How to get your body ready for the beach

With spring around the corner it’s time to shed those layers and show some skin. To make the process more pleasant than painful, try these easy-to-incorporate tips for a better beach bod


    Improve your posture

    Good posture is the quickest, easiest way to look taller, thinner and several pounds lighter in your favorite bikini.  Slouching takes inches off your height and makes your belly pudge out. Imagine there is a thread attached to the top of your head, and you are being pulled straight up, with your chin up, your back straight, your shoulders back, and your stomach tight.  Now walk tall and with confidence at the pool.

    Exercise before your meal

    Timing is everything.  When your metabolism is revving, as it is right after a workout, research has shown you tend to eat less.  You're also thirstier, so you will drink more water, which uses up space in your belly and relieves hunger.  And, most importantly, the calories you do eat get burned for energy more quickly and are less likely to be stored as fat.  

    Season food differently to beat the bloat

    You love salt; but water does, too.  When you consume more sodium, your body retains water and can give you that sluggish feeling and a puffy appearance. Substitute salt and salt-based seasonings for rich spices like cumin, Italian seasoning, and cayenne pepper.  Research suggests the average adult should consume no more than 2500 mg of sodium per day, so be sure to read those labels on processed foods, which can contain hidden (and large) amounts of sodium.

    Build a sustainable eating plan

    “Diet plans” may promise more rapid weight loss, but can you maintain? If not, you may eventually gain even more weight back than you lost.  Make all food portions slightly smaller than normal and stop eating when you are 80 percent full — it takes your brain about 15 minutes to register that you are full after your last bite.   And don’t cut out any food group: healthy carbohydrates (brown rice, sweet potatoes) and healthy fats (avocados, olive oil, nuts) are just as important in staying satiated as healthy protein foods.

    Don't shy away from weights

    Women tend to shy away from weight training because they think they will “bulk up”—but, in actuality, having more muscle mass helps your body burn calories for longer periods of time (as opposed to burning calories through cardio, which stops when you step off the elliptical).  More muscle will keep your body burning fat all day long and, according to one study, adding just two sessions per week of heavy lifting can reduce your body fat by three percent without cutting calories and lead to that long, lean, sculpted look you want for the summer.

    Don't overcompensate

    While it’s great to jump start your healthy habits, it’s also key not to drink back all the calories you just burned off, which can be a common mistake when choosing an energy drink. Rather than energy drinks loaded with sugar and caffeine, go natural. Coconut water is all the rage, but choose one that is all-natural and has electrolytes like potassium, magnesium and calcium. In fact, a serving has more potassium than a banana.

    Embrace fiber

    Research shows that eating 25 to 35 grams of fiber a day can assist in weight loss, help reduce blood pressure and cholesterol, and can reduce bloat to keep your belly flat.  Adding fiber-rich foods (such as raspberries, lentils and artichokes) to meals can help you feel fuller for a greater amount of time. And high-fiber diets also tend to be less "energy dense," which means they have fewer calories for the same volume of food.

    Switch it up

    Aim to incorporate one to two new moves into your workout routine. Research suggests your body becomes immune to the stimulus of your exercise program, and therefore you stop seeing consistent results. For instance, if you are a runner, aim to incorporate a few lunges and pushups at intervals during your run. If you love yoga or Pilates, switch up your routine with a hike or swim.
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