Summer is not without its pitfalls if you're trying to get fit. It's the season that twists your arm to ditch F45 for after-work pizza and rose, while every second bar seems to be hell-bent on ordering two-for-one deals on sugar-bomb cocktails. Oh, and not to mention it demands swimwear and selfies in exotic destinations. That’s why we’ve pored over the science and called in favours from the experts to serve up 23 quick and easy cheats to help you tone up (if that’s what you want) or learn to love the shape you’re in (which is non-negotiable). Got your sunnies? Let’s get started.
1. Appreciate what your body can do
A gym workout doesn’t always have to be about achieving your next goal. Take a moment to enjoy how far you’ve already come. Celebrate that you’re not as breathless as you were after your first HIIT session, or marvel at what you can lift. Feels good, eh?
2. Be upstanding
Standing for an extra hour a day can help you burn 364 more kilojoules, according to research by the University of Iowa. Triple your time on your feet by asking for an adjustable sit/stand desk (try Ikea). Burn kJs, burn.
3. Do what makes you feel good
Devote a little time to getting in the right frame of mind, be it taking time to get ready in the morning, or clocking up your eight hours the night before – it will set you up for the day. And if an evening in with a box set TV series or a full-on gourmet blowout does it for you, make sure to do that. Cliché, yes, but feeling good is one of the fastest ways to look good. OK?
4. Take an Insta break
Women often find self-worth via “likes” and “followers”, according to journalist Nancy Jo Sales. “It’s challenging for girls especially to believe they need to produce images of themselves in order to get validation,” she adds. A bit hung up on double-taps? Take a time out.
5. Take a first step
The truth is that it is easier to eat kilojoules than burn them, so if you want to lose weight, a diet rejig is your first stop. A good start? Cut your daily kilojoules by 800 (a latte, say); it will set you on the path to naturally make better choices.
6. Sink your teeth in
Slow down your eating and really chew your food. In a study by Harbin Medical University in China, people who chewed each mouthful of food 40 times ate
12 per cent less food than those who chewed just 15 times.
7. Laugh more
Laughter is a great workout for your core, and 15 minutes of the giggles burns between 40kJ and 150kJ.
8. Watch your snacks
A Health Education & Behavior study found that people who kept fruit on display weighed up to 12kg less than those who stored sugary snacks in sight. Stock your kitchen bowl and desk with seasonal berries – the thickened cream, not so much.
9. Trim the fat
Cooking with 2 tbs of oil can rack up 1046 unnecessary kilojoules every day. Ditch the oil and fry with soy sauce diluted with water. As well as cutting kilojoules, the umami taste will ward off cravings.
10. Sleep it off
Yes, enjoy that G&T with a slice of lime at 8pm, but make sure you try to stick to your regular bedtime, too. Why? Not catching enough zeds can increase your food intake the next day by up to 1255kJ.
11. Tap out
Rhythmically tapping your toes curbs cravings. For reals. It stops you thinking about food and reduces impulsive behaviour, reckon pros at Mt Sinai St Luke’s Hospital, US.
12. Get sweaty
“Using a sauna pre-workout promotes blood flow, helping transport fat-burning enzymes to stubborn areas,” says PT Karen Austin. “Try it eight times in two weeks to cut a kilo of fat.” Spa break? Sold.
13. Get more hands-on
The simple action of squeezing can reduce stress. Grip a medicine ball and work through a set of lunchtime twists, so you can return to your desk exuding the aura of a crystal healer – and get killer obliques in the process. Nice!
14. Lunch for longer
Whether aldesko or alfresco, eating your protein 15 minutes before your carbs can lower blood sugar levels by 37 per cent, found experts at Weill Cornell Medical College in the US. Less fat storage and longer lunches? Deal.
15. Hit the drink
Ditch cortisol-boosting caffeinated coffees in favour of H2O and your gut will thank you. Why? Virginia Tech found that half a litre of cool water before every meal led to 44 per cent greater weight loss over 12 weeks. Not a bad benefit!
16. Band together
Incorporating a resistance band into your workout burns up to 1046 extra kilojoules in 30 minutes. Do 10 minutes of squats per day with the band under your feet, its ends in your hands, and you’ll burn a kilogram in 30 days. You can thank us later.
17. Dish it up
18. Get pepped
Enjoy a tasty treat every now and then? Congrats, you’re human. But too many can lead to a build-up of visceral fat behind your abdominals, raising your risk of heart disease and diabetes. Enter the malagueta pepper, adept at breaking down this fatty tissue. Pick up a jar and add to pretty much everything ($12, emporiumaquila. com.au).
19. Stick the kettle on
Half an hour of Kettlebell swing sets will blast through 1255kJ. Hold the bell between your knees, then thrust your hips to power it up to shoulder height for optimum- and impressive- fat burning.
20. Think power over pain
Yale scientists discovered back pain triggers overeating, so limber up with a few stretches or some spine- strengthening yoga or pilates.
21. Eat a big brekkie
Israeli experts found that people who go large when eating breakfast lose two-and-a-half times more weight than meal-skippers, equating to a potential 10 per cent weight loss in just 30 days. (FYI, the jury is out on whether scoffing six McMuffins also delivers that result.)
22. Bring cash back
Swapping your debit card for cash when paying for groceries- and the inevitable sneaky treats- can reduce your spend by 23 per cent. Cue a cleaner bill of health and more money in your purse.