The days left before summer fun are numbered, and the race to get bathing suit ready is officially on! Avoid stress later and get in summer shape now, so when all the invites start coming in for pool parties, summer vacations and beach outings, you’ll be ready to confidently show off your bathing suit bod.
Don’t waste time trying fad diets or last-minute schemes to shed pounds. Instead, start working on cultivating a healthy lifestyle now with lots of physical activities to help you get in shape, tone your stomach and maintain your hard-earned muscle. If you work to get fit now, you’ll enjoy the benefits of looking hot and staying in shape all summer long! The countdown to summer has begun—find out how to get fit and look fab this beach season the South Beach Diet way.
Get fit and feel good all summer long with these simple yet effective fitness activities!
1. Keep up with cardio.
Running is and always will be a fantastic way to get in shape. Running is not only easy to do anywhere and anytime, but it also works just about every muscle in your body and can increase your body’s entire range of motion. You’ll get gorgeous tone and definition in your legs, calves and arms from running so you can show off your lean muscles—no matter what beach you head to. When you run, you also utilize your core strength to keep your spine straight and your body balanced. So there really isn’t any part of your body that won’t feel the burn after a run, meaning every inch will be worked to get you in perfect summer shape!
- Start sprints.
Cardio workouts don’t have to be boring, 30-minute jogs or endless loops on the treadmill. One study published the International Journal of Sport Nutrition Medicine and Exercise Metabolism found that two-minute sprints improved fat loss and increased metabolism just as much as a workout of 30 minutes of running. If you don’t have a lot of time to spare for cardio, get in shape for summer with some simple sprints each week to jumpstart your fat burning during and after a workout.
- Walk it off.
If you don’t have time for a run or the energy for a sprint, try just going for a brisk stroll. Walking is an activity most people can enjoy and fit into their routines, especially in the warmer months. If you keep your pace at a brisk three miles per hour, you will enjoy all the benefits of a fast-walking cardio session. Your larger leg and arm muscles will get a good workout, and you will increase your heart rate to improve your overall physical fitness. Take a nice evening walk or try walking on the way to the store. The next time you go somewhere, try to think about if you can walk there. If you can’t walk there entirely, you can always park farther away from your destination to get in some extra steps and be on your way to looking sexy all summer!
2. Tone and define abs.
- Do crunches and more crunches.
To get a flat belly, most people start with crunches. It’s a great way to tone up that tummy and get fit! Check out South Beach Diet’s easy exercises for a flatter belly > to learn some new types of crunches that will keep your core in top shape.
- Try planking it.
If crunches aren’t your thing, you can always get into plank mode! Luckily, there are a few different types of planks, so you can find one that suits your stride. The plank is a well-known position for its core conditioning and benefits to balance, flexibility and posture. While in plank mode, you will feel the burn in your abs, glutes and hamstrings so you can define all those areas that are on full display during summer time. Whether you want to do a side plank, a swivel plank or just a plain old two-minute plank, practice planking as often as possible for eye-turning tone and definition to your core. Check out our guide to getting toned abs without crunches.
3. Build muscle and burn fat.
Both building muscle and maintaining it cost calories, making your body better at using energy and fat. So if you want to turn your body into a fat-burning machine, the best way is to build muscle with strength training and increase your metabolism to burn fat faster with high-intensity interval training.
- Try strength training.
The goal is not to turn into the Hulk, but rather to build a strong, lean and toned body that will help you burn more calories throughout all your daily activities. Using weights or your body’s gravity, you can practice strength training to build muscle all over to get sleek definition for those perfect summer curves. Activities such as lifting weights, stair climbers, cycling, lunges, push-ups, sit-ups and squats can help you build muscle and get stronger. Your body will burn more calories to restore and maintain all your toned muscles, so make sure to keep your body in top shape with weight lifting and strength training activities before summer gets into full swing.
- Incorporate HIIT workouts into your schedule.
High-intensity interval training provides the body with short bursts of intense activity followed by recovery periods of low-intensity. These types of activities will get the blood flowing, increase your heart rate and increase metabolism for up to 24 hours to help you burn fat–even long after your workout is over! High-intensity training is also widely practiced due to its ability to target belly fat. A study published in Sports Medicine found that HIIT workouts were significantly successful at reducing fat in the body, especially in the ab and core area. Get a flatter stomach and make your body better at burning fat by doing HIIT workouts daily!
4. Remember to recover.
- Restore with yoga.
Your body needs rest days, and you can’t always be sprinting, crunching and HIITing. Yoga is a great way to let your body recover while still helping you get into shape. With the stretches and poses involved in yoga, your body will still get a good workout as you restore movement to muscles and strengthen your body. According to a study published in Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, practicing yoga imparts social and physical changes that can improve muscle tone, reduce appetite, decrease stress and improve metabolism. These combined benefits from yoga are what make sustaining weight loss and staying in shape easier. So on your rest days, make sure to practice some yoga moves to experience the mental and physical benefits that will make you look and feel your best on the beach this summer!