Summer is here and for many, it’s time to head off on holiday, with days spent lazing on sun-drenched beaches or messing about by the pool.
Of course, we all love our annual holidays, but they can also be a time of stress, as we all want to look our very best when we put on our swimming trunks or bikinis.
Social media has undoubtedly increased the pressure to look good, especially when we’re on holiday, and tales abound of people resorting to some fairly wacky ideas for slimming down and getting fit.
Wanting to look your very best is, of course, understandable, and far be it from us to knock the efforts of those people who have put the hard work in to hone their physique and fitness levels.
An all-over body transformation is never going to be a quick fix, and it generally takes months of discipline and hard work.
If you don’t have that long before your summer holiday, there are still some more short-term things you can do to help tone your body and get fit.
The best place to start is to look at what you eat.
It’s tempting to simply plunge into a crash diet in order to lose weight, but this rarely gives the results you want.
Since everything that we eat contributes to our overall intake of nutrients, we need to look at how we replace those nutrients with healthier alternatives, rather than simply ditching them altogether.
With a little research, it’s possible to find plenty of healthy foods that are packed with vitamins and minerals.
You’ll get similar levels of protein and nutrients, with none of the downsides.
As well as providing all the goodness you need to get fit, switching to a diet filled with fruit and vegetables will open up all sorts of culinary experiences to you.
Plenty of athletes and celebrities have already switched to vegetarian or vegan diets, having caught on to the idea that this kind of lifestyle choice can make a big difference to physical fitness and appearance.
One other benefit of eating more healthily is that you’ll actually save money.
Eating fresh, wholesome food, without feeling guilty about the calories consumed, will mean reduced levels of food waste, and more money saved for that fabulous summer holiday.
Indeed, plenty of ‘miracle’ products cost more than a fair amount and can really eat into your wallet if you persist with them.
In reality though, cheap in this instance doesn’t mean poor quality, rather keeping it simple can often yield the best results.
The healthiest diet in the world can only ever be part of the equation, and most of us need to include more exercise in our lives.
Just as fad diets have been proven not to work, spur of the moment resolutions to get fit quickly are rarely successful. Protein shakes and powders can build muscle, but they’re no substitute for following a considered exercise and fitness program.
The type of exercise routine that you choose isn’t particularly important – the key thing is to keep at it, even when you’re not feeling motivated.
Try to get a friend to exercise with you, or take some classes to help you stick to your exercise plans.
Groups and classes are a great way to socialize and get fit at the same time, and there are plenty of sports and fitness routines to choose from.
These cover everything from yoga to assault course running, so it’s well worth checking out-you might even make some new friends as well.
With any form of exercise, it’s important not to push yourself too hard. Doing excessive amounts of exercise at high levels of intensity won’t mean that you build muscle faster.
Instead, over-exercising can have the opposite effect and can even cause health problems.
For the best results, make a realistic plan with achievable goals and stick to it.
If you’re really serious about improving your health and fitness levels for the long term, rather than just for the summer, it’s worth thinking about giving up smoking and drinking alcohol.
The damage that smoking does to your lungs means that they become less efficient at pumping oxygen around your bloodstream, and the body’s cells becomes less able to repair and regenerate.
It’s never easy to give up smoking, but there is plenty of help available if you’re serious about quitting. Whilst it will take time to really see the full benefits of stopping smoking, you should see a marked difference in your health and appearance quite quickly.
It’s estimated that within just two days that your damaged nerves will begin to replenish themselves and your senses of smell and taste will also re-sharpen.
Given time, the impact of smoking on your body will begin to lessen in many ways and your willpower today will be rewarded with a lifetimes worth of improved health.
No matter what you achieve in your health and fitness goals, the most important thing is to adopt a positive mind-set for your holiday.
If you’re relaxed and happy, you’ll look far better in your holiday snaps than someone who is over-anxious about their appearance.
Wanting to work hard towards a better, healthier you is great, but it needs to be kept in perspective, so that you aren’t tempted to try some miracle cure or overhyped routine.
Simply building a sensible plan and sticking to it will reap real rewards for you, as you work towards your fitness goals.