Summer is just around the corner which means it’s time to start thinking about getting in shape in preparation for spending more time outdoors. There are a number of reasons why you should consider getting in shape for summer, especially because this is set to be the first proper summer for many people following the COVID-19 pandemic as restrictions around the world begin to ease.
If, like many people, you have put on a bit of lockdown weight and are wanting to get back into your pre-lockdown shape in time for summer, we’ve put together some useful tips that might help you.
Why do you want to get in shape?
The first step to getting fitter is to establish why you’re doing it. For some people, it’s because they want to feel more confident and think that getting in shape will help them achieve that. Other people might have an event in summer or later in the year that they want to slim down and tone up for, such as a wedding or a holiday, whilst some people simply want to improve their overall health and change their lifestyle for the better. All of these are acceptable reasons, but it’s important that whatever your reason for getting fitter, it’s for your benefit and not someone else’s.
Set a realistic goal
Once you’ve established why you want to get in shape, you need to think about setting a realistic goal within an attainable time frame. It’s always a good idea to start small and keep adding to it rather than setting a large goal, to begin with. This is to avoid feeling disappointed if you don’t meet your target.
It’s equally as important to set the target within a reachable time frame, otherwise, you will end up feeling disappointed if you don’t reach your goal.
Next, you need to start preparing. This applies to both exercise and food. A good start is to prepare a meal plan. It’s worth doing a two-week plan that you can alternate so you don’t get bored of food too quickly. You should account for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and then make a list of healthy snacks you can have in between. There are lots of meal plans online, or you can make your own.
Having a plan will take away the guesswork and prevent you from grabbing quick wins that are typically calorific and high in sugar/salt.
After you’ve got a meal plan, you need to follow a good exercise plan. You can do this either by hiring a personal trainer or going to the gym, or by purchasing gym equipment to use at home. This is often a good solution for those who struggle to find the time or motivation to go to the gym.
When you’re starting out on a fitness journey, you shouldn’t expect to instantly be able to run 5k or bench press your body weight; it’s better to start small and build your tolerance up. You can buy a starter kit comprising of things like barbells, gym sandbags, medicine balls, and resistance bands.
When you’ve got some equipment, you should aim to exercise for at least one hour every day, but if you’re starting from scratch, start two or three times a week and take rest days in between. When you build up your tolerance to exercise, you can begin doing it more frequently.
For overall fitness, try to incorporate elements of cardio, strength training, and balance/flexibility. This will enhance your general health and fitness across your whole body, and combined with a healthy meal plan, you should start to see results within weeks – just in time for summer!