At the start of the year, when thoughts turn to the impending summer months and exposing our bodies on the beach, we are usually sufficiently motivated to put ourselves through regular, intense sessions at the gym.
We pay close attention to our diets, follow the rigorous workout routines afflicted upon us by the fitness instructor, and begin filling our wardrobes with smaller clothes in readiness for hitting the sand.
But then, once the cool winds of autumn set in and it’s time to once again dust off the winter clothes, motivation wanes and with it that hard-earned beach body. Next year, however, we’ll do it all again. A grueling cycle of getting in shape, letting it all go and then starting from scratch every year. This is comparable to walking up the down escalator and stopping halfway for a rest.
Getting to beach body fitness is a tough battle, so once you achieve your goal it is better to maintain it long term. Ditch the in shape/out of shape cycle and stay beach body fit year-round. It’s easier than you think!
Abandon The “Dieting” Mentality
Lots of people are typically tempted to jump on a crash diet at the first sign of sunny weather. This type of thing might produce short-term results, but the usual calorie restrictive diets are not sustainable. Most of these diets are tedious and life-draining, which would explain why most people abandon them at the earliest opportunity.
To maintain a fit body all year round, you have to ditch the short-term dieting mentality. Instead, adopt a lifestyle buoyed by positive eating habits. Carefully planned and periodical dieting can help you to achieve certain goals, but maintaining the results will require a commitment to providing your body with the proper nutrition all year long.
This doesn’t mean eating lettuce for breakfast lunch and dinner. It means consuming a balanced diet of protein-rich foods, fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats.
Set Year-Round Goals
Think about how motivated you were to get in shape for summer. Perhaps it was the goal of being able to slip into a stylish new bikini, or to show off washboard abs while sunning yourself. After the summer season, those goals disappear and so you lack the required drive to keep working out. You’re tempted to eat lots of “comfort foods”, and thoughts of fitness fade to non-existence.
To stay beach body fit all year round, you need to set goals throughout the year. This could be milestones that align with holidays or events, like Valentine’s Day, Christmas, or birthdays.
Slimming to fit into a Christmas party dress, for example, might be a useful goal. If you want to lose a few extra pounds, buy a smaller outfit and set a goal to fit into it by a certain date.
Change The Scene
Boredom is another key reason that people abandon their fitness efforts midway through the year. Going through the same exercise routines, with the same people, in the same place can soon become unstimulating. It helps to occasionally change things up a little.
If you generally exercise outdoors, you can easily change your surroundings by going to a different park, run a different route, or try a few indoor sessions. Likewise, if you usually go to the gym you can exercise outdoors or, especially in the winter months, do a few workouts at home.
Whenever feel that familiar feeling of lackluster simply try a change of scenery. You will be surprised at how invigorating this simple act can be.
Variety is The Spice
In addition to a change of surroundings, it is also helpful to change your workout routine periodically. A mundane, repetitious routine can quickly drain motivation, causing a build-up of excuses and a reduction in exercise frequency. It’s time to spice up your fitness regime with a little variety.
Try experimenting with fitness classes. There is usually a wide selection of these to suit all fitness levels; Spin, Zumba, Boxercise, the list could go on. You could also get out of the gym environment altogether and take up some other fitness boosting activity such as dance classes, rock climbing, or even outdoor yoga.
There is a whole range of activities to choose from. Maintain your usual exercise routine, but be sure to switch things up every now and then. Your body and mind will be grateful.
Cheat from Time to Time
Seven days a week slogging it out in the cold, dark gym, five meals per day of tasteless, dull food, and countless weekends of watching your friends down exotic cocktails while you sip spring water. It’s enough to make you cheat. And why not go ahead and cheat! You’ve earned it after all.
But, slow down a second. This doesn’t mean wolfing down copious amounts of junk food in one debauched weekend. No, instead of blowing all your hard-earned gains and risk high cholesterol due to overeating, consider giving yourself a small reward. Depending on your metabolism you might allow yourself one cheat meal per week.
Cheat meals are moderate indulgences that do not jeopardise your overall fitness goals. They should allow you to remain on track without adverse urges to start eating the wrong kinds of foods again. View these meals as a reward for all your hard work during the week. But remember, if you haven’t earned the reward don’t have the cheat meal.
Easier Done Than Said
Maintaining a year-round beach body is easier than the alternative. If every new year you hit the gym after six months of hibernation, it will be like living in Groundhog Day or year. The same process of scrambling to get fit in time for those sunny days and skimpy clothing over and over again.
Instead of rushing up the down escalator and having to stop halfway for a rest, why not take it at a steady pace. You are less likely to require a rest stop, and before you know it, you will find yourself at the top.