Get that toned body this summer

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Summer is just around the corner, and with it comes shorts, tank tops and swimsuits. If you are like most people out there, you are concerned about the body that has been hidden underneath layers of clothing for the past few months. Although it is only possible to lose 0.5 to 0.9 kilograms per week safely, there are several steps you can take to ensure your body is ready for swimsuit season. 

1. Increase water consumption: Since, even the mildest case of dehydration can reduce workout performance, it is crucial to increase your water intake during times of increased activity. Drinking at least 1 cup of water before a workout, and 1/2 cup for every 15 minutes of intense activity is enough to keep hydration levels stabilized. Throughout the course of a day, aim to drink water (ounce) at least half of your own body weight (in pounds) to help flush excess sodium and any retained fluids that can cause bloating. For example, a 68-kilogram woman weighs 150 pounds and should consume 75 ounces (2.2 litres) of water per day. To help increase calorie burn even further, make sure to add ice to your water. Several studies have shown that after consuming ice water, the body must work harder to maintain a stable core temperature.

2. Avoid high-carbohydrate foods: Foods high in carbohydrates such as crackers, pasta, cookies, bagels and bread cause bloating and water retention which can mask even the most defined abs. Eliminating these foods and eating more fresh fruits and vegetables will not only reduce your overall calorie consumption, but will also keep the digestive system running smoothly.

3. Take note of your posture: Practicing proper posture will not only help you look a few kilograms lighter, it will also tighten your abdominal muscles. Try to make a conscious effort to always stand tall with your shoulders held back, hips slightly tucked and stomach muscles tightened. Over time, your abdominal muscles will become used to this stance and will stay tight without any effort.

4. Strength train: Anyone wanting to look great in a summer clothes must strength train. Lifting weights burns fat much faster than cardiovascular exercises, and gives the underlying muscles a more shapely appearance. Numerous studies have shown that lean muscle tissue burns slightly more calories than fatty tissue while at rest, meaning the more lean muscle on your frame, the more calories it will burn throughout the day.

Aside from building muscle, strength training also gives the metabolism a significant boost. A single 30-minute weight lifting session can increase the fat-burning power of your metabolism for up to 48 hours. The best way to reap this benefit is to exercise as early in the morning as possible to increase calorie burn for the rest of the day.

5. Focus on your abs and glutes: The abdominal muscles and glutes (butt) are usually of the most concern when it comes to swimsuit season. Keeping these two sets of muscles tight and toned is the secret to looking great at the beach or pool. Performing moves such as planks and squats can help burn excess fat and give both of these areas definition.

One of the most effective moves for tightening the stomach is the reverse crunch. To perform this move, lie on the floor with your hands behind your head.  Keeping your stomach muscles tight, curl your hips off the floor and bring your knees toward your chest,with your feet together. Slowly lower back to the starting position. Aim to complete 3 sets of 15 crunches.

Squats are the number one move when it comes to tightening the glutes. To perform a squat, stand straight with your feet shoulder width apart and your arms down by your sides. Bending at the hips, slowly lower you body as if you are sitting in a chair while extending your arms in front of you. Stop when your thighs are parallel to the floor. Return to the starting position. Try to perform 3 sets of 20 squats.

6. Stay away from alcohol: Alcohol causes the body to retain water, giving it a bloated appearance. By reducing the amount of alcoholic beverages you consume, you will reduce your overall calorie intake which will lead to weight loss. Replacing these beverages with water will keep your body hydrated and reduce bloating. If you do decide to have a beer or glass of wine, consume 1 glass of water before and after to counteract its dehydrating effects.

By incorporating one or all of the above tips, you can begin to shed excess pounds, tone muscles and have that slim, trim and toned body in no time.


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