What are 3 things I can start doing now to have the best body by summer? When I first heard my friend ask for this advice I immediately thought, “reframe best body by summer to, be the best you you can possibly be by summer.” The difference between the two is that one rewards behavior, whereas one rewards outcome. Having the “best body” is an outcome which may not happen in the given time span, however, putting forth actionable steps to put you on the right path by summer is possible. Hence, the best you you can possibly be. This isn’t a promise to give you six pack abs by the summer or the arms you always wanted. Most likely that will take longer than 4 months. However these small changes can help lead to those future goals if you are consistent with them. Most of the people in your lives who are in really good health do not constantly diet or hop from one methodology to the next randomly. They are consistent in their practices.
One small change you can make now in order to be the best you by summer would be to leave food on your plate. I know in many communities it is considered disrespectful to leave food on your plate. Many of us were even told we couldn’t leave the table until everything was off our plates. This habit might not have affected us as kids but now as adults, when controlling the portion sizes, it has become an issue for many of us. I see a lot of us even taking pride in not leaving a drop on the plate (I am guilty as fuh for this but my goal has always been to put on weight). This is an issue because overeating will lead to weight gain and other health issues (gut health, skin health, etc.). If you want to lose some excess body fat, than this habit of leaving your plate spit shine clean needs to go. Even if you are eating “clean” you still want to take up to 20 minutes, especially for a bigger meal such as dinner, which tends to be most people’s largest meal of the day. Giving your body a chance to tell you it’s full is crucial. If we speed through and gobble everything down in under 10 minutes, we don’t stand a chance. It usually takes the body around 15 minutes to communicate to the brain “ayo chill, I’m kinda full.” At Precision Nutrition, they recommend you to stop eating when 80% full. Most of us are not into numbers like that, so this can seem weird. Starting off with leaving food on the plate can help solve this issue.
Another small change you can make to be the best you come summer would be to eat more vegetables. I am NOT saying to go vegan. I’m not. However, there are proven benefits of eating an array of different vegetables at each meal. From gut health, skin health, mental health etc., vegetables are proven to help with many facets of our health. Many of us have interesting nutritional habits. Some of us eat far too many processed foods, some eat too much meat compared to how much fruits and vegetables we consume, and many of us eat far too many “carbs” such as pasta and rice. Adding in vegetables can help to mitigate any negative side effects that can come from too much meat, processed food, or “carbs” especially when paired with leaving food on your plate. If you currently do not know how many vegetables you eat daily, start paying attention that way you know what more actually is. If you aren’t eating any, start with some. If you are eating some, add more. It does not need to be rocket science. Preferably add more colorful vegetables into your diet and very quickly you will notice yourself feeling better.
The third small change you can make to be the best you come summer would be to resistance train more frequently, preferably with free weights. If you currently aren’t training with some sort of resistance, start. If you are doing one day per week, do two, and so on. If you are already training 5 times per week you are good, no need to add more. Specifically focus on getting stronger in the deadlift, squat and if you can go overhead, then focusing on the single arm overhead press. All of these movements are full body, and when using a free weight as opposed to a machine, your body has to stabilize itself which helps create more of a “metabolic” effect, in other words, burns more calories. All three of these exercises demand most of your body to contract. This will help to give you that feeling of being more toned. Again, the more muscles you recruit at a time, the more demand it puts on your body, and the more calories you burn. The stronger you get, the more energy is needed to move the weight which again equals more calories burned. Resistance training is important for building and maintaining muscle mass, which as we know, the more muscle we have, the more calories we burn when inactive. In other words, your body starts working for you. The ROI (return on investment) is huge. As we get older, our metabolism tends to slow. This is due to a few reasons but losing muscle mass is one of the bigger culprits. So creating behaviors that help to mitigate this loss of muscle is key. This to me is why resistance training is king over body composition when compared to any form of cardio such as running or biking.
Have some compassion for yourself. You are still a good person. If you do not hit your outcome goal by summer, do not take it as a failure. It will come. Giving up or feeling that you do not have control is the easiest way to lose power and to fall further from where you want to be. Remember, most of the people in your lives who are in really good health do not constantly diet or hop from one methodology to the next randomly. They are consistent in their practices. This can be you too if you create these 3 habits and stick with them over time.
Bonus Tip: Find a StrongFirst Instructor (click here) and either hire them as your coach for the long haul or for one session in order to learn how to properly perform the 3 movements I mentioned.