Swimsuit season is closer than you might think. Feb. 15 marks 100 days until the official start of swimsuit season. Does beach (or pool) season give you chills? Feel happy in your swimsuit in 100 days with these seven principles:
No. 1 Don’t drink your calories: Juice, soda, fruit-like drinks, sweet tea, fancy coffee concoctions and other beverages are all packed with sugar. Sugar, especially liquid sugar, is the most fattening stuff. When you drink it, your brain doesn’t register it as calories in, so it doesn’t dampen your appetite accordingly and you just keep eating or drinking.
No. 2 Train smart: The first thing most people think of for fat-loss exercise is slow, steady aerobics, or cardio. However, trying to use cardio for fat loss is a lot like using bloodletting to cure disease. Both are traditions based on dogma — neither science nor real world results — and both have had the powers that be endorse them. Save your time for what really matters, like metabolic resistance training and interval training. Exercises like squats, lunges, deadlifts, push-ups, and sprints will get you far better results in less time than jogging ever will.
No. 3 Wait until Friday or Saturday for treats: It’s a rare person who can make it a whole week without a “treat” such as french fries. On average, most people will only be able to get away with two treats (maybe three) per week and still make progress. If you have your first treat on Monday, then you only have one left for the entire week. Wait until Friday or Saturday and your week will be so much easier, and your results so much better.
No. 4 Use pressure to your advantage: Pressure isn’t usually comfortable, but it is always powerful. Tell the positive people in your life what you’re doing so they can help you stay on track.
No. 5 Know your numbers: Every week or two, measure your progress or lack thereof. The tape measure beats the scale as a useful measure, especially for females. (How much do you weigh in the mirror?) It is oh so easy to kid yourself into thinking that skipping a workout or having extra “treat meals” won’t slow you down. But it’s a powerful wake-up call to see that the little lie you told yourself wasn’t true when you go to check the measuring tape. Record the numbers. Adjust your behavior or possibly your perception of your behavior accordingly.
No. 6 Stay in the real world: At the end of every workout phase at my gym in Washington’s Georgetown neighborhood, we have our members fill out a feedback form to ensure that we don’t miss a chance to do a better job for them. At the end of one member’s program, he said the best thing to happen to him over the past month was, “Finding a cinnamon bun the size of my head.” The very next question is, “Based on your perceived compliance, are you satisfied with your rate of progress?” His whole answer was, “No.” It is impossible to be “doing everything right and eating perfectly” and to simultaneously make no progress.
No. 7 Be realistic about goals: Last but not least, be realistic about what you can get done in 100 days or fewer. To look like the folks on the cover of a magazine, you need to have their genes and you need to work at physical perfection as a full-time job. Have realistic expectations for your potential and the amount of time you can realistically invest if you have a career and/or family. You can (and should) still be comfortable taking off your shirt, but you don’t need to expect strangers to come up to you and ask if they can wash their clothes on your stomach.
Josef Brandenburg is a Washington, D.C.-area certified fitness expert with 11 years of experience.