If you’re already thinking about summer—the beach, pools, and swimsuits—you’re probably getting ready to show off what you’ve got. Getting toned and fit is a great goal, especially if you focus on building muscle and eating well. You can get the body of your dreams with a little work, exercise and discipline. And don’t forget that every body is an amazing body, as long as you’re happy and healthy.
Eat a balanced diet.
Try to eat meals that contain protein, whole grains, fruits and vegetables. Aim for 3-4 small meals throughout the day, and eat a healthy snack (such as nuts or yogurt) in between. Try to avoid processed foods and those that contain a lot of sugar in order to stay healthy.
Eating healthy is always recommended, but you should try not to restrict yourself. Starving yourself can actually hurt your chances of losing weight and gaining muscle, as your body goes into starvation mode and your metabolism slows down.
Drink water when you are thirsty.
It’s the healthiest drink out there (plus it’s calorie-free). Avoid juices and soft drinks as much as possible, as both contain a lot of sugar. Keep a bottle of water handy so you can take sips throughout the day.
Also, drinking water before a meal can help keep you full so you don’t eat as much. Try drinking 1-2 glasses of water before you sit down to eat so your portion sizes stay small.
Try to avoid alcohol and caffeine, as both can dehydrate you.
Start to walk.
Try going for a 15-30 minute walk a day. This is a great way to start a workout slowly, especially if you don’t like the gym. Eventually, you can walk 45 or even 60 minutes at a time.
Make sure to warm up and cool down by walking slowly for 5-10 minutes before and after your workout.
Wear good running shoes with arch support so your feet and legs don’t get hurt.
Do cardio exercises to increase your heart rate.
Cardio exercise routines help burn calories and get your body in shape. To start, run or bike for half an hour a day for 2 weeks. If you think you can handle it, increase it to 1 hour a day for better and faster results.
The goal is to get your heart rate at a healthy rate so that you burn off the extra energy. If you get out of breath, it’s okay to stop and rest for a minute or so. However, don’t stop for long enough that your heart rate slows down.
When you’re ready to stop, take a walk to cool down. Walk at a brisk pace first, then gradually slow down. Remember to stretch after your exercise routines.
Try swimming as a full-body workout.
Swimming takes the weight off your joints by keeping you active. Head to a local community center and swim laps for 30-45 minutes a few times a week. As another option, try joining an underwater exercise class for a regulated routine with a professional.
Swimming is a great option if you have joint problems or arthritis.
Make sure you stay hydrated before and after swimming. It’s easy to forget to drink water when swimming in a pool full of it.
Build muscles with strength training.
Lifting weights will help you tone your body and accentuate your muscles. Try bicep curls , dumbbell squats, dumbbell rows, and dumbbell lunges for a full-body workout. When you’re just starting out, meet with a personal trainer or watch online tutorials to focus on form.
While everyone’s strength training routine is different, people often vary the routines they perform. For example, you could work your legs on Monday, your arms on Tuesday, your core muscles on Wednesday, your back on Thursday, and rest on Friday.
Try strength training 3-4 times a week when you’re just starting out.
Start slowly and with a low weight when you begin strength training. You could injure yourself if you lift a huge weight.
Try an exercise routine at home.
Not everyone wants to go to the gym, which is fine. You can do many exercises at home, such as push-ups, sit-ups, plank poses, and lunges.
Before you start exercising, do a dynamic warm-up by moving all the joints, muscles, and body parts you’ll be working through their full range of motion. Increase your heart rate for at least 5 minutes so you don’t injure yourself during the routine.
Do exercises to tone your abs and butt.
You can shape both at the same time with a few key exercises. If you want to do the dirty dog exercise, he starts on all fours with a flat back. He raises one leg to the side keeping it flexed, like a dog lifting its paw. Hold the position and slowly lower your leg back down.
Another great exercise for your abs and butt is the glute bridge. Lie flat on your back with your knees bent and pointed at the ceiling. Engage your core muscles to lift your butt off the ground, pointing your hips toward the ceiling. Hold the position for a few seconds, then slowly lower yourself down.
Start riding a bike.
This is a great way to burn calories while outdoors. Cycling alone probably won’t give you massive muscles or washboard abs. However, it can increase your endurance and build leg muscles. Try bicycling 2-3 times a week if you want a fun workout that will never get boring.
If you don’t have a bike, consider using a stationary bike at the gym.
Riding a bike is also a great cardio workout.
Try high-intensity interval training.
This involves performing a high-level activity for a short period of time. If you want to do high-intensity interval training, or HIIT, choose an aerobic exercise like running or cycling. Warm up for 5 minutes and then do the exercise for 1 minute at the highest level of intensity you can achieve. Rest for 2 minutes and then do the exercise again for 1 minute. Continue until you have exercised for about 20 minutes.
HIIT intervals vary and you can choose the time that is right for you.
Try to do HIIT exercise routines about twice a week.
Sleep between 7 and 9 hours a day.
Lack of sleep actually impairs your ability to lose weight. If you don’t get enough sleep, your body produces more glucose and insulin, and this can actually cause you to gain weight. Therefore, lack of sleep is not appropriate for healthy weight loss. Try to go to sleep around the same time and wake up around the same time every day.
Less sleep also destroys your motivation to exercise and eat right. We’ve all been there: It’s the end of a stressful day at work, you’re tired, and you don’t have the energy to do what you told yourself you would do at the beginning of the day. Getting a good night’s sleep helps keep you energized and motivated so that when it’s time to hit the treadmill, you’ll have the willpower to force yourself to do so.
Keep your self-esteem intact.
Having an amazing body is different for everyone. If you are satisfied with your appearance and you like your body, then you have an amazing body. Try to make a list of all the things that your body allows you to do (walk, run, jog, sit, stand) and read it often to appreciate what you have at any given moment.
While getting healthy is always a good goal, try to focus on building muscle and strength and not losing weight or losing weight. This will help you focus on the positive instead of what you want to change.