulin in your body, you’re less likely to store fat. And when you’re not storing fat, you’re burning it.
So if you’re looking to lose weight, or just eat healthier, lowering your carb intake is a great place to start.
But beyond reducing your carb load, consider upping the overall quality of your food in general. Most of us eat too much processed, “convenience” foods, and our weight and health pay for it.
Did you know that eating unprocessed foods can actually help you lose weight? When you eat fresh, healthy foods like scrambled eggs, grilled chicken or leafy veggies, your body gets the nutrients it needs to function properly. This can help boost your metabolism and lead to better weight loss.
Eating fresh also means consuming fewer calories. And eating unprocessed foods can help you feel fuller longer, so you’re less likely to overeat.
If you’re looking to lose weight, eating fresh, lower-carbohydrate foods is a great place to start. By following a healthy diet, you can lose 1-2 pounds per week. And, by eating the right foods, you’ll be able to maintain that loss for the long term.
Decide on Your Summer Body Workout Plan
When it comes to exercise, there are two main types: aerobic and strength training. Both are great for overall fitness and weight loss, but they have different effects on the body.
Aerobic exercise are those activities that get your heart pumping and your lungs breathing harder. Think of brisk walking, jogging, cycling, swimming, or any other activity that gets your heart going. Aerobic exercise is great for overall cardiovascular health and can help you burn calories and lose weight.
Strength training, on the other hand, is focused on building muscle. This could be lifting weights, doing body-weight exercises, or using resistance bands. Strength training is important for maintaining bone density and preventing injuries, and it can also help you build muscle and burn calories.
So which type of exercise is right for you? That depends on your goals. If your main goal is to lose weight, you’ll likely want to focus more on aerobic exercise, since it burns more calories than strength training.
On the other hand, if your goal is to build muscle, focus on strength training.
One way you can incorporate both types of exercise into your routine is by alternating between days of aerobic and strength training. For example, you could do a walk on Monday, a strength-training session on Tuesday, a swim on Wednesday, and so on. That way, you’re getting the benefits of both types of exercise.
You can also mix aerobic exercises with strength training by doing a circuit. For example, you could do 10 minutes of cardio followed by 10 minutes of strength training. This type of workout is great for overall fitness and calorie burning.
If you belong to a gym, ask a trainer or manager which classes would match the goals you’ve set for yourself.
Beyond that, there are lots of video streaming exercise platforms (e.g. Daily Burn, Grokker, BeachBody on Demand, Gaia, OpenFit and Pelaton – to name just a few). Most of them will have programs or series to match your fitness goals.
No matter what type of exercise you choose, remember to start slow and gradually increase the intensity as your fitness level improves. Going too fast will only make you miserable and could actually cause injury.
Track the Progress of Your Goals
There are many ways to track your progress when it comes to fitness and healthy weight. It can help you see how far you’ve come and how much you’ve accomplished. Tracking your progress is also a great way to set new goals and stay on track.
There are a few different ways you can track your progress:
1) Keep A “Summer Body” Journal
Whether you use a physical notebook or an online journal, this is a great way to track your daily food intake and exercise routine. You can also use it to reflect on your progress and set new goals.
2) Use A Fitness Tracker
These are devices you wear that track your activity, such as steps taken and calories burned. You can spend hundreds of dollars on an elite fitness tracker or under $25 for a really basic model.
3) Use An App
There are many apps available for tracking your progress. Most of them allow you to track your calorie intake, exercise routine, and progress with various metrics such as body fat percentage or BMI.
I personally prefer CarbManager and have used it for years. But others love MyFitnessPal, LoseIt, MyPlate, etc. I’ve used those, too, and I think they’re just fine.
Do a search for a calorie counter app, and you’ll have dozens of options. They all work basically the same, and some have a premium plan that offers a few more bells and whistles.
4) Track and Compare Body Measurements
Take some baseline measurements of different areas of your body and track your progress over time. This is a simple at-a-glance method that allows you to record what you wish to track. It’s also the easiest and least expensive.
No matter what methods you use to track your progress, it’s important to stay committed and inspired. It can help keep you focused on your goals and make progress in your health journey.
Reward Your Milestones
You deserve to celebrate your accomplishments, no matter how small, when working toward a goal. This helps to keep you motivated and on track.
When it comes to fitness and weight loss, there are dozens of different milestones you can reach: e.g. 5 pounds, 10 workouts, 15 days of clean eating, etc.
And while it’s tempting to celebrate those milestones with something like a cheat meal, it’s also important to reward yourself with non-food items as well.
There are countless non-food rewards you can give yourself for meeting a health milestone. Here are just a few ideas:
- A new workout outfit
- A day at the spa
- A new piece of workout equipment
- A day off from your workout routine
- A trip to the movies
- A relaxing massage
- A day at the beach
- A day at the park
- New exercise shoes
- A weekend getaway
- A set of class passes for a local studio
- A new pair of sunglasses
Whatever you decide, make sure it’s something that will help you stay motivated to reach your goal.
If you’re serious about getting that summer body, it all starts with setting manageable goals and making a plan. Get yourself a support buddy to cheer you on. Choose an eating plan that works best for your lifestyle and fitness goals, paired with physical activity tailored to those ambitions.
Monitor your progress and stay motivated – thinking positively! Celebrate milestones (non-food rewards are best) –and suddenly the journey’s looking much shorter.
Summer is right around the corner, and it’s going to be a great one. Start your plan today and get the summer body you deserve.