It is so refreshing to see businesses big and small embrace the movement to show all kinds of bodies, not just the skinny model type of Victoria’s Secret runway.
2022 has been the year to witness real progress in how the media represents the human body.
Now that spring is in full swing, the fitness world is starting to push us to get our bodies “beach ready” for summer. They suggest we start now in order to rock that bikini later.
At my studio, we know (and appreciate!) that every single body is unique. I say, you want a bikini body? Well, go put on a bikini, Lady! Bam – you have a bikini body. Or a Speedo for the dudes. Go for it.
I want to flip the script on the summer-body self talk because this hasn’t always been easy for me.
What if you skipped the scale and instead focused on how you feel? Focus on energy, strength, posture and endurance.
It is sooo tempting to tell yourself that you need to lose weight and then obsess over the number on the scale and how you are going to lower it to the magic one. Growing up as a dancer, I had a very specific idea of what made a perfect body and it meant being skinny. And it definitely involved a specific number popping up on the scale.
The truth is that, like age, weight is just a number. It doesn’t provide solid data to track the effectiveness of your workout program. I know this but I still weigh myself about once a week. Old habits die hard!
But perhaps instead of setting a weight goal, we can set goals for strength and endurance. Identify ways to measure your starting baseline. Can you do 10 reps of the Series of Five without stopping? How long can you hold a plank without arching your lower back or dropping to your knees? Can you shave 30 seconds off a mile while running or cycling?
Establish where you are now then track where you want to go as you commit to a workout routine. This is a much better way to go than a starvation diet that always backlashes!
Eat In-Season Foods that Fuel Your Workouts
Summer is the absolute best time to feast on the bounty of nature. I love going to the Santa Monica Farmers Market and loading up on the beautiful blood red tomatoes, the delightful peas, asparagus, berries, watermelon, corn and oh my god, the peaches and nectarines! Eating in-season is the best way to boost energy and get all the good micro-nutrients through food that will fuel every workout session.
Pair fruits and veggies with fat and protein for sustained feelings of fullness and the lasting energy you need to hit the mat for your sweat session.
Clear Your Mind with Meditation
The mind-body connection is POWERFUL. What we think and feel impacts our actions and ultimately, our results. Getting into class and moving your body is a huge part of self-care and wellness. But the mind needs to be tended, as well. And in fact, giving some attention to the mind can improve the results you get from physical body work.
In as little as 10 minutes a day, you can disrupt patterned thinking of what your body needs to look like. A little mindfulness meditation will bring less stress, clearer decision making, reduced anxiety, and increased self awareness. That way when you slip on that bikini or Speedo and hit the sand, the meditation minutes kick in so you feel more grounded – and so you can enjoy fun in the sun without obsessing over what your body looks like. Freedom!
The importance of drinking lots of water in the warm seasons cannot be overstated. The more you sweat, the more you need to replenish. Not drinking enough water leads to feelings of sluggishness, headache, irritability, and confusion, too. Not too mention, dehydration is often mistaken for hunger leading to overeating. Not what we want before getting on the mat.
Drink a glass or two before and after working out. Keep a bottle with you in the car and bring it with you as you go about your day. Hydration helps us stay energized and focused and gives our skin a healthy, vibrant glow.
When it comes to getting your body ready for summer, think about what YOUR body wants and needs. When do you feel truly healthy? For me, I feel best when I get in a good four workouts a week with a mix of Pilates, Yoga and cardio, when I’ve consistently gotten a solid 8 hours of sleep and when I’m eating tons of in-season fruits and veggies and little sugar or processed food. If I do all that and the number on the scale isn’t exactly what I want, it’s okay! Time to let go.
I want you to look and feel your best all summer long, whatever that looks and feels like to you. And this is my goal for myself. We’re all works in progress and no two people have the same idea of what their best summer body looks and feels like. Be gentle and KIND to yourself…and do a lot of Pilates!