By Sylvaine N. Hughson Executive Health & Lifestyle Coach ™ While spring has officially arrived and summer is just around the corner, you may feel rather lackluster and a bit discouraged by your physique as you emerge from winter. Take a moment to step back and shift your perspective —this phenomenon is completely normal and is happening all around you. Look at the natural world – whether it be plants or animals, most of what you see has been in hibernation and survival mode for the past few months. As temperatures get warmer, days lengthen, and it becomes environmentally “safe” to re-emerge – lush vegetation will appear once again and new life will spring forth. So too it is with you. The following are five of my favorite tips to help you get your body back on track and have you look your best before summer.
This is your starting point – without clarity around your motivations and desires, you will not succeed. Ask yourself this: What is the experience of being in your body that you wish to create as you head into summer? Do you want to feel slimmer? Stronger? More toned? More flexible? Enjoy a better sense of balance? And if you were to experience your body in this way – how would it make you feel? More confident? More appealing? Younger? More relaxed? These are simply a few examples of shifts that you may experience, but take the time to find the words that hold meaning for you and that you connect with. Really get clear on what it is that you crave and desire to experience physically.
Now that you know, concretely, what you wish to feel in your body come the summer, the next step is to get support. Find a workout partner who shares similar fitness or health goals as you – it can be a friend, a co-worker, or a significant other... Make sure that it’s someone that you enjoy spending time with and whose presence you find to be stimulating, inspiring, and uplifting! Getting back into shape can be a lot of fun, highly satisfying and deeply nourishing when done well and in the right company. Perhaps working with a personal trainer feels like the best fit. Great! Again, this is about you, your body, and your personal journey to your best self. Focus on how the trainer makes you feel when you’re with them, not how they look. Are they clear on your goals? Are they supporting you in all of the right ways, etc.?
We all know that diet and exercise are key components to looking and feeling your best, but sometimes tackling both can seem like too much. Well here’s good news – as it gets warmer outside you are naturally going to start craving lighter foods which are excellent for weight loss and rejuvenation. Again, look at the world around you – what do animals love to eat in the early spring? All of the new growth that begins to appear as the snow melts. Now is a great time to begin eating sprouts, beautiful, vibrant green salads, etc. – this will help you begin to rebuild your body and “clean house” after the long winter.
In terms of your workouts – start small and work your way up. Again, it’s important to remember that all movement counts: Take the stairs at work, enjoy a lunchtime walk, park the car farther away in the parking lot, take a dance or yoga class, go for a run, or hit the gym. Do whatever it is that speaks to you and makes you joyful – this alone will lower your stress levels, improve your mood, and enhance your success!
Get Rest Prioritizing sleep is extraordinarily important as there is no better way to reset your body. Enjoying adequate amounts of rest not only supports mental and physical peak performance, but it can also help rebalance your hormones, lower your stress levels, improve your mood, and have a “youthing” effect on the body. A well-rested, well-nourished, and balanced body easily sheds excess pounds, develops beautiful muscle tone, and recovers quickly from intense physical effort.
Reward Yourself Life can sometimes feel like hard work. Introducing more pleasure and enjoyment into your everyday is your secret weapon of choice when it comes to looking and feeling your best this summer. Check in around your intentions when it comes to the specific dietary changes you wish to make or the type of workouts you want to do. Are you doing them because you think you have to or because you want to? Does your new physical fitness regimen feel more like a form of personal punishment than a nurturing activity? Regardless of the changes you are looking to make – build in rewards for yourself and turn your process into a deeply nourishing experience. This will help you reach your desired health and fitness goals faster, with less effort, while feeling happier and more satisfied as watch yourself transform and start to look your best even before summer begins! ■