Having fun during beach season is easy, just head over to anyplace where the sun is shining, sand is hot and water is flowing. All you need is a towel, pair of flip flops and a beach body you're proud of showing off. Getting a nice beach body isn't that hard. All you need is a healthy diet mixed in with some exercise.
Clean Up Your Diet
The first step in getting a beach body is to clean up your diet. The types of foods you eat in addition to the number of calories you take in will greatly affect your body fat percentage. A lower body fat percentage will allow your muscles to appear more defined giving you a chiseled and toned look.
Start off by getting rid of all foods that are high in sugar: soda, fruit juices, doughnuts, pastries, chips. Because sugar is digested and absorbed very quickly, eating a meal high in it will give you a sudden rush of calories. If you don't burn those calories off right away, your body will begin to store them as fat for later use.
You should also avoid foods made from white flours (white bread, multi-grain breads, honey wheat, pasta) for the same reason. White flour is digested a lot quicker than 100% whole wheat flour. Always check the nutrition label and make sure that the first ingredient is 100% whole wheat flour. Eat foods that are made from 100% whole wheat flour and are high in fiber. These are digested a lot slower and won't give you a rush of energy that needs to be burned off right away. Good examples of these foods are vegetables, fruits, beans, whole wheat bread/pasta, brown rice and oats.
You should also limit your intake of fatty foods. There's nothing wrong with eating fat but it is a lot more energy dense than the other macronutrients meaning that the same weight in fat contains more energy than in carbohydrates and protein. Stick to lean sources of meat such as chicken, turkey, fish and some cuts of beef. Use low fat dairy and stay away from anything that is deep fried.
Lower Your Calorie Intake
Once you start making healthier food choices, your calorie intake will go down because healthy foods are generally lower in calories than those that are highly processed and filled with sugar. This isn't a blank check to eat as much healthy food as you want. You can still gain weight by eating too much food, healthy or not. Calories are still important, even when on a healthy diet. You can get an estimate of how many calories you need per day by using the calorie calculator. To get a more toned appearance, you need to create a calorie deficit (eat less calories than you burn) so your body starts using its fat stores for energy resulting in a decreased body fat percentage.
Meals + Snacks
Your meal timing and size can also play an important role in getting a more toned body. If you eat a few large meals per day, your body will be flooded with a large amount of calories in a short period of time. Since you won't be able to use all the calories right away, they will get stored as fat for later use. A better strategy is to eat smaller but more frequent meals. Your body will better utilize these kinds of meals and store less calories as fat.
Once your diet is all cleaned up, you can move onto exercise. Exercising will help you build muscle and create a large calorie deficit to quickly lower your body fat percentage. Some might be tempted to do hundreds of sit ups in an attempt to get a toned midsection. If you're thinking about taking this route, don't. Doing a lot of sit ups will give you strong abs but won't do anything to burn off the layer of fat that's covering them. Only a calorie restricted diet and calorie burning exercises can do this. Sit ups don't burn a lot of energy.
To get a beach body, you have to incorporate strength training and cardiovascular exercise into your routine. Cardio will help burn calories which will lower your body fat percentage while strength training will build muscle which will give you a defined look. Cardio should be done 3-5 times per week for 45-60 minutes per session and strength training should be done 2-3 times per week working out every major muscle group each session with a full body workout. You can use the SH Trainer for a free workout routine.
The Bottom Line
By using a beach body plan that combines a healthy diet with proper exercise, you'll look better, have a body that will impress others and feel great.