“If you follow this advice, your Labor Day beach body is more likely to resemble that Memorial Day beach body (me-ow). “
- Theresa Christensen
The State of Your Beach Body
Summer is finally here! It’s an exciting time for Long Islanders, living so close to the beach! In the months leading up to June, many gym-goers begin to work on what’s been called their “beach body.” You’ve probably seen this term around the gym a lot as we just completed our annual “Beach Body Dynamic Duo” 10-week challenge! The challenge provides a great opportunity to focus on your health and fitness. Two partners work together with a trainer to meet specific goals and change their body composition. In addition to training and nutritional guidance, they receive what may be most important of all; accountability.
The Three Beach Bodies
Whether you’ve just completed the challenge or worked on your own to achieve a healthier, stronger physique throughout the Spring, where do you go from here? Most people actually have three beach bodies. There’s the Memorial Day beach body, the mid-July beach body, and the end of Summer beach body. The Memorial Day beach body is where it’s at. You’ve met your goal, and you are ready to party. All is right in the world. The mid-July beach body is blissfully unaware of how all those BBQs and Rocket Fuels are wreaking havoc on it. Still, all is right because Summer is still going strong. The End of Summer beach body isn’t as pumped as the Memorial Day beach body. At this point, you have a body, and it’s on the beach. That guy is happy that sweater weather – and the Fall Dynamic Duo Challenge – is approaching quickly. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. How do we maintain that initial beach body we’ve worked so hard for? As usual, I have a handy list of tips to stay on track.
A Plan for This Summer:
1. Let’s talk about time. If you have school-aged children, as I do, the 12-week summer vacation can be a difficult time to do anything for yourself, like getting to the gym. Kids have camps, playdates, swim lessons, etc. To cope, try to utilize your time more efficiently. The absolute number one way to make sure that you aren’t wasting your time at the gym is to work with a personal trainer. If you can set aside 45 minutes for yourself just 2-3 times per week, you will see results. If you’re a dedicated class person who can no longer get to the gym during those peak class hours, this is an excellent option to consider. You also set your schedule with your trainer, so that’s a plus, letting YOUR fitness routine fit YOUR schedule. You can get your cardio with walks, runs, bike rides, and other activities that can be done with your kids.
And let’s face it, sometimes the weather is just too nice, and you don’t feel like going to the gym. Hiring a trainer keeps you on a routine schedule and, again, provides that essential ingredient – accountability.
2. Speaking of training – if you are already working with a personal trainer, don’t take the summer off. I know that sounds silly, but it amazes me how many people take the summer off or cut back their training days during the summer months. I think this goes back to that Memorial Day beach body plateau. Some people tend to hit their fitness goals and then stop. Like they’re done. You’re never done, so keep training, and don’t lessen the frequency of your training.
3. Take advantage of our Summer Class Schedule. We’ve added even more classes to our schedule beginning June 26th. Maintain a balance of strength and HIIT classes mixed in with some cardio, like our indoor cycling classes. Some people get very comfortable with only doing cardio classes. While cardio is essential for improving endurance and overall cardiovascular health, strength training builds muscle, and muscle helps your body burn fat more efficiently. So be sure you are doing both if you want to maintain lean muscle mass and burn fat. My Power Sculpt class on Thursdays at 6:15am is a challenging strength training class that’s good for any level. Due to popular demand, I’ve added a second class on Tuesdays at 5:15am just for the summer!
4. Drink more water. In the summer, we sweat more and can become dehydrated more easily. Make sure you are getting at least eight glasses of water per day. While each individual’s water needs differ, I try to drink close to a gallon of water/fluids a day.
5. Be the person who brings the salad to the party. Whether it’s a fruit salad, a chicken or tuna salad, or a salad loaded with healthy veggies, you’ll have at least one healthy option there. I also like to make a healthier charcuterie board. I still use good quality meats because they are a good source of protein, but rather than filling the rest of the board with cheeses and sweets, I load it up with raw vegetables, various olives, nuts, grilled artichoke hearts, etc. I’ll sometimes add a super decadent wedge of cheese and some grain-free chips or crackers or some Norwegian crispbread to that as well. It’s a nice, healthy change from the typical cheese and pepperoni platter.
6. Weigh yourself. I know that not everyone is comfortable with that. However, it’s one of the best things you can do to maintain a healthy weight. I try not to be a slave to the scale. I gauge how my clothes fit more than anything. I’ve found, though, that if I’m not weighing myself at least once a week, it may take 10-15 pounds for me to realize that change. That makes it much harder to take off than catching it at 5 pounds. You can also schedule an InBody Scan at the gym with our front desk. The InBody is a great tool to determine your body composition. It provides a wealth of information, including weight, body fat percentage, lean body mass, total body water, visceral fat level, and much more. There is a fee to be scanned, but if you work with a personal trainer, scans are included in your training package. With InBody, you can pinpoint whether any fluctuation in weight is due to changes in water, fat, or muscle.
7. Track your food. Tracking isn’t just for short-term goals like the contest. I track my food year-round. It’s another way to increase your accountability. Most tracking apps will generate default macronutrient goals in percentages. You can use those to determine approximately what your carbohydrate, fat, and protein intake should be. It will even set a calorie target based on your own fitness goals. Better yet, you can work with your trainer or nutritionist to determine specific, personalized macros. Tracking has saved me from the tempting lure of Mr. Softee’s music on more than one occasion. Trust me; you do not want to input “chocolate dipped double waffle cone” into MyFitnessPal. One last thing – not tracking your alcohol doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. I’m just sayin’.
8. Live an “80/20” lifestyle. Okay, I’m not the fun police. Far from it. It’s okay to indulge every once in a while. The problem is, what is “every once in a while”? For most people, that equates to about 20% of their week. Sounds like a lot, right? Wrong. Summertime fun tends to begin on Friday and wind down Sunday night. Friday, Saturday, and Sunday actually total about 43% of your week. Saturday and Sunday are close to 29% by themselves. Pick and choose the times that are the most worth it. If you know you are going over to Fire Island Saturday night, make that your night of indulgence. If you are going over for the week or weekend, plan ahead and pack some healthy meals in your wagon. Not only will you have fewer regrets at the end of your trip, but you’ll also have more money in your pocket. Or maybe you have a BBQ one day and a bridal shower the next. That’s about 8 hours. Have fun. The other 80% of the week, track your food, take some classes, weigh yourself, make a salad, drink your water, work with your trainer, and all that good stuff I mentioned.
If you follow this advice, your Labor Day beach body is more likely to resemble that Memorial Day beach body (me-ow). Above all else, enjoy yourself! See you at the gym!
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