Spring is just around the corner and with it, blossom, sunshine and clear blue skys. We all know of the ‘summer body’ trend and now is the perfect time to start with 10 weeks before the British summer arrives in all its glory. With this in mind, here are 8 tips to kick off your bodily spring clean.
There are many conflicting statements as to how many meals you should eat for weight loss, but the truth is that meal frequency doesn’t have much of an impact. A recent study published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition found that while increasing meal frequency does blunt appetite and decrease hunger, it does not appear to alter body composition, improve energy expenditure or raise resting metabolic rate. So what to take away from that? Listen to your body.
2) Nudge out the carbs!
The refined grains found in white bread, packaged muffins, white rice, and white flour often contain more saturated fats and sugar than their wholegrain brothers and sister. Research indicates those who regularly eat whole grains have a lower body mass index and less belly fat. So why not experiment with quinoa, brown rice, and whole wheat pasta this April.
3) Stop using your phone in the gym!
Using the gym as a chance to catch up on your emails, social media or messaging is a sure fire way of not getting the full benefit of your workout. One study found that performing mental and physical tasks at the same time can tax your prefrontal cortex and drain your energy. Exercising to music gets a free pass because it doesn’t take conscious effort, but channel-surfing on the treadmill? That’s a big no no.
4) Say no to juice cleanses, but drink your vegetables!
Don’t fall for the standard sales pitches. Although researchers from the University College London found that getting seven or more portions of produce a day can cut your risk of cancer by 25 percent, and your risk of heart disease by 31 percent, slurping juice for days on end could starve your body of muscle-building proteins, mood-boosting amino acids and belly-filling fibre. What’s more, you will be putting away more sugar than you need, the equivalent of almost 5 chocolate bars worth in one day. So if you want something to slurp why not spin your vegetables in to smoothies to boosts your micronutrient intake. Remember “A well-functioning body does a good job of detoxing all on its own,”.
5) Take time for yourself!
We all know meditation can reduce stress and anxiety, but research has found that it also boosts immunity, curbs cravings, and even improve concentration, memory and gamma waves associated with heightened awareness. There are many types of meditation, so pick one that you find the most suitable to you and your daily routine.
Studies have found that adult play can boost mental and emotional health, relieve stress, boost happiness and improve relationships — it can even boost creativity and empathy. So play, sing and dance!!
7) Check your colours not the calories!
David Heber, M.D., Ph.D., author of What Color Is Your Diet? says that each plant pigment is like a colour code to how it helps. Red-hued foods (tomatoes, watermelon, pink grapefruit) are loaded with lycopene, which may decrease the risk of certain cancers. Purple produce (red grapes, blueberries, red cabbage) is packed with anthocyanins, antioxidants that can improve brain function. Just pick bold, bright and not out of a box.
8) Don’t crunch belly fat.
Crunches and sit-ups are 100 percent overrated! They promote bad posture and cause tight hip flexors, which most people already suffer. Why not try exercises that challenge the entire core, like side planks, hanging leg lifts and medicine-ball rollouts. Not only will your abs be exploding for summer, but you’ll also burn super calories, reduce injury and build more strength.