Tips To Stay
Fit All Year

There is something about the warm weather that makes us want to be in enviable shape. Maybe it’s the thought of hitting the sand wearing a sexy form-fitting summer dress, a halter-top to show off taut abs, a tank top that shows off toned arms and shoulders, or that cute swimsuit or bikini. For some of us, waking up to the nearing summer months can cause panic because those New Year’s fitness resolutions were long abandoned and getting in shape in just a few weeks seems an arduous feat. Instead of waiting until the spring thaw to start preparing for bikini season, follow these five tips to keep your beach body all year round.

Women in dance class

5 bikini body tips to stay fit all year

It's true: Many women find their motivation to exercise sinking to new lows in the cooler months when going outside is uncomfortable and wearing layers of clothes is good camoflauge for putting on a few pounds. Working out in nicer weather is certainly easier, but keeping your fitness commitment all year round will help you avoid the frenzied rush to get a tight torso or toned legs. You'll already be in shape and ready to hit the beach when summer arrives.

1. Maintain a healthy diet

The well-known saying "we are what we eat" has truth behind it. Your body is a result of what you put into it. Over time, eating a diet based on junk food, sweets, and fast food will raise your body fat percentage and increase your weight. Jumping on a crash diet at first sight of sunny weather isn't always effective and typically is impossible to follow long-term. Avoid the crash diets just to get in shape for a season. Your body needs the same amount of proper nutrients all year long. Though fruits and vegetables are more abundant in the summer, other nutritious produce is available year round. Exercising and eating healthy go hand in hand when it comes to getting fit the right way. So pass on the French fries and focus on eating right and working out no matter the season.

2. Set Small Goals

According to South Barrington Park District personal trainer Valerie Brewster, part of keeping your beach body before, during, and after the summer is to create milestones throughout the year that will keep you motivated. Learn how to incorporate the holidays into your milestones. "[For example], everyone wants to wear a slinky dress for New Year's," she says. Simply notice the holidays or events during each season marked on your calendar. Are you planning a vacation? Is there an upcoming Christmas party that you want to look nice for in a new dress? Do you have a class reunion coming up? What plans do you have for your birthday or Valentine's Day? Finding different times and events throughout the year along with different ways to achieve each goal will keep you encouraged to maintain your figure year round.

3. Enjoy a change of scenery

Even though the winter weather doesn't permit the bike rides or five-mile runs you relish in the spring and summer, you can still find ways to stay fit. And the change in scenery will be good for you. If you love exercising outdoors, simply change up your surroundings with each season to keep doing the workouts you enjoy. If are a runner, find an indoor running track to complete your routine. A biker? Brewster, who is also a fitness instructor at the Illinois-based South Barrington Club, suggests taking a spinning class during the cooler seasons to prepare you for the outdoor biking season. You can also work out at home with fitness DVDs featuring your favorite exercises. Use the indoors to your advantage to stay in shape despite inclement weather conditions.

4. Add variety to your exercise

If your workout routine is mundane and repetitive, it is no wonder you can easily give it up when the weather makes a turn for the worst. It's time for a change. Don't be afraid to venture out to try new activities or incorporate new exercises into your routine. Exercising should be a fun experience, not something you dread. The more fun you have, the more likely you'll stick to your fitness program regardless of the time of year. Add pizzazz to your routine by experimenting with fitness classes. Try kickboxing, boot camp, or yoga classes. Get off the treadmill and try the elliptical or rowing machine. Check out a boxing or martial arts studio. If you like to dance, join a hip hop or belly dancing class. Try indoor rock climbing or even racquetball. Trade your free weights session for a resistance bands workout. Your body will naturally work harder when experiencing a new, spontaneous, and creative activity. Spicing up your routine will bring a new enjoyment to your workouts, which will inspire you to focus on staying in shape for the long haul.

5. Use the buddy System

Having a workout partner will keep you accountable for maintaining a beach-worthy physique all year round. A fitness buddy is your support system during your moments of frustration or on the days you just don't feel up to hitting the gym. When you'd rather skip your routine to sleep or pursue other activities, your workout buddy can give you the encouragement and extra push needed to get you going. Working out with others is fun and motivational. Other options include joining a sports team (intramural soccer, the corporate softball team at work, local tennis league) or training for a cause (Team in Training, Tour de Cure, Breast Cancer 3-Day Walk) as part of your exercise routine. By working out consistently with others, you will find yourself committed to staying physically fit.

Why go into summer stressing that you won't have time to get in beach-ready shape? Simply commit to stay fit all year round and no matter the season, you will look your best.

More fitness tips to stay in shape all year

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