Summer is in full swing – hurray! – that can mean only one thing, the desire to get fit and to get fit fast! So you’re dying to know, what’s the latest super highway-speed approach to a fantastic beach body? You may be shocked to hear this, brace yourself, hold on – the quickest way to get fit is by not doing anything quick at all.
Irene Petsopoulis, M.Ed., Psych., a Lifestyle Coach and Psychologist recommends starting your get-healthy-now journey with the most important factor at play. “It starts with a body positive attitude,” Petsopoulis shared, as we sipped green-tea in her bright, airy studio, “taking the time to plan for your hectic schedule, and redirecting attention to the parts of your body that make you feel good rather than a constant focus on the parts you want to improve.”
Here are 3 realistic ways to improve your health and stay focused all summer.
Change Your Lens and Redirect
Healthy doesn’t start with what to change about your body; it starts in your brain. We all have parts of our bodies that we can do without (well not literally but…). Be it the unflattering monikers we assign to ourselves, like Buddha belly, jelly rolls, saddle bags, muffin tops or love handles – we are our own worst critics, and the mirror can sometimes act as an enemy. But research shows that the number one factor which contributes to an improved healthy lifestyle is a healthy state of mind.
Tips for Staying Body Positive:
- Your brain and your body need to become major BFF’s. Maintaining a healthy, realistic image of yourself can ensure a healthy path towards achieving all your fitness goals.
- When it comes to days when you are feeling body negative, Petsopoulis recommends a redirect. “Focus on the parts of your body that you love. If you have great lips, wear red lipstick. If you love your legs, throw on a pair of mini shorts.”
- Keep in mind that the other body areas you’re less psyched about are a work in progress. Check-in with yourself to make sure you are feeding your mind the cherry of positivity. Stop perpetuating the negative thought patterns that hinder your achievement and damage your self-image. Time to move forward not, backwards.
Petsopoulis says, “Health is not temporary. It’s lifestyle. Beach bodies, quick fixes and crash diets, will put your body in deprivation mode. A long term solution to healthy living is to incorporate smart choices into your everyday life, like planning.”
Planning Makes Perfect
Embrace the concept of planning for a hectic schedule. No one knows your time and what you’ve got to handle better than you. “The best way to address a hectic schedule is to plan,” Petsopoulis recommends committing to a planned schedule freeze. Blocking off an hour or two of “slow-time” on a weekend or weeknight, can help you prepare your healthy food plan before the stressors of that hectic week start again.
Top Tips for Planning Healthy Meals:
- Share meals – grab a buddy, a colleague you get along with, or a roommate,and have fun pre-cooking your lunches together 1 night a week.
- Buy a crock pot and get crocking – a crock pot is a mega easy no frills way to enjoy delicious meals erring on the side of low effort. Chop, drop, and crock.
- Plan your food according to what you have coming up each week. If you know you’ll be on the run, prepare cold smoothies or salads in advance. Both can be stored in mason jars for up to 3 days.
- Eat good protein – “Lean beef, chicken, turkey, fish, or mix chick peas with rice for a whole protein. A handful of nuts a day is a great source of protein and avocados have the ‘good’ fat that you can incorporate into smoothies”
- Stick to an 80% vs 20% rule when managing your nutrition. As long as the majority of food you consume subscribes to clean eating – allow yourself a vice once in a while, and in moderation. It’s all about how you feel.
KISS Your Workout
KISS is much more than a rock band from the seventies or what you wish would happen to you every time you see your crush. Although we really want your crush to like you very much, we mean KISS in a slightly different way. KISS is also an acronym for “Keep It Simple Stupid”. We’re also not calling you stupid – we’re calling complicated stupid. Just trust us. The more complex and inconvenient your workout is the less likely you’ll be into doing it regularly. Petsopoulis says to, “Keep things practical, and goals attainable,” as to not lose steam.”
Top Tips for KISSing Your Workout
- Morning is magic. Start your workout before life begins. “No one is looking for you in the morning before 9 a.m.,” Petsopoulis mentions, and the day’s stressors haven’t yet impacted your disposition. Get cracking early.
- Try a local Bootcamp. “Because a Bootcamp is more intense of a workout, it is perfect for the busy person who doesn’t have the time to commit to a longer gym workout.” A Bootcamp offers you the same workout in almost half the time.
- Who says 30 minutes of exercise a day needs to be done all in one shot? Break up your workout into three high-energy, intense 10-minute workout sessions. Once before breakfast, once at lunch, and once before dinner. We all have 10 minutes to spare for a healthier life.
Whatever you choose to do, stay positive. Getting to a super duper healthy lifestyle doesn’t happen overnight, but it does happen. The quickest fix is that you’ve decided to give back to your body by moving forward in a confident way. Best summer decision ever.