Memorial Day marks the unofficial start of summer, and there’s no better way to welcome the warm weather than a dip in the pool or a trip to Lake Mead. Although we should all love our bodies no matter their physical form, the fact remains that we live in a vain society. Even if you afford yourself the generosity and self-esteem you deserve, you might feel more comfortable poolside with a closer approximation of the “beach body.” Here are five tips to help you get there.
1) Energize Early
As we learn more about the human digestive system, we are coming to learn that microbiota – the critters that live in our stomachs, intestines, and colons – are more important than we’d ever imagined. Nonetheless, at a basic level we gain weight when we consume more resources than we expend. While many people are quick to search for “the perfect diet,” they often overlook their power to affect the other side of the weight-gain equation: metabolism.
Simply put, the more active we are, the more quickly our bodies burn through resources. From an evolutionary standpoint, this makes sense: fatten up and lay low during the bountiful times so there is energy to spare for a long migration to the next food source. There are several ways to tell your body, “We’re going to have an active day.” Morning exercise is arguably the best way to set the tone, but studies suggest that a cold shower can also wake you up from head to toe, giving you energy throughout the day. From a dietary standpoint, choose a breakfast with at least eight grams of protein to fight off the mid-morning munchies until it’s time for a healthy lunch.
2) Practice Makes Perfect
There are at least as many “perfect workouts” as there are “perfect diets.” The fact of the matter is that what works for one person might not work for another – for various reasons including baseline healthiness, experience with exercise, digestive health, time obligations, and others.
If there is piece of advice that works for everyone, it is this: find what works and stick with it. Many people benefit from the unforgettable monotony of routine – it just becomes second-nature, and they bury those impulses to skip a day or take a pause. Even with a modest exercise regimen, the consistency of daily activity can yield powerful results. If you are just starting out, consider walking or jogging just a short distance – maybe a mile or less. Calisthenics, yoga, and other body-weight exercises are other low-impact ways to get on the right track.
3) Tone vs. Bulk
In the vein of “do what works for you,” know this – how you work out affects your results. Generally speaking, women are more interested in toning their bodies than building large muscles. Men’s objectives tend to vary more. The key thing to remember is that low-weight, high-repetition exercises are good for toning, while the opposite (high-weight, low-rep) activity is better for building bulk and raw strength.
If you are exercising to perform better at a particular activity (like rock climbing or basketball) building strength in certain areas may be important. But if you are just trying to build healthy habits – or shave a few pounds for your bikini’s sake – a tone-focused regimen might be best. This goes for running, too – long distances at relatively low speeds do more work to tone and improve aerobic capacity while short, intense sprints build the muscles and anaerobic (performing while short of breath) resilience that those activities require.
4) Do More Core
We refer to the “core” for two reasons. First, it is physically at the center/core of our bodies. Second, strength in this area is at the core of high performance elsewhere. A strong core can improve your running speed, your flexibility for leg exercises (like deep squats), and your strength for upper arm workouts (like lat pulldowns). The best part is: core exercises require zero equipment – at a minimum, just tuck your toes under a chair or sofa and grind out some sit-ups just like you’re back in middle-school gym class.
5) Hit the Gym – But Don’t Get Hit Back
If you don’t want to limit yourself to body-weight exercises you can perform at home, sign up for a gym with an arsenal of equipment. Many gyms today offer very low monthly fees, banking on the idea that users will sign up and then not worry about never showing up. But not you! You have already committed to a strict regimen of exercise that works for you. And because you have decided to start your day – rather than end it – with an energizing workout, you won’t be crowded out even at the cheapest of mass-enrollment gyms.
Dive in, but do so with caution. Modern exercise equipment offers more variety and ingenuity than ever before, but it also carries more risk. Ask a trainer to show you how a machine works if you are not familiar with it. Also, take a look at the moving parts – are any of the retaining pins loose, bent, or cracked? Are all the pulleys affixed and the cables in good shape? These precautions can help you avoid serious injury. If you do suffer an injury at a gym in southern Nevada, be sure to contact Benson & Bingham, a Las Vegas personal injury law firm right away for advice.