Summer is here, which means suns out, guns out.
There’s no question that when the temperatures rise, our thoughts in the gym turn to our lives outside the gym: What we look like in a bikini or, for the fellas, shirtless on the sand and sea.
And in order to get there, our gym routine begins to mimic the same rush and gusto we had at the turn of the New Year.
Three, to five, to seven days a week, we are hitting the weights, picking up our consistency game, hammering out our ab routine, and spot training our jiggly underarms or touching thighs .. anything to get ripped as fast as possible.
On the diet front, we’ve sworn to “keep it clean” by cutting out carbs, sugar or alcohol.
We are on a mission.
And should we need support, bikini and beach body challenges are a dime a dozen.
Google the words “bikini challenge” alone and you are sure to find more than 17,600,000 results pop up with various bodies of people we want to look like, exercises, nutrition plans and movements to incorporate into your gym routine.
Are they secrets to success?
A bit overwhelming?
While building a “beach body” or achieving a “bikini body” are 100 percent completely attainable through these various programs and methods (given some hard work, dedication and sacrifice of things like your social life, food, the current joy you find in a healthy amount of fitness), what if instead you could have a beach body that was every bit as fit on the inside as it was on the outside?
We are talking deeper here.
- Genuine contentment with your body and what you look like.
- Improved performance in the gym (not just looking good, but also being fitter).
- True health (again, not just looking healthy on the outside, but feeling healthier on the inside).
What many of these programs do NOT tell you is that, although you may be able to realize what having a beach body looks like …
You may NOT learn or realize what it means to maintain this body (i.e. what happens when the challenge is over? Are you supposed to eat and/or workout like you did on the challenge forever?)
And moreover, will you ever be satisfied?
After all, the thing about attaining a beach body is there is always room for more improvement.
The more we look to the mirror to satisfy and measure ourselves up, the more we tend to find dissatisfaction with things about ourselves…or want for more:
- A flatter stomach
- More defined shoulders
- More ripped biceps
- A more pronounced V-shape up top
- More muscular legs
Want the secret to building a beach body that lasts — one you can genuinely appreciate and find peace with what you look like (bikini and all)?
It all starts with building a healthy base from the inside out.
Here are a few simple steps to get you started:
1. Throw out the scale. Ditch it. A number does not define you, and with this new “beach body challenge” mentality, you are going to start focusing more on how you feel and how you perform in the gym, not on numbers. How do your clothes fit? How are your lifts improving in the gym? What about your energy levels? These are the factors to begin turning your mind to.
2. Delete the calorie counting apps.Another one bites the dust. Just as we aren’t focusing on the number on the scale, you are not focusing on the number of calories in your food either. Instead, you are going to be focusing on eating real food, and plenty of quality foods at each meal: proteins (like pork, beef, chicken, fish, eggs), veggies (all sorts!) and healthy fats (avocado, nuts, seeds, olive oil, coconut oil, grass-fed butter, ghee, black olives, etc.) with breakfast, lunch and dinner, and in between meals, a protein and/or fat source with your snacks. In short the basic prescription for your foods should include: meats and seafood, lots of veggies (particularly greens), essential fatty acids, some fruit, little starch, no sugar, plenty of water (half your bodyweight in ounces).
3. Do what you love. Find what moves you in the fitness realm, and do that. For when you are doing something that is fun for you, it won’t have to feel like work or a chore at all. Keeping in mind that your exercise and training is about 20 percent of your results (nutrition is about 80 percent), then it really can take the pressure off of having to workout in a particular manner. And you don’t have to hit the gym for two- to three-hour sessions either, even if weight training and cardio is your jive. Think about maximizing your time in the gym. Less can actually be more when done right. This could look like two to three days per week of high-intensity sprint type of exercise (HIIT interval training for 10-30 minutes several days per week) and at least two to three days of weight training (supersets in particular work well for improving body composition and maximizing time) for anywhere from 30-60 minutes. Also, don’t negate the powerful benefits and effects of walking. Walking is the simplest, most universal form of exercise and can be done anywhere. Start making it a habit and routine to park further away from the door, get up every hour at work to walk away from your desk, occasionally stand and work at your computer — don’t just sit. Daily movement people.
4. Positive affirmations. As you think, therefore you become. The more you can begin to practice the art of speaking positively to yourself, the more you are going to begin to believe you are actually the amazing individual you are. You don’t have to be anyone else but yourself! So stop with the negative self-talk already. Reflect for a moment on today alone … how many times have you cut yourself down or thought negatively toward yourself (i.e. “I’m so stupid,” “Ugh, I hate my thighs,” “You’re so gross,” “She’s so much prettier,” etc.).
5. Start seeing yourself as the healthy, empowered, beautiful (or hot) specimen you aspire to be. What does he or she think like? What decisions does he or she make surrounding his or her food, exercise and other daily self-care decisions? What would he or she do in this or that situation? You get the picture. Think and therefore become. Start acting out of intention: that person you want to be.
6. Consider making it personal. Working with a coach or trainer who can customize a training and nutrition plan, specific to you and your body type can be a huge way to get to your goals faster, and keep you from going crazy with planning and construing exercise and food yourself. In other words: Let someone else deal with it. And while personal training can be great, a newer methodology called Exclusive Coaching or Individualized Design is beginning to evolve. In short: After conducting an in-depth initial assessment and interview with an experienced coach, your coach then will customize a training and nutrition plan, based around your body, your goals and your time constraints. Then, on a weekly basis, you complete and log your workouts and/or your nutrition, and report back to your coach via remote coaching or in-person. Your coach then continues to deliver you a weekly training plan,that is progressive and results-focused. As opposed to holding your hand and constantly needing to be by your side as well in order for your training session to happen, your coach is really just that — a coach and outside guide to empower you to do what you want to do — both inside and outside the gym. If this interests you, check out com, THRIVE Wellness & Recovery, Central Athlete Training and OPEX, for a more personalized training approach.