Summer is on its way, and that means bikini time. Instead of impossible, rigorous diets and backbreaking exercise, you can adopt a few healthy habits and nifty workout tricks that will get you on your way to shedding pounds and toning up for the approaching summer. They are simple, fun and convenient!
Add more protein to your meals- Protein not only helps build the lean muscle that replaces fat and gives you that enviable toned look, but it also contributes to a fuller, more satisfied feeling. Include more hard-boiled eggs and lean cuts of fish in your diet. You’ll snack less and see more definition after your workouts. A great time to eat protein is during the 30-45 minute window right after a workout when your muscles are craving replenishment. Pre-digested protein tablets are another way to go, like these at HealthstatusLinks to an external site..
Grab those grains- Sure, a bowl of Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes for breakfast might satisfy your morning sweet tooth, but with 12 g of sugar and only 1 g of protein a serving, you’ll be doing some serious mid-morning snacking soon after that sugary treat. Opt for more whole grain cereals like Kellogg’s Special K Protein Plus or Kashi’s Go Lean Cereal which are lower in sugar, higher in fiber and protein. Not only do they taste great, especially with a bit of healthy fruit, the whole grains help stabilize blood sugar levels throughout the day, and the fiber and protein will curb cravings by leaving you fuller and more satisfied for longer.
Play movement-based video games with your kids or by yourself- You won’t realize you’re burning calories because you’ll be having too much fun playing the Nintendo Wii or the PlayStation Move. You can get a phenomenal workout by simply playing some of the basic games that come with the Nintendo Wii like boxing, tennis or baseball. According to a study performed by the American Council on ExerciseLinks to an external site., Wii boxing can burn seven calories per minute, or 420 calories per hour. But don’t get lazy with wrist-flicking when you’re playing. If you mimic the real movements on screen as closely as possible, you’re sure to get the best calorie burn.
Switch out that milk- Cereal is nothing without milk.But one serving of whole cow’s milk can give up to 9g of fat. A lot of people are sensitive to dairyLinks to an external site. and don’t know it contributes to their bloated tummy bulge. Instead, try a sweeter, low-fat alternative to cow’s milk like rice milk. Rice Dream’s Vanilla Classic rice milk offers only 2.5g of fat per serving.
Smarter snacking with protein shakes- Before you say, “But don’t those make you gainweight?!” consider the low-fat, high-protein shake options available that will add protein to your diet to build muscle and satisfy hunger. Purium MVP shakesLinks to an external site. are a tasty, 90-calorie a serving high-protein option that may work for you. They come in chocolate and vanilla flavors and taste great!
Walk during your favorite show- The thought of getting on a treadmill makes some folks cringe, but you won’t notice you’re burning calories on the treadmillLinks to an external site.in front of the TV when you’re anticipating Jenna’s saucy confrontation with Meg on your favorite reality show. Even if you don’t have a treadmill, you can still burn calories while watching TV by simply pacing around your room. You’ll burn a lot more calories in an hour by pacing than you will by sitting still.
Moving during the mundane-Standing calf raises will tone those legs and that butt while you do simple activities like brushing your teeth before work! Raise yourself onto your heels, squeezing your calves and your butt tightly for 1 second when you’ve lifted as high as you can onto your toes. Repeat the movement slowly 15 times and then do 10 rapid lifts one after the other. If you don’t feel the burn, repeat the steps. For even better results, do this exercise while elevated on a small rising like a step. Leave heels off the edge of the step to challenge your balance during the exercise.
The Frozen Food Butt Workout- While you’re waiting for that frozen meal to defrost during its 5-minute stint in the microwave, you can tone and lift that butt. Standing on one leg, lift the other leg slowly to the side—heel facing upward to the ceiling, toes facing the floor. Lower the leg and then raise it diagonally behind you. Lower the leg and lift it high directly backwards. Remember to keep your hips forward and squeeze the butt and leg each time you’ve lifted. Repeat this sequence until that microwave goes ding! Convenient squats- At your desk chair, pretend as if you’re going to sit but stop right before your butt touches the seat. Come back up without using your arms and squeeze your butt once you’re in a standing position. Repeat this 15-20 times. Be sure to keep your weight on your heels and push your butt back, being careful not to extend your knees past your toes. Repeat this motion throughout the day. It not only strengthens quadriceps but firms and lifts the butt. Stairs are your friend- Elevators are convenient, but stairs will help you burn calories and tone up. Whether it’s at the mall or at work, opt for stairs whenever possible. You also give your heart a nice little cardiovascular workout when you choose stairs over the elevator.
The Secret Escalator Workout- Just because you’ve opted for the escalator doesn’t mean you can’t sneak in a toning quickie. This only works for ascending escalators. Stand on the edge of the escalator step with the balls of your feet firmly planted on the step and your heels hanging over the edge. You can hold the railing with one hand for a little support if you need to. The last thing you want is to be tumbling backward. Balancing yourself like this will work your calves and legs much more than a normal standing position would. This may look funny to others if you’re wearing heels but if you’re wearing flats, no one will even notice. Drop kid’s candy for nature’s candy- Instead of reaching for those overly processed sweets, grab some sweet, all-natural fruit instead. Make this a lifestyle habit. Most people do not get their recommended servings of fruit in a day. Many people also find it a chore to add fruits and veges to their diet just so they can meet the recommendations. Become accustomed to reaching for an apple, slices of mango or strawberries as an alternative to those high-calorie, high-fat, unnaturally sweetened candy products.
Eat more! - Eating five small meals a day is a great way to control appetite and keep your metabolism constantly moving. Eat every 3 hours and keep your meals at about 300-350 calories. If you’re eating sensible carbs, good amounts of protein and fiber in these meals, you will be less likely to reach for the naughty stuff throughout your day.
Soup or salad first- Some appetizers, even the most harmless-looking ones at restaurants carry just as much fat content as the entrée itself! So, you end up eating twice as many calories and twice as many grams of fat. Having some clean, dressing-on-the-side veges first or a clear soup will make you feel fuller before the entrée comes and save you maybe hundreds of calories. Make out! - Making out can burn up to 238 calories per half-hour. The anticipation alone leads to heavier breathing, “which gives way to a greater calorie burn,” insists relationship expert Gilda Carle. Don’t be afraid to roll around and get seriously involved. Sexologist Jaiya Kinzbach recommends making your room hot so you can burn even more calories during your sweaty make-out session.
It doesn’t take crazy diets and impossible exercise to slim down and tone up. If you follow these easy, fun and healthy tips, you will find your way to a slimmer summer bod and make better lifestyle choices in the future.