By starting early you’ll have plenty of time to get in shape because rapid weight-loss plans are not only ineffective, they are also harmful to your long-term health. So what is the best strategy to get fit for the beach and make sure you look good for your beach vacation? Follow the training and dietary advice below and you’ll tone up, shape up and feel good on the beach.
Include resistance training exercises as part of your exercise programme because by toning up your muscles, you will increase the amount of calories you burn throughout the day, even when at rest.
Muscle costs more
The ‘energy cost’ of a body with toned muscles is higher than a body carrying excess body-fat so if you tone up your muscles, your engine is running faster 24 hours a day leading to further body-fat reduction.
Exercising in the morning kick-starts your metabolism (the rate at which you burn calories) and the benefits can last for up to 15 hours after training.
Keep your body and training balanced
When you look in the mirror, the main muscles you see are your abdominals (stomach), chest and biceps (upper arm). Avoid over-training these areas because you will develop postural imbalances. Make sure that you tone up all round the body, not just what you see when you look in the gym mirrors.
CV exercise is good
When looking to tone up, it’s easy to forget about cardiovascular (CV) training. However, for a balanced health and fitness programme, CV training is essential to ensure that your body’s most important muscle, your heart, is trained too.
Abs are not enough
If you're looking to get a slim waist for the beach, sit-ups for your abdominal muscles are just one of the exercises you should be doing. Exercises for your lower abs such as leg-only v-sits (sit on the floor with your legs elevated and alternately bend and straighten your knees) should be included, together with training for the obliques (muscles at the sides of your abdomen).
Core strength training
In addition to the heart, the other muscle group that is vital to train is your core, or deep postural muscles. Good core strength will ‘pull everything in’ as well as greatly improving your posture. If you exercise your core muscles, not only will you be able to get into last year’s swim wear, you may need to buy a smaller size…
Exercising legs is important
An additional advantage of including CV training in your beach-fit plan is that almost all CV training involves using your legs; running, cycling etc, so these exercises will tone up your leg muscles as well.
In addition to the fitness tips above, some of these nutrition tips can help you out when you're attempting to shape up for the beach...
Half a kilogram is enough
Attempting to lose weight faster than half a kilogram per week almost always leads to subsequent additional unwanted weight gain.
Go natural when eating
Always try and select whole-food choices for meals and snacks. Processed foods (foods that come in packets) are generally low in nutritional quality and high in unwanted calories such as fat and sugar.
Hydrate for exercise
Inadequate hydration often presents false hunger pangs. Hunger pangs are often satisfied with processed foods (chocolate, sweets etc), which are generally high in calories, unnecessarily adding to total calorie intake.
Keep it handy
Ensuring that a bottle of water is always available, at your desk, in your car, etc, will help you to keep fluid levels topped up, make your skin look great and fend off false hunger symptoms.
Easy on the alcohol
The calories from alcohol in wine, beer and spirits are stored as body-fat if they’re not used at the time of consumption; so reducing your alcohol intake will help with your weight loss program.
Alternate your drinks
Try alternating an alcoholic drink with sparkling water, both to keep the calories down and also to combat the dehydrating effects of the alcohol and the false hunger signs that dehydration can trigger.
Correct food choices = fewer calories
Incorrect food choices are often triggered by energy lows, causing ‘quick energy hit’, highly calorific foods to be eaten, like chocolate bars. By choosing slow energy release foods such as bananas, you will find that you maintain constant energy levels with fewer calories.
So, if there's a holiday on the horizon, by following the beach-fit plan above, you will get a slim, toned body and improve your all-round health too.