It really comes down to making the right daily choices on a consistent basis.
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Take these 10 tips below and you'll be movin' and groovin' into swimsuit season looking and feeling the best you have in years.
1. Curb calorie density. You can save calories by making better choices, for example, marinara sauce has fewer calories than a cream sauce.
2. Shrink your servings. Portion size is critical for staying lean. Having an idea of how many calories are in a food will help you get there, for example, a deck of cards is a serving of meat and a tennis ball is equal to a cup of rice.
3. Limit some choices. Instead of a doughnut, have half of a whole-grain bagel with 1 teaspoon of peanut butter, this choice will save you calories — and has more nutritional value.
4. Curb liquid calories. Alcohol is a great place to start when looking at liquid or empty calories. Two to three drinks per day can add an extra 2 to 5 pounds; fruit juices are another high-calorie liquid choice.
5. Make movement part of your life. It's all about energy in vs. energy out. By simply moving more throughout the day we will lose or keep extra weight off, or don't move and gain weight guaranteed. It does not have to be in the gym, for example, take the stairs, wash your own car or play basketball with the kids.
6. Lean muscle increases your metabolism. Fat is burned in muscle tissue. A pound of muscle burns approximately 55 to 60 calories vs. a pound of fat only burns three to five calories. To stay lean, it is extremely important to maintain or increase your lean muscle tissue.
7. Break up your exercise into shorter time blocks. Rather than try to work out three days a week for an hour and a half, try 20 to 30 minutes, five to six days per week.
8. Find a friend or coach. Having a friend to work out with is a great way to stay committed to your workout regime. By setting an appointment with a friend or a trainer, you are less likely to skip a workout.
9. Set realistic goals. Without written, specific tangible goals you are just hoping for results.
10. Think healthy, not just skinny. If you are skinny but have very little muscle, you can still have high levels of body-fat. Eventually, this might cause health problems or lead to weight gain. Speak with a fitness trainer to determine your body fat.
Get it? Consistency is the key here. Make these tips daily habits, and you should have no problem the entire year, not just the spring.
Chad Smith is a Hagerstown personal trainer and co-owner of Home Team Fitness LLC. Go to www.hometeamfitness.net for more information.