Summer cannot get here soon enough! All the months spent indoors, waiting for the warm weather will finally be worth it when you bust out the swimming suit. If the thought of wearing a bikini has you nervous, there is still time to get beach body ready!
Don’t worry, we're not talking about extreme, unsafe diets that deprive you of food and leave you feeling tired or irritated. Instead, we’ve put together this beach body guide that everyone can use to get a physique they'll be proud of!
1. Eat protein with every meal.
It is no secret that eating enough protein is important for increasing muscle mass, but protein also plays a role in fat loss too. Spreading your protein intake across all three meals can aid in fat loss according to a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. After reviewing 24 studies on protein consumption, the researchers found that people who consumed protein throughout that day saw better weight loss results while preserving more lean mass - the ultimate goal for the ideal beach body.
2. Stop snacking.
Snacking, even healthy snacking, can stall weight loss and prevent you from losing those last few pounds.A few quick bites of healthy food might not seem like much, but the rushed and often mindless way in which most people snack can be bad for getting beach body ready. A few extra calories here and there add up quickly and can cause you to overeat unintentionally. Instead of snacking, sit down to a balanced meal three or four times a day. It is much easier to keep track of your consumption if you have distinct meal times.
3. Cut out cocktails, wine and beer.
Is the beach body of your dreams leaner and more toned than your current physique? Then you need to reduce your caloric intake so that your body begins to burn stored fat. With every sip of alcohol, you are ingesting unnecessary calories. In fact, a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that men consume an extra 433 calories on days when they have just a couple of drinks. Plus, alcohol tends to lower our inhibitions and make us less likely to stick to our diets. If leanness is the key to your beach body, steer clear of the bar.
4. Eat foods that fight cellulite.
Cellulite is a problem that nine out of every ten women have to face each bikini season. It can develop as a result of a breakdown in the skin's connective tissue, known as collagen. Collagen is a type of protein, so eating high quality protein foods can help to strengthen the collagen fibers that reduce cellulite; and remember to drink lots of water! Flaxseeds are also a good source of collagen. Dark colored berries like blueberries and blackberries naturally boost the body's collagen production. You can chow down on lean protein and collagen-boosting berries tonight by cooking up Cashew Noodles with Broccoli and Tofu.
5. Follow a low-bloat diet.
A bloated belly could cause your beach body to look puffy instead of shredded. If you are just a few days away from your beach body reveal, adopt a low-bloat diet. For starters, avoid high-sodium packaged foods that can trigger water retention. Surprisingly, there are healthy foods that can cause bloating too. Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and kale contain slow-digesting carbohydrates that can cause gas. Other clean foods that might cause bloat include apples, beans and peas. To prevent water retention, eat high-potassium fruits like bananas, avocados, kiwis and oranges. The best veggies for reducing bloat are asparagus and cucumbers. If you do end up bloated, don't freak out! Try this all natural homemade tonic to remedy the situation.
6. Sleep 7-9 hours every night.
Sleep is critical to achieving any physique goals. Whether your perfect beach body requires fat loss or major muscle gain, sleep will be a key to your success.
- Sleep allows your body to recover from intense exercise, grow and repair muscles.
- Sleep deprivation can disrupt your hormonal balance and cause you to experience excessive hunger and cravings.
- Not sleeping enough can deteriorate your willpower and cause you to start skipping workouts and cheating on your diet.
- According to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, sleep deprived people partake in more late-night snacking, and they are more likely to choose high-carb snacks.
7. Don't neglect upper back training.
No beach body is complete without a trim waist. What most people do not realize is that strong, well-developed upper back muscles will make the waist look smaller and more defined. When you neglect to train the upper back, your body can look out of balance and your waist might appear bigger than it actually is. Start sculpting the upper back that your beach body needs by adding bent over rows to your training program.
Bent Over Dumbbell Rows
- Hold a dumbbell in each hand so that your palms are turned toward each other.
- Bend your knees slightly and bring your torso forward by bending at the waist. Keep your spine straight so that your torso is almost parallel to the floor.
- Allow the dumbbells to hang directly in front of you so that your arms hang perpendicular to the floor.
- Exhale as you lift the dumbbells to your side, keep the elbows close to the body and keep the torso stationary.
- At the end of the movement, squeeze the shoulder blades together and hold for a second.
- Inhale as you slowly lower the dumbbells to the starting position. Repeat for the recommended amount of repetitions.
8. Train for better posture.
It is hard to show off an impressive beach body if your posture is pathetic. Poor posture is not only unattractive, but it can also interfere with your training. According to strength coach and physical therapist Bill Hartman, poor posture "can cause a cascade of structural flaws that result in acute problems, such as joint pain throughout your body, reduced flexibility, and compromised muscles, all of which can limit your ability to burn fat and build strength." Almost everybody could stand to improve their posture. To learn about how exercise can help, check out Hartman's article Fix Your Posture to Maximize Muscle.
9. Use high-intensity interval training to lean out.
High-intensity interval training (HIIT) is a type of conditioning workout that alternates between short bouts of high-intensity exercise and short bouts of recovery. When compared with traditional cardio, HIIT is a much more time effective way to lose fat. For example, researchers at the University of Western Ontario discovered that people burned more fat by doing 4 to 6 30-second sprints (with 4-minutes of rest in between) than by slogging through 60 minutes of incline treadmill walking.
10. Increase your non-exercise physical activity.
Keeping your diet and training program on-point will go a long way to helping you look hot on the beach. But you should also pay attention to what you do outside of the gym and the kitchen. Increasing your non-exercise physical activity will enhance the results of your training and make it easier to maintain a beach body well into fall. Simple changes like using the stairs, walking for relaxation instead of channel surfing, and being active on the weekends can make a big difference.
11. Select exercises that emphasize the core.
A strong, firm core is on everybody's beach body checklist. You can sneak extra core training into your workout by selecting exercises that require extra core strength. For example, choose pushups instead of the bench press, train your lower body with the front squat and deadlifts, and replace cable rows with body weight rows.
12. Shape your Glutes with weighted hip thrusts.
Every set of swim trunks and bikini bottoms look better with a set of well-developed glutes! Incorporate hip thrusts into your workout to sculpt a well-rounded beach body.
- Sit on the floor with your back against one side of a bench or box with your shoulder blades resting on the edge, arms reaching out to the sides, and knees bent to a 90-degree angle.
- Exhale, press your feet into the ground and raise the hips up so you create a straight line from your knees to shoulders by squeezing your Glutes as tightly as you can. Be very careful not to arch your lower back into hyper-extension. Focus on keeping your ribcage and your pelvis tucked towards one another throughout the exercise.
- Inhale, lower the hips down towards the floor as you raise your upper body up, and return to the starting position.
Tip: You can make this exercise more difficult by placing an Olympic bar with weights across your hips.
It’s time to get started. The beach body you’ve always wanted is closer than you think. Imagine how much more confidence you will have in just a few weeks. Plus, you accomplished your goal without putting your body through an unhealthy crash diet.
Following this beach body guide for a smarter exercise plan, high-quality nutrition strategy and re-energizing sleep will help get you the body you crave in much less time than you thought possible.
For more tips on eating healthy check out 12 Delicious Food for Low Carb Eating.