By Tia Norris, July 2018 Issue of Echo Magazine in Phoenix, AZ.
Arizona is heating up and so are the annual festivities summer promises – all the obvious excuses to show a little extra skin and to talk about the inevitable seasonal focus on our bodies.
Each summer, many of us pay much more attention (in some cases, short-term attention) to our physiques and how they’ve changed to either fit or not fit our expectations.
If you haven’t started working on your idea of a summer bod, I hate to break this news: You can’t pull magic out of your hat at the 11th hour. However, you can equip yourself with a solid game plan on how to maximize what you’ve got and whatever work you’re putting in to reach your personal goals.
Here are my three most valuable summer bod hacks that will help you really make a splash, own those pool selfies or at least be comfortable in your own skin this season.
Water, water, water!
Literally no one drinks enough water, when they first come through my doors. Usually people are short by 50 to 75 ounces per day! The key phrase is this: The more water you drink, the less you retain. And the less water you drink, the more you retain.
Yes, you read that right. If you drink less, your body will hold onto and retain more water. And let me tell you, water retention looks good on absolutely no one. This means that if you drank the recommended amount of water for about a week (and I recommend about 100 ounces per day), you could lose 1 to 2 percent of your body weight – just by drinking more.
That’s stupid simple! Now, be aware that you will obviously be hitting the bathroom more often in the beginning. Get through it, keep drinking, keep peeing, and watch that water weight melt away!
Carbs aren’t always bad.
When it comes to carbs, you just need to know how to use them. While it is true that most people don’t need big carbohydrate intake, it is not true that carbs make you gain weight. It is only a caloric surplus that will make you gain weight. Remember that! Carbohydrates themselves aren’t bad … what makes them “bad” for most people is that most people aren’t nearly active enough to really utilize the carbohydrates that they’re eating.
When I was bodybuilding, a high carbohydrate intake on the regular just didn’t work for me as far as staying lean, since the activity of weightlifting didn’t consume many carbohydrates as fuel. However, now that I’m doing Ironman, I honestly can’t get enough carbohydrates.
The punchline is, if you’re doing long bouts of cardio, you probably need a lot of carbs depending on what your program is exactly – and they won’t make you hold extra weight. However, if you’re largely sedentary and/or weightlifting-based, then moderate or low-carb diets might keep you leaner for now.
Add a fitness pregame to your party plans.
Let me just preface with the fact that alcohol does nothing good for your fitness. Alcohol is empty calories that add no nutritional value, and alcohol will directly block your ability to recover from workouts.
Keeping this all in mind, I know there are going to be special occasions where you will want to party all day and night. And, when that’s the case, there are things you can do to hack the system and minimize the damage that alcohol can have on your fitness.
First, get a hard workout the day of the event. Get it in early, and really give it hell; this will set up your metabolism to burn, baby, burn, all day. Second, limit your carbohydrate and fat intake as close to zero throughout the day as possible; this includes post workout. Try to stick to straight protein as much as you can. Third, when you drink, try to keep the drinks as simple as possible; mixers, frozen drinks, and other cocktails ingredients can be calorie bombs where – let’s be real – if you’re goal is to get drunk, just drink something simple and get there faster. And don’t forget your 100 ounces of water!
Remember, nothing will take the place of good, hard, consistent diet and exercise in order to maximize the potential of your physique. But this summer, make sure to stay hydrated, carb up or down appropriately, and have the right strategies to keep yourself looking and feeling good all season … because in Arizona, summer is not a sprint, it’s a marathon.