With summer just around the corner, now is the time to start losing the pounds and get ready and lean for the beach. For most people, losing even a few pounds of fat will make a drastic difference in overall appearance and muscle definition. Here are five easy-to-implement tips that will help you to be leaner by the time summer rolls around.
Drink More Water
Water is not just crucial for weight loss, it is crucial for health in general. Almost every process that occurs in the human body involves water in one way or another, so staying properly hydrated at all times is important. When attempting to lose weight, the need to drink enough water becomes even more critical. Staying properly hydrated will help your body metabolize stored fat more efficiently, and will also prevent you from retaining water. Even though stored water isn’t bad for you, it looks exactly like fat underneath the skin. The best part about using water to encourage weight loss is that it is one of the easiest things you can possibly do. Everyone’s heard the old refrain — drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day. Turns out that’s not entirely accurate. The Mayo Clinic recommends about 13 cups a day for an average male and about nine cups a day for the average female. If you exercise, you are losing more water than the average person. Therefore, it’s important to drink water before, during and after your workout — an extra 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 cups should be sufficient for a short workout. Make sure to drink plenty of water as you go through your day, and you’ll be preparing your body to lose weight much more easily.
Do Light Cardio Before Breakfast
While you want to save your intense aerobic exercise for later in the day, a light cardio session before a healthy breakfast can help you to burn off some extra fat to get your day started. The emphasis here is on “light” cardio, which can mean anything from a vigorously-paced walk to a leisurely bike ride, so long as it elevates your heart rate. Some studies have found that moderate aerobic exercise on an empty stomach can burn as much as 20 percent more calories than the same exercise after a meal. This is also a great way to wake yourself up in the morning without the need for excessive stimulants like coffee.
Work Out Your Entire Body
Many people who are trying to get into shape for summer make the mistake of focusing their weightlifting efforts on just one or two muscle groups in order to make them larger or firmer. These are usually the muscles that show well, such as chest and bicep muscles. However, it is important to exercise your entire body if you want to lose weight and look better. Of course, there is no such thing as spot fat removal. In other words, no number of sit-ups is going to cause you to lose belly fat, because stored fat is burned from all over the body, regardless of where the energy is being used. However, muscles burn calories when they are being worked and while they are rebuilding from anaerobic exercise. If you want to get the most out of your weightlifting, make sure that it is balanced and that you use a routine that will exercise your entire body. This will also help to keep your body looking symmetrical and well-toned overall.
Use HIIT in Your Intense Cardio
HIIT, or high intensity interval training, is a great way to optimize fat loss from cardio exercises. HIIT is essentially the division of an exercise routine into periods of extremely intense activity and periods of rest, with each period kept very short for maximum fat burning. One example of a common interval that is used in HIIT is a 30 second period of activity followed by 30 seconds of rest, repeated several times throughout the workout. HIIT helps to keep workout intensity high by promoting short bursts of extremely intense activity. HIIT intervals can be applied to just about any intense cardio exercise and are a great method for maximizing the amount of fat burned both during and after a workout.
Maintain a Reasonable Caloric Deficit
Of course, you will need to cut your caloric intake in order to lose weight effectively. However, don’t make the mistake of starting on an extreme starvation diet. These diets may cause you to lose weight at a rapid pace for a week or two, but are singularly unhealthy and usually result in binge eating when they are broken. For most people, a reduction in caloric intake of 10 to 20 percent will be sustainable and healthy, but it is always advisable to check with a physician, particularly if you have any existing medical conditions. Extreme reductions in caloric intake should never be undertaken without the detailed instructions of a physician. Instead, take the long-term approach of losing a little weight every week through healthy diet and exercise. As a general rule, 1-2 pounds per week is the most that a healthy person should try to lose.
While losing weight can be a long and difficult process, implementing these five simple tips can make shedding the pounds in time for summer much easier. Stay consistent with your weight loss program, as your body will change gradually over time, rather than all at once. Above all, remember to put health above how you “look”, as there is no point in losing weight if you become less healthy in the process.