Summer is just around the corner which to some can be seen as both a blessing and a curse. On the one hand this means warmer, better weather (although here in Northern Ireland you can never be too sure about this one) but for some of you it also means getting your body beach ready. This can be a daunting task for some of us but it really doesn’t have to be and if you do it the right way you’ll be more likely to sustain your new health regime on a long term basis, afterall you should be treating your body right all of the time not just on special occasions.
Below are a few of my top tips to help you reach your beach body goal and sustain a healthier lifestyle long term.
Spend a week or two getting the food right
Suddenly upping your game in terms of training or if you’re a beginner, throwing yourself into a brand new training regime can be very daunting when you aren’t used to it. Add to that planning, prepping and cooking meals and it’s not surprising if you find yourself a little bit overwhelmed. This is why I recommend tackling either diet or training separately, giving you time to adjust to each. In the long term, this should help to make your new healthy lifestyle more sustainable and you’ll be less likely to fall off the bandwagon so easily.
When training to get your body in shape it’s important to reach the right balance between diet and training as it’s very difficult to out-train a bad diet so nailing the food side of things is just as important as keeping on top of your training.
Set attainable goals
As much as we may want it to, that summer body isn’t gong to appear overnight, believe it or not, you have to work for it. It’s important to remain realistic with your gals and so make short term goals as well as long term ones. Think about how you’re going to achieve the goals, imagine it, envision your end goal and even write it down somewhere. Whether it’s perfecting a new healthy recipe, establishing a new training regime or mastering a new workout each week, these small achievements all add up in the long run and setting sustainable goals like this along the way will allow you to track your progress accordingly and help to keep you motivated on those dreaded days when you wondered why you even started.
Stop living for the weekend
It’s easy to get into the mindset of “It’s the weekend. I deserve a treat.” but this is something that you need to shake off because Friday, Saturday and Sunday take up about 40% of your week which makes a real difference to your training and diet if you rule out these days. In the long run keeping up your regime throughout the entire week will make a huge difference and this is yet another reason why it’s so important to make your training enjoyable. That being said, although it’s important not to take the entire weekend off, one cheat meal a week shouldn’t make a huge difference so plan yours in advance and look forward to it but make sure that you’re back on track by the next day. There will be days when this is harder than others but if you have that sinking feeling of regret after eating too much, don’t worry, draw a line under it and start fresh with your next meal. Don’t let it spiral into falling off the bandwagon completely.
And last but not least…
By now I’m sure you will have noticed a slight theme in each of these tips: be realistic! This also applies to your training. Personally I feel that the easiest way to get stuck in to a new training programme is through the help of a trusty personal trainer (read: Paul Cooney) but I’m aware that this isn’t a feasible option for everyone. An alternative option is to attend exercise classes. Exercise classes are a great way to make a workout more enjoyable as they offer you the chance to meet new people or bring along a few friends as a support system. Being surrounded by others in a similar boat to yourself will help you to feel less alone in your fitness journey and build up your confidence in the gym – another important aspect of maintaining a new fitness regime. Everyone is different in their approach to training of course but I find the best way to maintain your motivation is to exercise in a way that you find enjoyable. Otherwise, if you find yourself sitting in the car, dreading going into the gym I can’t imagine that any motivation to reach a new body goal will stick around for very long.