OPINION: The Ideal Summer Beach Body Is Unrealistic

Summer body. Beach body. Bikini body.

Let's be honest: these are all pretty obnoxious terms less likely to motivate you to live healthier, and more likely to make you feel bad for not meeting a toned, tanned, impossible ideal of beauty.

But as much as distasteful as they are, it's also a fact that more people want to know the fastest way to get in shape as summer approaches — and many are likely to get sucked into crash diets and gruelling workout programs. Here's what to consider doing instead.

Start by nailing your nutrition

To shed body fat, you need to eat less — not exercise more. Here's more detail on why that is, but basically to lose weight you need to consume less energy from food than you expend via physical activity, including exercise.

A more extreme way to do this is to tally up how much energy you're consuming from food, by punching everything you eat and drink into an app like My Fitness Pal. Then, calculate how much energy you burn each day (there are total daily energy expenditure calculators that can do this for you, like this one). If the energy from food is less than the energy you expend, you're on track to lose weight.

But that strategy can be a bit complicated and mathematical and obsessive. If it's not for you, there are simpler approaches to improve your overall nutrition without having to bother about counting calories.

Try reducing the size of your existing meals by about a third (a great tip offered to Coach by dietitian Kate di Prima) — except for the vegetables. Add more of those to your daily diet, in as many colours as possible. Cook from home, using minimally processed ingredients. Prep meals in advance. Start actually listening to when your body tells you it's hungry, and when it's full. Treat yo-self to your favourite foods in moderation, and enjoy them when you do.

And whatever you do: don't do a juice cleanse or detox!

Cut back on booze and sugar — but don't cut anything out completely

The simplest foods to reduce in your diet are "discretionary kilojoules", which is the fancy way of saying "energy you don't need to consume to survive".

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Alcohol is the biggest source of discretionary kilojoules for Australian adults. In terms of straight-up kilojoules, downing a bottle of wine is like downing almost one-and-a-half Big Macs. If you're pouring a glass or two of red every weeknight, you will notice huge, fast changes if you do nothing else but limit your drinking to weekends (or take a break from booze).

Other sources of discretionary kilojoules include biscuits, cakes, chocolate, confectionary, soft drinks — foods high in sugar, which is not great for your health or weight in high quantities. You don't need to cut sugar-heavy foods (or any food) entirely, but scale back if you're eating them every day.

In the lead-up to summer, it's all too common for people to cut way back on everything they eat. Though you'll probably lose fast weight that way, it's a terrible strategy for your long-term health — both physical and mental.

If your new restrictive diet means you're always hungry, or lacking energy, or miserable, it is not a good diet. You need to eat more, by adding nutrition-packed foods into your meals.

Train hard — and recover hard

If you've set a goal to tone up for summer, don't half-arse your workouts. When you're exercising, ask yourself: "Could I increase the intensity, speed or weight a little?" If the answer is yes, do it. If that makes it harder, good. You need to overload your body to force it to grow and change.

Another common exercise pitfall when you're chasing a summer body is pushing yourself to do workouts you hate. If you dread slugging it out on a treadmill… don't slug it out on a treadmill. Pick up some weights, or join a group fitness class, or try HIIT, or go swimming, or do yoga, or head outside for a walk, or...

There are endless workouts to choose from — and if you still can't find one you like, find one you can do with a friend. Then you can force each other to go, and at least have fun hanging out together.

But the most common exercise pitfall: exercising too much. You won't become beach-worthy by pushing yourself to work out hours a day, every day — you'll become burned out and injured. Listen to your body, schedule in rest or active recovery days from exercise, and aim to get seven to nine hours' sleep a night.

Check your expectations

Think about what you want your summer body to look like, then ask yourself two questions. First: Can I actually look like this? We're now well into spring, and if you're a little out of shape it's unlikely you'll radically transform by December 1. Whatever goal you set yourself, make it achieveable.

Second: How will I feel if I don't meet this goal? This question illustrates why the quest for summer/beach/bikini bodies can be so toxic — because it's ultimately doomed to make us feel bad if we don't look a certain way by a certain time.

That's not to say you shouldn't work on getting healthier for summer. But work on getting fitter and stronger and happier — so you can better enjoy the season, and beyond — and not on hoping you'll be slim enough or toned enough to meet some unrealistic standard.

Ultimately, remember that cliched-but-valuable advice: if it's summer, and you have a body, you already have a summer body.

READ NEXT: Why you should exercise to get fit — not lose fat

Source : https://coach.nine.com.au/2018/10/09/12/15/summer-bodies

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OPINION: The Ideal Summer Beach Body Is Unrealistic

Source:Ad Age

OPINION: The Ideal Summer Beach Body Is Unrealistic

OPINION: The Ideal Summer Beach Body Is Unrealistic

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OPINION: The Ideal Summer Beach Body Is Unrealistic