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5 Healthy habits for summer slimdown

Michele Borboa, MS is a freelance writer and editor specializing in health, fitness, food, lifestyle, and pets. Michele is a health and wellness expert, personal chef, cookbook author, and pet-lover based in Bozeman, Montana. She is also...

Diet and fitness tips for bikini season

Spring’s here and summer is near, and you're starting to panic about your slimdown for bikini season. Though quick-fix crash diets may sound appealing, why not adopt healthy habits that will keep your winter weight off for good? We talked with Los Angeles-based food and fitness expert Cassandra Corum about the best ways to slim down for summer. Here are her tips to eat, exercise and live better for the long term.

Women running in the Spring

Summer slimdown tip #1

Get on the right path to healthy eating

Not that you should need an excuse to get outside to enjoy the warmer, sunny weather, but now is the perfect time of year to take advantage of your local farmers markets. Cassandra Corum, who has a professional culinary education from Cordon Bleu School of Culinary Arts, says farmers markets are the perfect to place to keep you on the right path of healthy eating. "With an abundance of organic fruits and veggies at the best prices, you can't lose," she explains. "An additional plus: It gets you out, moving and supporting your community."

Why you should eat organic foods >>

Summer slimdown tip #2

Take your fitness outside

Corum recommends soaking up some sun to boost your health. She's not talking about slouching in a beach chair flipping through magazines – she means breaking a sweat and burning calories. "Not only is it beneficial to your fitness to [go from the gym to exercising outdoors], a 10-year study done at the University of Essex shows that people who exercised outside saw greater positive physical and emotional results than those who stayed indoors." Exercising outdoors can be effortless -- Corum suggests going for a walk, throwing a ball around with kids or hitting the trail. Another alternative is to get on a horse and ride. In addition to being a certified strength and fitness coach, competitive runner, swimmer, and cyclist, she is also an accomplished equestrian. Riding horses is a great way to get your lower body and core in shape.

Ditch the gym every day of the week >>

Summer slimdown tip #3

Join an outdoor exercise class

If working out on your own leaves you yawning, Corum recommends leaving the workout planning to someone else. "Outside classes are becoming incredibly popular and easy to find," the fitness expert explains. "If you are in the Los Angeles area, I recommend Mission Possible with Jenna Phillips." Outdoor group fitness is a fun way to stay motivated to exercise as well as meet new people. As a bonus, it's budget-friendly. "Outdoor classes are cheaper than a trainer but you still get the professional supervision to ensure you are doing things properly," Corum adds.

Outdoor exercises to bust you out of your gym rut >>

Summer slimdown tip #4

Set fitness goals and devise a fitness plan – now!

If you keep putting off your diet and exercise plan, of course those crash diets are going to appeal to you. But they rarely work, so why not start adopting healthy habits today? "Don't wait until the last minute to get moving and get in shape," advises Corum. "Give yourself reasonable time to reach your goals, and if you are unsure how much time that is, get with your doctor, a nutritionist or a certified trainer to get an idea of what that looks like." Setting goals and devising a fitness plan now is the best way to successfully lose weight, get in shape and stay that way.

Tips to stay focused on fitness >>

Summer slimdown tip #5

Work out with a fitness buddy

It's true: Accountability is one of the best motivators to stick with your diet and fitness plan and reach your goals. Corum says, "Share your fitness goals with a friend and make a reccurring 'date' to get out and keep moving." Working out with a friend means you have someone who you can go through the challenges of eating right and regular exercise with, while also making your meal planning and workout times more fun than if you were doing it on your own.

You can't lose weight alone: Why a fitness support system works >>

The most important key for diet and fitness success is to adopt health-promoting strategies as habits rather than a quick fix. Corum concludes, "Summer goals are a great thing to have, but make a commitment to maintain the same level of dedication to your fitness year-round -- that way there is a never a crunch time to get in bikini shape."

To learn more about making the right choices to eat, exercise, and live better, visit www.cassandracorum.com.

More summer slimdown tips

10 Super foods for a slim summer
Solutions for your worst summer diet disasters
Quick fixes for your summer fitness failures

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