Everyone wants to feel great and look great in their clothes. Establishing a wellness lifestyle and just moving to break out of the sedentary habits modern life instills in us is a perfect way to improve your health while losing weight so that you are ready for the summer weather… or any weather!
The warmer it gets the less we wear, revealing more of our figure. During the winter it’s common for people to slow down, perhaps eat a little more and consequently get slightly larger. Now that the summer is nearly upon us, the warmer weather is enticing us to wear less and show off our figures.
Some of you relish this opportunity to kick-start your healthy routines; some of you may see it as an opportunity to address the thought you’ve had at the back of your mind for some time now: “I need to lose weight!” What ever your motivation, it is definitely time to give some attention to our bodies so that we can be confident, comfortable, and healthy…and maybe even look our best!
Here are 5 steps to help you to achieve a wellness lifestyle and also shine during the summer.
The first place to start is with your attitude – if you want to see improvements to your body before the summer, it is going to take a strong will to succeed. The safest and most successful way to alter your body shape is by reducing your food intake and increasing your activity level – these are fundamental to having a balanced wellness lifestyle. Changing habits requires determination and focus both of which demand a positive attitude and self-motivation. It is said that if the “why” is big enough then the actions will follow.
Therefore, before you start on your body makeover, give your mind one. Take some time to work out why you want to make the changes and what it would mean to you of you were able to achieve your goals. Write your answers down on a piece of paper or better still find an image to represent your “big why” then put it somewhere you can see it frequently to act as a reminder and motivator as you start embracing your new wellness habit.
The next step is to get moving! If you ask your body to do more than it is used to doing, it will quickly adapt to accommodate the new demands. Hence if you increase the level of physical activity in your life, your body will have to adapt by providing you with extra energy, which it will get from the fat it has stored. Aim to do an activity that will get your heart pumping for at least 20 minutes 3-4 times a week. This can be done in the gym, at home or outside, with or without equipment.
Outside of structured exercise sessions simply just move more. Moving your body improves the circulation of oxygen and results in increased energy. Moving also increases the glucose uptake of your muscles and helps prevent excess fat storage. If you spend long period sitting during the day, take a movement break every hour or hour-and-a-half. For example, standup and walk around, roll your shoulders, do some stretches, squats or lunges.
Strengthen and tone your muscles. Strong healthy muscles burn calories, so the bigger and stronger your muscles the more calories you will burn both whilst exercising and at rest. Toned muscles not only look good in revealing summer clothes and swim wear, they have lasting effects as you age making you more resilient and lowering your risk for premature death, which are all direct benefits of establishing a wellness lifestyle…and it all starts with a simple first step: just move!
Aim to do 8-12 repetitions of strength toning exercises for your various muscle groups either in the gym or at home using equipment such as Technogym’s Unica. If you don’t have time to go to the gym or have equipment at home, you can tone using your body weight. For instance, do exercises like press-ups, tricep dips, squats, planks and floor / mountain climbs. Tip: slow down the exercise in the lowering phase to a count of 4,6 or 8. This will increase the intensity and shock your muscles in to working harder.
The penultimate step to achieving your summer physique and benefiting inside and outside of your body, is ensuring that you have a nutritionally balanced diet that contains less calories than you require to maintain your body weight. Not only is it important to monitor the number of calories you eat per day, you should also focus on the quality of the food you eat and increase the amount of protein in your diet.
Eating a high-quality, high-protein diet, which includes a lot of vegetables, fruit, beneficial fats, and other nutrient dense unrefined / processed foods, is an effective way of reducing body fat and promoting optimal body composition. Whole foods require more energy for the body to digest and utilise them than processed foods.
A high-protein diet and lower-glycemic carbs (i.e. those not composed of refined sugars and saturated fats) also results in you eating fewer calories. It sustains lean muscle mass for a higher metabolic rate. Reducing your calorie intake without raising the amount of protein in your diet result in you losing muscle along with the fat. This means that the amount of calories your body burns at rest plummets. Consequently as soon as you return to eating normally you gain the fat back very rapidly.
Finally, stay focused but don't stress about getting the perfect beach body. It is better to focus on achieving all round health, wellness and fitness than a perfect body. High levels of stress can drastically reduce the amount of hormones in your system that aid fat loss and boost muscle recovery after training.
Relaxed deep breathing, visualisation and meditation are good ways of reducing stress if you find yourself feeling uptight. You can also plan enjoyable, pleasurable activities to do with family and friends to keep your spirits up and moods positive.
It might take a degree of hard work and self-discipline to achieve your summer fit body, but the rewards will be worth it.