5 Tips to shape your body for summer

By Kirstin Buick
23 September 2013

5 easy ways to shake off your winter blubber and get your body beach-ready!

1. Begin now, procrastinate later

As human beings we’ve become familiar with making up excuses, even more so where exercise is concerned. Most of the time our excuses are so good that we even convince ourselves they’re true. It’s too cold / I’ve been eating badly this week anyway, so I’ll just start next week / I’m tired / I just don’t have time. But let’s face it, invariably they’re all little lies we use to make ourselves feel better. So, don’t wait for the beginning of next month. Don’t even wait for Monday. Get off the couch and ditch that greasy bag of fast food today. There is no better time to start your exercise and healthy eating routine than right now.

2. Stick to your schedule

One should look at exercise as something as important as brushing your teeth. If you were to only exercise “when you feel like it”, you wouldn’t be breaking a sweat very often. You want the beautiful beach body, right? The fact is, you can't hire someone to do it for you, and nothing is going to happen unless you DO something. You are more likely to make exercise a habit if you train daily. Plan and schedule your exercise sessions for the week ahead and respect yourself enough not to break this commitment. Try this for the next 30 days and once you’re past this, it will become much, much easier.

3. Start slow…

Aim to exercise at least three times a week for a minimum of 30 minutes per session. It’s vital that you take it slow in the first week, just to get all the right body parts warmed up, and get the juices flowing. Try any low-impact exercise like walking, jogging, cycling, rope skipping or light weight or high repetition circuit training (or any combination of these). Try to keep it up for at least 30 - 45 minutes. You can even throw in a few abdominal exercises for good measure. You can increase the intensity of your exercise sessions by 5 -10% each week and aim for 45 - 60 minutes. There’s no need to exercise for more than one hour a day, however, the shorter the exercise time, the more strenuous the exercise must be. The good news is that you don’t even have to make up the 30 or 60 minutes in one day. Research shows that as long as you accumulate 30 - 60 minutes during one day, it is as good as a single exercise session.

4. Dieting is wishful shrinking

Save yourself the time and effort looking for the latest miracle diet. You know in your heart of hearts, it hasn’t worked in the past, so why would this time be different? To put it simply, there is no such thing as a quick fix. One of the biggest mistakes people make is going the ‘extreme’ route, by starving themselves while exercising vigorously for 3 hours or more per day. All you will accomplish through extreme calorie restriction, is slow down your body’s metabolism which will actually prevent it from burning fat. Plus, soon you will have no energy to exercise and you will gain the weight within a blink of an eye. Follow these golden rules: eat regularly, keep food portions small and cut out the sugar.

5. Think before you drink

We can be forgiven for drinking more coffees, lattes, hot chocolates and gluhwein during the frosty winter season. With summer around the corner, (and less layers of clothes to hide behind), we need to limit our alcohol, coffee and tea intake as much as possible. Remember to stay clear from energy drinks, fruit juices and flavoured water (which are all packed with processed sugar). Instead, aim to make water, still or sparkling, your go-to beverage choice this spring. You can add a slice of lemon for flavour, and by drinking ice cold water, particularly after exercise, you can even boost your metabolism. Other drinks to consider include green tea, low-fat smoothies and vegetable juice. If you really miss your glass of wine or sweet pink cocktail at the end of a hard day, then opt for champagne – it has one of the lowest calorie counts when it comes to alcoholic drinks.

- Prof. Elmarie Terblanche

Professor Elmarie Terblanche is the chairperson of the department of sport science at the University of Stellenbosch.

READ MORE:

3 Great exercise strategies to boost your metabolism

Top five healthy eating habits

10 exercise myths

Main image: lululemon athletica on Flickr

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