With winter finally over, the time has come to say goodbye to our winter bods (*tear). Soon we will be trading in our leggings and big sweaters for cute shorts and crop tops. There will be nowhere to hide those few extra pounds that are still hanging on from Christmas. For me, like most of you, this means kicking up the workouts and going full speed ahead towards that summer body. Unfortunately, I see a lot of my fellow girls do things that can actually sabotage their results. Not only can these things make it harder to reach their goal body, but it can actually make the goal body last for a shorter period of time if they achieve it at all. The goal here is to have a bomb ass body for the WHOLE summer, not just look good for the first few weeks of summer, right? The approach that needs to be taken is one that will allow the results to last, so you can rock your little bikinis all the way through until Labor day. So before putting together your plan of attack, read the five biggest mistakes women do when trying to get in shape for summer, and make sure none end up in your plan:
#1:Too Much Cardio
Ladies, I cannot stress this enough: hours on the elliptical do not make you look better. In fact, it can actually make you look worse. The reason is because cardio is catabolic, which means it eats up muscle. The more muscle you lose, the less shape you have to your body and the lower your metabolism gets. If you do too much, it can also stress out your body to a point where your cortisol (stress hormone) goes up, which can lead to halted weight loss and a lower thyroid (which is directly tied to your metabolism). So how do we keep shape and still lose fat? You need to do a reasonable amount of cardio, and do the right type. HIIT training is great for fat loss, allowing you to burn fat and get the most for the least amount of time. But with all good things, you can’t overdo it. So add 2-3 HIIT workouts during the week (between 20-30 minutes is all you need). If you want to add one more day of cardio, add a day of walking. This will burn calories, as well as keep your stress levels down.
#2:Not Lifting Weights
To look good practically naked, you need some shape to you. There’s no better way to add shape than hitting the weight room. Lifting weights allow you to sculpt your body any way you want it. Also, the more muscle you have, the faster your metabolism is, and the more fat you will burn throughout the day. So make sure there are at least three days, if not more, of lifting weights in your weekly workout schedule. And rest assured, you will not get too bulky no matter how heavy you lift. Even if you put muscle on super easy like me, we still have a cap to how big we can get due to our hormone make up. Lunges with 5 lb dumbells is basically cardio, and you will never get the legs or booty you want unless you use heavier weights.
#3:Cutting Too Many Calories
This is a major no-no. The cigarette and coffee diets need to be a thing of the past. When you cut calories to very low levels, it takes your body about a week or two to adjust, and then the benefit of lower calories goes away. Your body wants to keep you alive and will decrease your metabolism accordingly. Unfortunately, you can only starve yourself for so long before you need to start eating again. When this happens, your metabolism is super slow, and your body goes into storage mode because it thinks food is scarce (this goes back to cavewomen days). The last thing you want to do is start packing on pounds mid-summer. How to eliminate this from happening is to first and foremost, eat good nutritious food. It sounds simple, but that is what our bodies run best on. It’s also very hard to gain a lot of fat eating food that comes from nature (meat, fruits, veggies, etc). Next, if you do still want to cut calories, try cycling your calories (I’ll cover how to do this in another post). This will prevent your body from down regulating your metabolism, but still give you the benefits of the calorie deficit.
#4:Setting Unattainable Goals
When starting a workout plan, some people get over excited and want to go balls to the wall right off the bat. The problem is that the odds of sticking to a strict diet and no off days is slim to none when you don’t have these habits developed. While there’s usually a snowball effect with success, there’s even more of a snowball effect with failures. Since you don’t have the habits formed, at some point you will probably mess up and not go to the gym. Most likely you will look at that one missed day as a failure, instead of the six days you went as successes. This is where things start to break down. When you fail once, its easy to fail again. This “day off” can turn into two, three, or four very easily. To prevent this from happening, start off with something that is doable. Give yourself a goal of three days. A few weeks of successfully hitting your goal, you will have developed the habit of going to the gym, and you will start to see the success bleed into other areas like your diet. You might even want to add another gym day to your week. These weeks of successfully building up to your “balls to the wall” goal is much better than the endless cycle of goal setting, disappointing yourself, and then trying to jump back on the wagon with the same unattainable goal.
#5:Forgeting the Little, but Important Stuff
Sometimes the small things have the biggest impact. This is one of those times. Instead of reaching for the quick fixes, turn your focus to those things that build a healthy foundation. These include getting enough sleep, water, vitamins, etc. All of these have a tremendous influence on your metabolism and hormones. We all know summer is the time of having fun, late nights, etc. So, focus on getting your foundation solid, so your body is in a better position to handle those summer nights or booze filled days at the pool. It also would not be a bad idea to prep your liver. Summer comes with summer cocktails, and why not start the summer off with your best liver forward. You don’t need to do any crazy liver cleanse, just get a good supplement that helps support it. My favorite supplement for this is Liver Care by Himalaya. Your liver has to process EVERYTHING, which includes excess hormones and toxins. If it is slow and too busy processing alcohol and toxins, you end up with hormone imbalances (which can mean water retention and weight gain) and a toxic body. An ounce of prevention now is worth not having to worry about those extra pounds that could creep up.
These aren’t the only offenses women make when trying to get in shape, but they are the most common. Do yourself a favor and play the long game instead of trying to lose ten pounds in ten days. Remember the faster the weight comes off, the quicker it goes back on. So if you focus on making your body as healthy as possible, I promise you will be rocking bikinis well through September 🙂