The countdown is on. Before you know it, it’ll be time to strut your stuff at the pool or beach. And here’s some good news: You can undo all that winter comfort food and couch time and get the body you want. But you have to start early. For a lot of guys, early spring marks the season to start getting in shape for summer.
This timing makes a lot of sense because real, sustained weight loss and/or significant muscle gain takes more than a crash diet at the end of May. Those carved abs and big muscles you see at the gym? They didn’t happen overnight and neither will your transformation. To get the body (and the confidence) you want this summer, you need to start now.
Here’s are some things you can do now to get the beach body you want by summer:
Begin planning before you think you need to.
Getting out of shape doesn’t happen overnight. So it makes sense that you’d need equal time to get back to a body you feel good about. Whether you’re looking to build muscle or lose weight, having time to slowly chip away at your goal is key to sticking with it. If you opt for crash diets or insane workouts, you’re likely to feel deprived and/or exhausted and give up on the whole idea. So, don’t wait. Make a plan now, get it down on paper and get started.
Focus on your body, but don’t forget your skin.
Obviously, a good beach body plan requires a solid eating plan and regular exercise. But there are other things you can do to look great this summer, too. For instance, having a men’s skin care routine throughout the year is an easy way to keep skin looking hydrated and healthy–and avoid dry, flaky skin that comes with harsh winter weather. Just make sure the products you use include a men’s facial moisturizer with SPF. Sunburns and skin cancer don’t look good on anyone.
Establish your baseline and your goal.
The first step in getting a body that can rock that bathing suit? You’ve got to get real with yourself. That means getting a good look in the mirror and/or stepping on your bathroom scale. Not only does this give you an honest picture of how much damage you may have done over winter, it gives you a tangible place from which to set a target. According to a 2016 Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics study, setting targets leads to greater long-term weight loss. So, whether it’s losing a certain number of pounds or gaining inches in muscle, make sure you know where you’re starting from and how far you have to go.
Focus on long-term lifestyle changes instead of diets.
Once you’ve established your baseline and goal, the next step is to find an eating and exercise plan that works for you. And while it can be tempting to go for the quick fix, it’s best to avoid super-strict fad diets or over the top exercise plans. Not only are your chances of sticking to them slim, even if you do reach your goal, you likely won’t maintain it, according to a 2010 Psychology Today article. It says that 95 percent of all dieters regain any weight they lose in 1-5 years.
So instead of extreme diets, opt for smaller changes that you can maintain long-term. Things like eliminating soda and fast food, having a healthy smoothie for breakfast or hitting the gym at least three times per week are examples of lifestyle changes that can help you maintain that buff body for the long-term.
Connect with those who push you to work harder.
When it comes to getting motivated, who you surround yourself with matters, according to a Journal of Social Sciences study. It states that individuals gravitate toward the level of fitness of those around them. Befriend a bunch of slouches and chances are you’ll soon be taking the easy way out. On the other hand, find a workout partner who is super-fit and you’ll probably find yourself upping your game. So, whether you team up with a trainer, a friend or group, find people that make you want to go that extra mile.
Get outside in the sun.
Let’s face it–finding lifestyle changes you can commit to long-term is really about finding activities you like doing anyway. And for many of us, when the weather starts improving, getting outside into the fresh air is a huge motivator to get moving. But did you know that being out in the sun has the potential to do more than just make you feel good? According to a 2017 study in Scientific Reports, when fat cells closest to the surface of the skin are exposed to blue light produced by the sun, they begin to shrink. Talk about a good reason to get outside! Just don’t forget the sunscreen. One easy way to protect your skin is to use a men’s facial moisturizer with SPF.
Finally, when you fail (and you will), get back on track.
When it comes to healthy eating and exercise, no one is perfect all of the time. Everyone falls off the wagon at some point. So, whether it’s too many beers with the boys or junk food you just can’t seem to resist, don’t let small setbacks get you down. Just get back on track with the lifestyle changes you chose for yourself and stick with them. Do that, and chances are you won’t even have to get prepared for summer next year–you’ll already have the beach body you want.