Oh, spring! The clouds are parting, and we can all get ready to shed those layers…of winter fat. Yes, it’s time to stop complaining that it’s too cold to exercise, because it isn’t, and start making workout playlists for all the sweat you’re about to pump over the next three months. There’s no easy way to do this – you can forget about the vibrating machines that apparently help you drop kilos within minutes – and the only way to do this is by training your mind so that you can train your body.
Recipe: a summer body ready to look great in a bikini. Ingredients: litres of sweat, afternoons of grunting, and mornings of sore muscles.
Let’s do this.
Forget about shortcuts
See that commercial for magic pills and breakthroughs in exercise technology that promise to help you shed kilos in a week? You can forget about them. In fact, you can forget about shortcuts altogether: they don’t exist as far as we’re concerned. The only way to get the body you want is going to be difficult, but don’t be discouraged. Getting into a routine is the hardest part, and once you’ve got that down pat, it’s only a matter of finishing that extra set or running that extra kilometre. Easy! Don’t forget that exercise can be fun too – Team and individual sports are some of the best ways to get fit, so pull out your yoga mat, polish off your surfboard fins, or lace up your basketball shoes.
Diet, diet, diet!
If you’re keen on getting that summer body, keep check of your diet. Exercising without maintaining a healthful diet is like turning on the air conditioning with the window open: it’s a waste. So make sure that you make the most of your routine by sticking to a diet that complements your exercise routine.
And don’t worry too much about giving up chocolate and other junk foods – that’s often impossible in the long run, so don’t feel too bad! You can still treat yourself, and the best way to feel great about yourself overall is to have a cheat day. That’s exactly what it sounds like: once a week, treat yourself to whatever you’d like to eat and drink, but make sure that you don’t stray from this, lest you open the floodgates to binge snacking!
Build up your mental strength
Often, the biggest obstacle in your path to getting that perfect beach body is purely mental. When you’re puffing for breath and you can feel a stitch coming on, or if your arms are starting to feel like they’re made out of lead, just remember to push through. It can feel like it’s impossible at times, but it isn’t. Put your head down, grunt if you feel one coming on, and push through. You’ll thank yourself later, because there is nothing better than knowing that you’ve persisted where others have given up.
A final word on this, however: if you feel a sharp pain at all, stop immediately. Sharp pains are to be distinguished from the softer burns that you’ll feel with exercise – a burn is okay; a sharp pain means something is wrong. Rest, see a doctor if you need to, and don’t put too much stress on the area.
Joe Bedet is a personal trainer who has helped several clients achieve their goals for their perfect summer body. When he isn’t in the gym, he’s at the beach helping his mates fix their surfboard fins.