by Coach Aaron Hyatt
With summer right around the corner, there is typically one thing on most people’s minds with regards to their health and fitness: looking good for the beach or river or lake. This is the time of year that most people kick their fitness regimen in high gear as their planned summer trip is only a few months or weeks away. The idea of spending all summer outside in a body that you are not proud of can be a scary thought. I wanted to share a few tips to help you have a body you can be proud of. This article will look a lot like a previous article I wrote; if you missed out on your New Years goals, there is no better time to start than now. Ultimately, the best way to be ready for summer is to live a year-round lifestyle of health and fitness. These tips should not only be followed leading up to summer, but should be continued all year long.
1. TRACK YOUR FOOD
One of the biggest issues I see with people is that they have no awareness of what they are eating. It has been proven food recollection is one of our worst memories, so it can be very easy to fall into the trap of not realizing how much you are eating. Quickly tell me what you ate for dinner two nights ago. I bet most of you have no idea what it was. Even if you do remember what you ate I bet you can not tell me how many calories the meal was and have no idea of the macronutrient breakdown. You will never be able to get a handle on what you are eating until you start tracking. There are plenty of apps out there available to us, but if technology is not your thing then write it down. Just the act of tracking will give you a much better idea of what you are taking in and will help you limit your portions, especially on the weekends.
2. DRINK MORE WATER
We all know we need to drink more water, but most people are walking around chronically dehydrated. When your body is dehydrated nothing works as it should. This greatly effects energy levels, digestion, metabolic rate, mood, and many other functions. A good starting point is to drink a glass of water right when you wake up. This will give you energy to start your day and make you more likely to drink water the rest of the day. I promise you that you will notice some major positive effects immediately by implementing this.
3. EAT VEGETABLES AT EVERY MEAL
Vegetables are some of the most important aspects of our diet and things that get vastly under eaten in modern society. There are too many benefits of vegetables to list them all, but a few that will impact weight loss are increased feeling of fullness (fiber rich foods), better gut health (improved nutrient intake, digestion, etc.), replace highly processed foods full of fat and sugar, and shore up micronutrient deficiencies (improve hormonal health, speed up metabolism, etc). Eat a wide variety of colors and types of veggies, and make sure to add at least a few handfuls at each meal. After only a few days of this you will notice a big difference. Also, I know that a lot of people have not developed a taste for vegetables because they have never eaten them. However, as you eat more of them you will start developing that taste. The trick is to get started.
4. EAT MORE PROTEIN
We talk about protein a lot because most people are not taking in near enough of it. Protein is what your body uses to build muscle, which is going to give your body the lean look that you are looking for as well as speed up your metabolism as you add more. If you are not tracking then you will most likely have no idea how much protein you are eating, so refer to point 1 on this. If you are doing a lot of strength training then you will want to get more protein. Your protein should mostly come from lean meats (chicken, fish, lean beef, turkey, etc.), but adding in a protein supplement (as long as it doesn’t have many ingredients), such as whey, once throughout the day might be a good idea to help you hit your goal. If you consistently get more protein then you should notice a big difference in how you feel throughout the day and your results in the gym should be better as well.
5. DO MORE STRENGTH TRAINING
Most people think that when they want to lose weight they should do more cardio. This can definitely help to put you in a calorie deficit, but a much better way is to do strength training. By doing strength training you will tear down your muscles, which will require a lot of energy (calories) to rebuild. You will also be building muscles that give you the toned look that most people are really looking for when they want to look good. Adding muscle will also increase your metabolism, because it costs more calories in a day to run a pound of muscle than it does a pound of fat. Add in some strength work a few times a week and you will really notice a difference in how you look and how quickly your body is able to burn fat.
6. BE CONSISTENT
Consistency is the key to all of this. You are not going to make much progress if you are good for a few days and then let yourself go every weekend. Here are a few things that might help you be more consistent:
- Schedule your workouts in your weekly calendar. Put the day and time down on pen and paper (or in your phone’s calendar) and stick to those commitments. Shoot for at least 3 days a week but 4 or 5 is ideal. Make everything else work around these times. After a few weeks this will be habit and it will be very hard to miss.
- Create a daily scorecard. Create a scorecard for all of the things you want to accomplish in the day (drink 100 oz of water, have 8 servings of vegetables, work out, track everything you eat and drink, eat 170 grams of protein, etc.) At the end of each day put a checkmark by each one you completed. I promise you that if you get in the habit of holding yourself accountable like this it will change your life.
- Find an accountability partner. Find someone who has the same goals as you and hold each other accountable. Go to the gym at the same time every day. Check in with each other on your diet and nutrition. Be honest about your shortcomings and failures. Talk about your struggles. Be vulnerable with them. It will be much easier to keep going if you know you have someone doing it with you and you will probably develop and even closer relationship.
- Get a coach. We all need a coach to help us in different aspects of our lives. If you are really serious about getting where you want to be then you should find someone who knows how to get you to where you want to be. If you follow these four steps then you should be well on your way to being consistent.
I hope these tips will help you on your weight loss journey. Remember, it is much easier to get your summer body ready if you have developed a lifestyle of health and fitness because you are always summer-ready! If you have not yet developed those habits then implement these steps and they will help you to get there. Making health and fitness a year-round goal is the best way to be ready for the summer and there is no better time to start than now.