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Get Ready for Swimsuit Season

May 08, 2014 12:57AM ● By Erin Frisch

It’s time to start peeling off our winter and spring layers. It won’t be long before we can hit the beach! This past winter with its polar vortices and fierce winds may be a memory, but some of us will find a reminder or two as we shift into summer clothing—too many muffins have left us with muffin tops and other weighty woes. If that sounds like you, too, getting ready for swimsuit season could mean losing a few pounds from here and there. Here are some tips that can help.

Just Say No … to junk food

Whether you decide to do a spring juice cleanse, or detoxification, or not, take advantage of the seasonal produce that’s tasty, fresh, and available at grocery stores and farmers’ markets. Leafy greens, asparagus, fresh berries, and other produce are ingredients for fast, easy meals that fill you up, not out. If you relied on take-out and fast food when dark winter days left you too tired to cook, it’s time to change your ways.

If you aren’t familiar with the Mediterranean-style diet, it’s a way of eating that will not only help you manage weight but also offer better health. It relies on lots of fresh veggies, legumes, nuts and seeds, low-fat dairy products, and fruit, and minimizes meat, especially red meat. Protein is provided by lean meats such as skinless chicken and turkey, in addition to fish. The primary fat used is olive oil. It’s a healthful and delicious way to eat, and foods are prepared quickly and simply. No one wants to be in the kitchen when sun and warm temperatures beckon!

And Yes to Exercise!

After sheltering inside all winter, it’s time to step up your exercise. You can visit a gym and have a trainer point you in the right direction, but you don’t have to. Think cardio, and make conscious changes—walk instead of driving when you can, take the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator, and park farther away from stores and offices—all good ways to burn more calories everyday. Walking remains one of the best ways to increase fitness and manage weight. Aim for 20 to 30 minutes of aerobic exercise a day, and to drop pounds, aim for the hills. Seriously, walking up hills is great for shedding winter weight, plus then you get to walk down.  Break out your bike or kayak, take the dog for a run, or do some yard work. If you can find ways of exercising that you enjoy, you’re much more likely to stick with them.

Sculpt your Glutes and Abs

If your goal is a sleek swimsuit physique, pay attention to those abs and glutes. Squats, crunches, lunges, push-ups, and plyometric exercises are great ways to shape and tone your body. These exercises also burn calories. Aim to exercise at least three times a week. Prioritize your workout sessions and allot a certain time of the day to exercise. Early mornings work best for many people, as there are fewer distractions. If you exercise in the evening, be sure it is early enough that a restful night’s sleep isn’t compromised. Inadequate or poor sleep has been found to negatively impact weight management. In addition, remember to drink plenty of water when you exercise to replace fluid lost by building up a sweat.

Shape your calf muscles

Legs look longer when calf muscles are toned. You might consider adding one- or two-pound ankle weights when you’re walking or exercising. Riding your bike as part of your exercise program has the added benefit of toning calves.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, if you haven’t met your goals by the time the beach beckons, don’t worry about it. Most everyone else out there is in the same boat, or on the same beach blanket! Beach volleyball, anyone?

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