7 Top Tips to Look Great by Summer!!

Hi Everyone,

I wrote a post previously (see here) about Winter being the time to put in the hard work to get the body you want in the Summer. Well that is absolutely true Summer bodies are made in Winter. However if you over indulged a bit over the Christmas period (like me) and are keen to have a body to die for when beach season comes around (or at least not look like a beached whale), then what can you do to turn things around in the next few months.

Below are my 7 top tips for getting yourself beach ready and looking as well as feeling fantastic when Summer comes around. After all feeling fantastic on the inside will go a long way to helping you look great on the outside.

7 Top Summer Tips:

  1. Drink as much water as you can: Yeah yeah, yeah. I know you’ve heard it all before, hell I’ve even written about it numerous time (here and here) for example. It just happens to be true however. Did you know that drinking a large glass of water will make your body burn 30 calories more over the next hour than it would have done without drinking it, even if you just sit on your arse for that hour. 6 glasses a day = almost 1300 calories a week burnt off. Water also allows your body to work more efficiently, flushing toxins out of your body, improving your skin and also allowing more effective processing of proteins and good fats to help you build muscle and shed fat. Finally drinking lots of water make you feel more full, reduces your appetite and actively helps you shed weight.
  2. Cut out the booze: I know, I know, this is a hard one right. Well I don’t mean completely. This is a site for ordinary people and most of us like a few beers or glasses of wine now and then. However what I do is try to be good and have no alcohol at all from Sunday night when i hit the pillow, until Friday evening. Why? well a number of reasons. You sleep better which is major factor in both physical and mental wellbeing. You sleep well you look better, simple. Proper rest also allows your body to rebuild its cells and grow muscle. As well as sleeping better you will be cutting out tonnes of calories you probably didn’t even think about. A pint of Lager contains approx. 190/200 calories, wine even more at about 210. If you can cut out 8 beers or 8 glasses of wine a week that’s roughly another 1600 calories gone (2900 including the extra water.) Just these two measures alone over the period of 3 -5 months will have you shedding pounds in weight.
  3. Eat right: At this point I can feel you frowning at the screen “damn this all sounds like hard work” you’re saying. Well I have two answers to that. Firstly, I’m all about moderation and enjoying your lives so believe me I’m not saying you have to deny yourself completely. Secondly, yes it does involve a bit of effort…..shock horror!! Did you really expert to transform your lazy arse into Elle Macpherson or Dwayne Johnson without having to do just a little work? So what do I mean by eat right? Well in previous articles (here , here and here) I go into a lot more detail. However lets keep things simple. Try to reduce portion sizes by 10%. Cut as many starchy and heavily refined carbohydrates as possible (that means less bread, less white pasta, white rice, potatoes). Cut out or at the very least reduce sugar as much as possible (sorry, that means very few cakes, biscuits/cookies, sweets and definitely cut out the soda’s and fizzy drinks). Eat lean proteins – Fish, Chicken, lean red meat every day and get as much salad and vegetable matter down your neck as you can. Again, for me, the same rules apply as with booze. Cut it our Monday to Friday and then (within reason) enjoy what you want at the weekends. Do this and again that will be many hundreds of calories less per week. Combine with the above two measures and you’ll be rocking and rolling in terms of internal health and weight loss.
  4. Aerobic Exercise: Or as it’s also known cardiovascular exercise. By this I don’t mean an old school John Travolta aerobics session (leg warmers are soooo last century). Unless you love running and have plenty of time on your hands I also wouldn’t go the route of long distance running (nothing against this, it’s just not time efficient in getting you fit and looking good). I would go the way of HiiT (High Intensity Interval Training, or if you are more old school Circuit training. Pick 6 exercises that work your whole body between them. Do each exercise for 20/30 seconds or 10/12 reps with no rest in between. Once you have completed all 6 rest for 1 minute. Then repeat 3-6 times depending how fit you are. It should only take 10-20 mins max and you can do it in your garden, a park or even in the house if you can’t get to a gym. If possible try to incorporate some weights such as dumbbell/kettlebell into 2 or 3 of the exercises as this will tone muscle as well as build fitness and torch calories. This article and video demonstrates some examples you can use.
  5. Do some Strength/Weight training: I know that some of you hate weights. Ladies either get embarrassed using weights or mistakenly believe that they will turn into a 1970’s style East German shot putter as soon as they pick up a Dumbbell. Guys either don’t know what to do or again feel embarrassed by the muscle heads in the gym. Ignore all that, bite the bullet and do some strength/weight training. This sort of training tones and shapes your body like nothing else can. For ladies it will shape your legs and butt, define your shoulders and neckline and help shed those saggy backs of your arms that you hate when wearing summer dresses (yeah i know about those). It doesn’t have to be Olympic style lifting ladies, some smallish dumbbells and the right exercises will do the trick. Guys, unless you shift some weights around now and then it’s going to be very hard to tone up the muscles underneath that weight you have lost. Every man in the world looks better with slightly wider shoulders, a narrower waist, toned, fat free arms and a chest that is firm and free from moobs. We are not trying to turn you into Arnold Schwarzenegger here (unless you want to), just simply putting some muscle and toning onto your frame.
  6. Be targeted: I mean this in two ways. Firstly think about what you want to achieve by the Summer and write it down as a goal committed to paper becomes much more tangible and real. It could be I want to lose 2 dress sizes and tone up my butt. Or for guys, I want to get into 34 waist jeans and have muscular arms. Set a date to it eg by 1st if June i want to….. . Once you have done that you also need to be targeted in terms of your actual body. Take a look in the mirror and be honest. what are your good points that don’t need much work, and which are the bits that are heading south faster than you would like or are just a bit to squidgy and need some work. Once you have done that tailor your approach around those parts. If you are a lady and you want to firm up your bottom and legs then focus your training around those a little more (lots of lunges and squats). If you are a guy with a Pigeon chest or saggy triceps then target those areas and hammer things like presses and crossovers or push downs. It’s just common sense.
  7. Have fun and enjoy life: This is probably more important than all the others. None of the stuff above should be a chore. It’s all about moderation in life. By working hard and having some discipline some of the time, you can have fun and enjoy the good things in life the rest of the time. However it’s more than just that. I mean really enjoy life. Spend time with your kids, be stupid, laugh a lot, put work second to family, go on long walks, visit amazing places, eat good food, try new things. Get out and experience the world and squeeze the enjoyment from it. This is critical. People that are happy, enjoy life and are vibrant just exude a sense of wellbeing and simply look better. If you want to look and feel fabulous this summer the trust me, the six points above may help you along the way, but it’s this one, number 7 that will make all the difference.

Take Care,

John

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Winter is the time to transform your body!!

summer-winter-bodiesWe all train and try to keep fit for a variety of different reasons: Health, weight loss, sport, to achieve a goal or simply for enjoyment. However one thing I think very few of us would deny is that we all like to look good, or as good as possible. That is especially the case as we move into summer. When the tree’s start to bloom, the sky brightens and the weather gets a bit warmer every lady I know swaps from winter wardrobe to summer wardrobe………often involving hours of deliberation and a great deal of standing in front of mirrors muttering to themselves.

It’s not just the ladies, us guys, or at least the vain ones like me, break out the t-shirts and shirts, and then stand side on to the mirror patting our guts and saying “I really must do something about this beer belly”.

Winter Training:

However what so many people fail to realise is that by then it is almost certainly too late, or is going to take an incredible amount of hard work and self discipline to really make the changes you want in time to hit the beaches in great bikini shape for July/August.

There are a few points I would make here. Firstly so many people see fitness, weight and shape control as exactly what I’ve just described……a summer sport if you like. Something not to be thought about too much when the days are cold and nights are dark. Then panic sets in as soon as spring comes. Well it’s pretty clear that that is the wrong way to approach things. Rather than crash diets and crash fitness plans it’s far better to take a much more year round, lifestyle and holistic approach. In previous articles here and here I talked about why continually going on seasonal or crash diets don’t work and how by being consistent over the long term you can achieve amazing effects AND still lead a fun and treat filled life.

Secondly, by leaving things late you will have to work much harder, physically punish yourself much more and also be much more rigid in your eating plan. If you have any significant weight or fat to lose or intend to build any real noticeable muscle, then trying to do that in 8-12 weeks is so much more difficult than doing it over a 6 month period. By going more slowly you can gradually shed the weight, still eat healthily but also still allow yourself the odd blowout. You can also work more effectively on your fitness regime as you will have more time to build in both cardio and metabolic training to help you shed the pounds or kilo’s, as well as time for muscle building and toning to give your body the shape you want.

winter-weight-trainingFinally, most people have more time in the winter. There are less BBQ’s to attend, holidays to go on, sunny evenings with friends and a bit less temptation to drive you off course. Even as a committed fitness fan I freely admit that when it is a sunny Sunday afternoon in the garden all I really want to do is crack open a couple of beers or get stuck into a nice chilled bottle of white wine, often washed down with some fattening snacks. In winter there is less cause to dress in your finery and go socialising and more chance to dig out the old tracksuits, set yourself some targets and warm yourself up by working hard. Then by Summer you can emerge like a Phoenix from the flames with a brand new set of feathers and looking magnificent (well that’s the plan at least).

So how should you go about this. Firstly you should spend five minutes giving some thought to and ideally writing down your goals. It could be as simple as “I want to fit in those skinny jeans that used to fit me”, or “I want to lose 20 lbs in weight”, or it could be something much more specific like I want to be able to run 5 miles and have built my shoulder, chest and arm muscles up significantly.

Then you simply break that down into workable and mouthful sized pieces. So if you want to lose 20lb in weight, that’s roughly 3.5 lb a month or just under 1lb a week. Believe me with some dietary changes and an increase in your exercise that is achievable for anyone over 6 months but would be far more difficult if not impossible in 8 weeks. Similarly if you hit the weights fairly hard in a structured programme, throw in some cardio and also make some changes in what you eat, then you can really transform your build and musculature over 6 months, much more so than you can do in 8-12 weeks.

The final and fun benefit of training hard in the winter is that it is hidden. Just think how you’ll feel Ladies on that first sunny weekend (about the end of June if you live in England) when you finally shed the heavy jumpers and wear a sleeveless blouse for the first time and all your friends gasp at how you have traded in your batwings for svelte and toned arms…….it can be done. So what you really need to do, as with almost everything I advise is change your mind set. It’s September now, the dark days are coming (if you’re in the northern hemisphere at least). Plan ahead. Picture how you want to look and feel by May/June next year and put your plan into practice now. Summer bodies are built in Winter so this Winter make it count!!

rocky-balboa-winter-training

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