April is the month where dead New Year’s resolutions come back to life, as many people prepare for the upcoming summer months. Most people do not wait till June or July to start exercising and getting that bikini worthy body, so this is indeed the best time to start losing weight, toning up and gaining confidence.
The Weight Loss Formula
The idea behind weight loss is pretty easy. To shed those pounds, you simply have to burn more calories than you consume. This means making smarter food choices or reducing what you normally eat, and regularly exercising to burn what you take in.
While the general context is very easy, getting results is unfortunately not as simple. There are temptations along the way such as delicious food, alcohol, fun events and other activities that keep you away from the gym. Sometimes, life just happens and gets in the way of all your attempts.
Losing weight then requires plenty of effort and willpower, and can be done with the right plan. So, whether you are planning to strip down and shimmy in a bikini by June or simply want to feel healthier and stronger, here are some tips and tricks that you can follow to make it all happen.
First things first, what’s your plan?
Before starting, you have to come up with a plan. And no – saying something like “I want to wear a bikini soon” does not count. Your plan has to be a feasible one, and when we say feasible, we mean something that you can achieve.
- What’s your target weight? Do you want to lose 10 pounds? How many inches do you take off from your waist line? Remember though that healthy weight loss entails losing up to 2 pounds a week or approximately 8 pounds a month. Anything more than that is considered unhealthy.
- How soon do you want to lose weight? Do you expect to drop three sizes by June?
- What kind of exercises do you want to do and how often do you want to do it?
- How many calories do you want to burn when you exercise?
Write down your plan on a sheet of paper and keep it in a place where you can see it. With your goals in mind, you can now pick the best steps to take and incorporate them in your plan.
Some Exericse Tips
You can lose weight with diet alone, but it will take time. Exercise can help speed up your efforts, and can definitely help you look better by helping you build and tone muscles. Here are some helpful exercise tips to keep in mind when you start:
1) Do cardio
To get the best results, you will need to combine some form of cardio and muscle toning (or building, if that’s what you like.) Cardio or cardiovascular exercise refers to aerobic exercise, which involves constant movement to keep your heart rate up for a certain period of time. This is a very important aspect of exercise because it contributes to weight loss, as it burns more calories a minute as opposed to lifting weights or doing other forms of anaerobic exercises. Cardio also has a host of other benefits. It can strengthen your heart and lungs, reduce stress, reduce your risk of heart disease, improve your mood, give you more energy and help you sleep better at night.
You can choose from many forms of cardio including running, brisk walking, jogging, swimming, boxing, dance, cycling and high intensity interval training (HIIT). Experts recommend at least 30 minutes of cardio to keep yourself healthy, but you may need to do a little bit more (around 60 minutes) if your aim is to lose weight.
2) Do strength training
The other side of the fence to getting a bikini body is strength training. After all, you do not just want to lose those fats. You also want to keep yourself strong by building and toning your muscles and defining specific parts of the body. This will lead you to have a leaner and sexier look. Strength training also helps you lose weight over time because muscles actually burn more calories than fat. Once you develop better muscle mass, you can achieve more with your regular exercise routine. If you are after a sexy body, strength training will also help you define and improve areas that you want to enhance like your abs, arms, legs and bum.
Strength training exercises include weight lifting, resistance training, calisthenics, yoga and Pilates. As opposed to cardio, these usually take a little less time at around fifteen to thirty minutes per session, and can be done without heavy equipment. For faster results, you can also try programs that combine both cardio and strength training like Plyometrics or Insanity.
3) Set a schedule
After deciding on you cardio and strength training exercises, you can start setting a schedule. If you want to boost things, you can try exercising four to five days a week, with at least 30 to 60 minutes of exercise. You can alternate between strength and cardio, or do cardio every day and alternate your strength exercises by focusing on different muscle groups each day. You can also get in touch with a fitness expert, so they can put together a great schedule for you.
4) Join a gym or a class
This may entail spending a little bit of cash, but there is logic behind this move. While you can do cardio and strength exercises at home, not everyone has the willpower to sustain their weight loss efforts inside their living room. Statistics even backs this claim up, stating that 50% of all home exercise equipment end up unused. Joining a gym helps you stay engaged and on track, and keeps you motivated so you can achieve your goals.
5) Don’t stop
Always look for exercise alternatives, especially when circumstances pull you away from the gym or from your regular jogging route. Travelling is one of the top-most culprits that stop people from following through with their routine, but you can work around your trips and find ways to exercise even at the airport or in your hotel room.
6) Have fun
Do not forget to have fun. You are more likely to succeed if you do something you like, so if you hate the treadmill, skip it! Go swimming or ride your bike everyday instead. Join a fitness class with your friends, take up something exciting like pole dancing or acrobatic yoga. Feel free to mix up your workout to avoid burning out. When you have fun, you actually forget you are doing hard work.
Exercise, coupled with the right eating habits is bound to produce great results. If you follow your routine religiously, you should be seeing changes in your body even during the first month. Keep doing it and you will definitely be ready by summer!
The last thing to keep in mind is that you should not stop just because summer is over. Exercise should be a constant part of your life, as it keeps you healthy and strong. While you have been working hard to prepare for summer, you may want to take it easy and lessen your exercise time or work out less than five days a week and that’s fine as long as you continue to keep your body moving.