Fitness: Shape up for the beach

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Summer has arrived early in Brussels, and no doubt you’ve got your mind set on a beach holiday somewhere exotic. Problem is, this means you need to fit into that bikini that you hardly fitted into last season…

Suddenly, panic sets in, as you remember the feeling of trying to stay covered up on the beach, while others frolicked at the water’s edge. And to add fuel to the fire, like so many others over winter, you opted for the warm and snug environment of one of many Brussels restaurants and bars, as opposed to visiting to the gym. Not good!

You realize it’s time to take action. Where do I start, what should I do? With an abundance of misleading information available at this time of year, we are bombarded with ‘quick fix’ solutions to acquiring that ‘bikini body’. Now, I’m not going to provide you with a secret solution to turn you into this year’s super beach babe, but I can definitely provide some simple lifestyle considerations and guidelines to get you on your way. And they work!

So, let’s address the basics.

DON’T PROCRASTINATE

Make this a priority! You will never regret exercising, starting is the hard part. Ensure you have your exercise bag packed and ready to go, try to go straight after work or in the morning to ensure that you don’t get lured away by other offers. Start gradual, let the body adapt, and it will quickly. From here – go for it!

SLEEP AND WEIGHT LOSS

Poor sleep can seriously harm weight-loss efforts – a bad night’s sleep can leave you without enough energy for the upcoming day and it will ruin your fitness workout, disturb your metabolism, increase cravings for sugar, increase cortisol and induce an unwanted state of laziness.

BALANCED BREAKFAST

It’s the most important meal of the day – it kick-starts your metabolism, keeps your blood sugar levels from fluctuating and gives you the energy to stay focused.

RESISTANCE TRAINING

Don’t forget your ‘weight’ training. Building lean muscle tissue improves metabolism and overall calorie expenditure while toning and improving shape. Exactly what you need to look good on the beach.

LIMIT SUGAR INTAKE

Watch your sugar intake, and look out for hidden sugars you’re consuming each day (anything ending in ‘ose’ has sugar in it). Fluctuating blood sugar levels will seriously harm your ability to burn body fat and neither will it help you to stabilise your energy or maintain concentration throughout the day.

HYDRATE

Drink water and lots of it. Increasing water intake will help all metabolic and cellular processes in the body. And no, caffeinated or sugary drinks are not a substitute.

LIMIT ALCOHOL

The lure of the terrace after work can be enticing over summer. However, we must remember than alcohol is very high in sugar and therefore calories. Alcohol sugars are absorbed directly and very rapidly from the stomach into the blood, affecting our insulin levels, and all the ‘energy’ that isn’t used is basically stored as body fat. You won’t achieve our ‘beach body’ with a glass of wine every night.

SUPER FOODS

Try and eat as many of the ‘super foods’ as possible. These foods are very high in anti-oxidants, vitamins and minerals. Perfect for helping you prepare for your holiday. Beans, Blueberries, Broccoli, Oats, Oranges, Pumpkin, Salmon, Spinach, Tea (green or black), Tomatoes, Turkey, Walnuts, Organic Yogurt, Peppers.

Take action and don’t start tomorrow, start today. Small changes will make a big difference and you’ll feel great for it!

Richard Earney

Fitness & Wellness Manager

Aspria Group

www.aspria.be