Summer is right around the corner, and that means – swimsuit time! With travel and activities opening up again, many people are excited to go back to the beach or local pool. And of course, everyone wants to look great in their new swimsuit.
If you’re like most people, you might have put on a few pounds during the pandemic (don’t worry, it’s happened to the best of us). But now that summer is almost here, you’re ready to kick those pounds to the curb, get your beach body back and look amazing in that new bikini!
But with just a few more weeks till the first day of summer, you might be asking yourself, is there still time? Don’t even worry, you’re not too late – you can still get fit and look great at the beach by changing up your diet and kicking your workout program into high-gear.
But first, you need to decide what your body needs. Do you want to lose fat and shed those extra pounds? Or are you looking to build muscle in target areas like your butt and abs? Depending on what your workout goals are, you’ll want to try different strategies to best maximize your time and achieve your workout goals.
For losing fat quick, it’s important to really watch your diet and make sure you are cutting back on the sweets and soda. Make sure you are burning more calories than you are taking in every day, and you’ll see those pounds drop fast. You can even try intermittent fasting to really see a big change quick.
For gaining muscle, you’ll need to actually eat more calories (healthy calories like protein and nutrient-packed foods) so that you can build muscle. You’ll want to focus on targeted workouts and consistently add more weight and resistance every week.
Intermittent fasting has been shown to help people lose weight in many studies. There are many different types of intermittent fasting, but basically, it’s an eating pattern that involves many short-term fasts.
Alternate day fasting is one of the most common types of intermittent fasting. In this method, every other day you eat nothing. Or, you can try the modified version, where on fasting days, you eat only 500 calories.
One study found that participants who tried this diet plan lost more than 7 pounds on average “after alternating between 36 hours of fasting and 12 hours of unlimited eating” – in just 4 weeks! (1)
It’s a good idea to still try to eat healthy on your non-fasting days, especially if you’re looking to see a big difference. Intermittent fasting can be kind of extreme (especially if you’ve never fasted before), so make sure you take it slow. Maybe start with the 5:2 diet – fasting 2 out of every 7 days – first, before trying alternate day fasting. If you have doubts or questions, make sure you consult with a health professional.
HIIT workouts are the best for burning calories fast. One recent article about HIIT workouts said “workouts like HIIT can also burn more calories and reduce more visceral fat than typical endurance exercises like walking, running, and cycling at a moderate pace will when done for an hour or more.” (2)
If you can do a 15-minute HIIT workout every day, you’ll start to see big changes in your bikini body. If you don’t know how to start, just do a quick search for HIIT workouts on YouTube. There’s a ton of free options by great trainers that will get you sweating in no time.
You can also integrate HIIT workouts into your treadmill routine. The easiest way to do it is to do 1 minute at a walking (or if you’re an overachiever, jogging) pace, then 30 seconds at a sprint pace. Repeat without breaks till you’ve done it for 15 minutes. Believe me, you’ll be exhausted at the end.
It might seem funny to focus on compound exercises (exercises that involve multiple joints and muscle groups) when you just want to focus on building butt muscle or getting killer abs. However, compound exercises really are key to building muscle quickly.
So, stop doing isolation activities and start doing compound exercises. For example, if you’re wanting to build butt muscle, you should spend the majority of your workout doing exercises like squats, lunges, deadlifts and hip thrusts.
Personal trainer Michael Matthews suggests: “a good rule of thumb is that 80% of your time and energy should go into compound exercises,” then you can spend the remaining 20% on isolation exercises. (3) He also emphasizes the importance of adding weight or reps to every exercise in every workout. That’s the trick to building muscle faster.
Remember, the key to seeing big changes in your body is consistency. Give it all you’ve got these last few weeks before the official start of summer, and don’t stop when summer comes around the corner. Exercising for just a few minutes every single day can make big differences in your health down the road.
Whether you’re trying to lose fat or gain muscle, it’s important to make an effort every single day. Even if you aren’t super motivated, just tell yourself you’ll only work out for 5 minutes. Often, starting is the hardest part, and when you get started “for just 5 minutes” you’ll find the motivation you need to keep going.
If you’ve been trying for months to see weight loss changes, you might need to “shock” your body to make a change. Trying something new like intermittent fasting or HIIT workouts could be just the thing your body needs to finally shed those extra pounds and be ready for summer.