10 Easy Steps to Achieve Your BEST Summer Body

We all love to look our best, it's human nature. Throughout the ages, both women AND men have been obsessed with various beauty routines, hairstyles, diet fads, clothing trends, you name it!

As important as it is to stay healthy year round,  summertime is when people put forth the MOST effort to look their personal best and feel comfortable in what little clothing they're rocking in that summer! πŸ˜Žβ˜€οΈ Here are my 10 Easy Steps to stay healthy and look your best this summer (and all year for that matter) 😘:

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1. WATER WATER WATER

I know, what you're thinking....everyone tells you this when talking about health and fitness, but it's SO TRUE! I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to me to stay hydrated. When I'm fully hydrated, I have less headaches, I feel energized, I don't wake up groggy, I'm less hungry throughout the day, and my skin and hair look incredible. 

My rule of thumb is to drink an equal amount of water in ounces as the number on your scale - so for example, if you weigh 130lbs, you will drink 130oz. water per day! I also highly recommend you start tracking your water. A fun way to do this is an app called "Plant Nanny". In the app, you grow various animated plants and flowers with your ounces of water, and they will remind you  when they're thirsty. It really makes it a lot of fun, because you're NOT ONLY being held accountable for your own water intake, but also keeping these little creatures alive LOL. πŸŒ±πŸ™ŒπŸΌ 

2. WEIGHTS

First thing I do when hit the gym is about a 30 minute weight circuit. I will either focus on upper body or lower body, depending on the day. Or I will breeze through a full body lifting series before moving on to cardio. I am pretty quick at these (mostly because I don't like spending hours and hours at the gym), and I will typically do 4-5 sets of 8-10 reps on each machine at the highest weight I can do. I DO NOT believe in low weights with a high number of sets, for women. I think women should be strong and beautiful, and for me lifting as much as I can for each exercise has given me the best results in terms of slimming down. Having a high muscle mass will also help your body burn more fat and look better faster. 

TIP: I LOVE to watch YouTube on my phone while I am at the gym. I catch up on all my favorite YouTubers and balance my phone on my lap while I move around the weight machines. It keeps me multitasking and distracted between and during sets, so I don't go home and waste hours watching YouTube when I could be working, studying, or doing other things.

3. CARDIO

Usually after I finish my weight training, I will move on to cardio. The reason for this is because your muscles are already tired from lifting, so they will work harder and burn more calories during your cardio session. If you start with cardio, your body will be tired when doing weights and you will not reap nearly as much benefits as you would if you started your workout lifting on fresh muscles. Make sense? 

Cardio is so important though, I LOVE the stair master and will climb for anywhere between 20-40 minutes burning 300-500 calories. I usually zone out and watch YouTube videos during cardio as well, which makes the time go by faster. I think that's why I love the stair master, because I feel like I can burn the most calories while doing the least amount of work - and I'm not a big fan of running because it hurts my knees.

4. FOCUS ON THE CORE

We all want those summer abs. We want to look good in our crop tops and swimsuits. Ab work is SO important to do year round, and be consistent with. I find that it is often overlooked when at the gym, because people will focus on upper body vs. lower body and ignore the middle body! lol. Working out your abs will make you feel strong and sexy. Planks are great for tightening and slimming your waist overall, but you should also include crunches, full sit ups, oblique exercises, and many other variations to achieve tone and strength!

5. PROTEIN

I often hear people complaining to me about working out so much and seeing little results. My first question is  - "but are you eating enough protein?" Simply eating meat alone won't cut it. When you start to track your macros, you will see just how much FAT is in animal meat, and more often than not, you're still not eating enough to build muscle. That's why I love lean meats like chicken and turkey, and protein shakes/bars. 

Having a high protein diet will help your body build muscle and lean out faster. Having more muscle mass will help you to burn more fat and raise your metabolic rate. My rule of thumb is the similar to my water intake - multiply your body weight by 0.7, that number will be the amount of protein in grams you should be consuming a day. Keep in mind that I am NOT an expert, or doctor, this is just what I go by and it works for me. I track my macros everyday using the app My Fitness Pal, which helps me see exactly how much protein, carbs, fats, and calories I am getting in throughout the day. 

6. EAT RIGHT, EAT LIGHT

This one is ESPECIALLY hard during the summer - with all the BBQs and going out to eat, it's really hard to make the right decisions and stay macro-friendly. I try to limit the amount of simple carbs, especially in the afternoon and evening, and eat more proteins and veggies. Fruits can be hard too, because we all LOVE fruit in the summertime (I know I do!), but they can be packed with sugar and high amounts of carbohydrates that can bloat you for days at a time. I find that limiting your choices and trying not to overeat is my best strategy, especially during the summer when there are so many temptations. Eat your carbs early in the day so you can burn them off, and stick with high protein, and complex micro-nutrient foods to keep you energized. Wherever you can cut corners, CUT THEM because it really does add up quickly, especially when you start tracking things and seeing them written down... I always check the nutrition labels and choose for macro-friendly options that are low in carbs and fats, high in protein, and nutrient dense. 

7. TAN

You guys all know I LOVE a good tan. I am a consistent self-tan user and have tried almost every one on the market - I'm not kidding πŸ˜†. Tanning makes me feel slimmer, evens my skin tone, hides cellulite and body acne, and give me the glow I want to look healthy and sun kissed year round. Of course we all spend time in the sun during the summer, so I'd recommend sticking with the SPF and avoiding frying yourself! I've learned over the years, it's just NOT WORTH IT to tan in the sun. You do so much damage to your skin in the long run. That's why I love self-tanners - I do one almost once a week year round, and will apply at night and sleep in it with long pants and along sleeves to avoid any staining on my sheets. Washing it off in the morning and I'm all good to go! 

8. SKINCARE

I've always said "If you're going to spend your money on either makeup or skincare, be it skincare!!" You can make even the cheapest makeup look incredible on great skin, but you can't always make the most expensive makeup look good on bad skin. Skincare is so important to me, and has been from a young age. I think about it similarly to sunscreen - you need to use it FIRST to avoid something in the future (ie. wrinkles vs a sunburn). On a daily basis I use a toner, serum, eye cream, moisturizer, lip serum, and acne treatment. I think when it comes to achieving your best "summer body", skincare is often overlooked. Keeping your face and body moisturized and healthy during the harsh summer heat will compliment your tan and truly make you glow from within! 

9. LIMIT ALCOHOL

Ok ok.... this one might be hard for you 21+ people, especially during the summer. Just like #6, we all love a good BBQ, or a day on the boat, going out with friends, etc., and with that comes food and drink most of the time. Limiting your alcohol in general is always a good idea. When you start to track all your foods like me in the My Fitness Pal app, you'll be surprised just how many calories you add with drinks alone!! Keeping the drinks to the bare minimum, or better yet none at all, will greatly affect your #fitnessjourney. You'll feel more energized, healthier, and leaner overall. I mean, there's a reason we all get hangovers and dehydrated after a night out on the town - alcohol is literally a poison for your body. If you must have a drink, try to keep the calories light and stick to light beers (I prefer Corona Light) or well drinks with diet mixers like Diet Coke or sugar-free Red Bull. We all indulge once in a while, and during the summertime probably more so, but that's why it's important to track your foods, because you can easily factor in the calories for your day when you know you want to drink. 

10. MENTAL HEALTH

This one is a big one when it comes to body image, and it's the reason I saved it for last. I always try to preach self love and striving to become the BEST VERSION OF YOURSELF, not someone else. I hate the idea of being "bikini body ready", which is why I struggled when trying to come up with a title for the post, but I came to the conclusion that at the end of the day, we all want to look good no matter what time of year. More importantly, we all want to FEEL GOOD. When you stop comparing yourself to others, and start comparing yourself TO YOUR PREVIOUS SELF, the changes you make will be for the right reasons. The goals you'll achieve are set based on your needs and personal growth. It's great to look up to people online and want to achieve a similar aesthetic as them, but at the end of the day, they are doing the same thing and they have the same insecurities about their body and self image. 

I hope you found 10 Easy Steps to Achieve Your BEST Summer Body helpful! Everything linked above are items that I TRUELY do use and love on a daily/weekly basis. Feel free to visit me on INSTAGRAM @itscolleenk to keep up with me on a daily basis. I hope you all have a great summer!! Bye for now. πŸ’›

xoxo,

Colleen 

Disclaimer: I am NOT a medical professional or expert on fitness and nutrition. Please consult your doctor first before changing your diet or exercise routine. All products linked above are product I DO USE and LOVE.  If you purchase from said links, I will receive a small commission which I invest back into my blog and Instagram to produce more content like this for you guys. If you do not wish to support me, you can simply google the products listed and buy them separately. 

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