With summer around the corner, there are some last-minute steps you can take now to get your body ready for the beach. Of course we want to strive for a strong, healthy body year-round, but just the thought of sporting your swimsuit may motivate you enough to finally say goodbye to those stubborn 5–10 pounds. A handful of small changes can add up to big rewards when it comes to revealing your new bikini-ready body.
Cruise the perimeter of the grocery store. Load up on colorful fruits and veggies instead of pre-packaged, processed foods, which have been chemically processed and made solely from refined ingredients and artificial substances. Most processed foods are low in nutrients. It takes less energy to eat and digest them.
Hungry or not, we tend to snack at every chance we get. Studies show that we are a nation of constant snackers. Snacks can definitely be part of a well-balanced diet. The key is to choose the right snacks at the right time. Nutritionists recommend that you track your snacking pattern. For example, if your usual daily snack contains around 200 calories, try slashing that in half. Do this once a day and you will cut 700 calories per week.
Don’t Drink Calories
From frozen coffee concoctions, to juices and sodas, research shows that these drinks provide lots of calories but little beneficial nutrients. Other empty-calorie choices are alcoholic drinks. A couple of beers one night, a glass of wine the next, and a few cocktails on the weekend all contribute to your spare tire. Laced with sugar and sweet liqueur, just one margarita may contain as many calories (500–600) as your meal. The actual count will vary by recipe. As a comparison, a McDonald’s Big Mac contains 530 calories.
When it comes to fitness training, perhaps the tricky part is finding the time. Experts say consistency is the key to knocking off those stubborn pounds. “Commit 20 minutes a day, 4 to 6 days a week to physical activity. ‘Superset’ your training to give you more work in less time. For example, work one muscle group and while that muscle group is resting, work an entirely different muscle group,” said J.R. Niklos, director of Sports Performance Acceleration Naperville. “Always prioritize mechanics in any movement you do. This will ensure you are working the right way to get the right results and stay injury free,” said Niklos.
Even if regular workouts are part of your lifestyle, stepping up your game a little each time can burn just enough extra calories to rid yourself of extra weight. Tack on an extra mile to your jog, take the longer bike route, or add several laps to your swim. “If you want to see progress, there must be progression.,“ said Niklos. There are two different ways to increase your cardio—intensity (faster pace) and volume (longer distance). “One month focus on increasing the volume and then the next month focus on increasing the intensity. Every fourth week, I suggest a ‘deload’ week to allow for recovery. That is where you cut the volume or intensity in half for the week before you wish to switch to the next phase,” said Niklos. Adding weights to your training can also have a significant impact. Resistance training works wonders on your metabolism. Muscle torches calories, boosting your resting metabolic rate.
Don’t get stuck in a rut with the same old workout routine. Boredom can lead to skipping workouts and even throwing in the towel altogether. Discover new classes at the gym or take your training outdoors and go hiking or biking. This way you’ll stay on track and even train muscle groups that you may not have used in other workout routines. “Make lifestyle changes. Often we get motivated to lose weight and go on a binge of insane workouts and fad diets, only to end up burned out, frustrated, and potentially injured. The difference in extraordinary and ordinary is just the ‘extra’. Do a little extra every day and only make changes that you know you can handle for the rest of your life,” said Niklos.
Burning extra calories throughout the day, above and beyond what you’re already doing, can also help blast away those unwanted pounds.
Body Contouring Technology
Even with exercise and a proper diet, some people still have stubborn belly fat. New technology called UltraShape can help eliminate the stubborn fat that defies your best efforts. It works best for someone who is within 10 percent of their normal healthy body weight. UltraShape uses ultrasonic energy to destroy fat cells and improve body shape and contour. There are only a handful of practices in the Chicago area that offer this new technology. “I spent a significant amount of time following new technology in our field and evaluating this for not only safety, but for good patient outcomes,” said Dr. Bryan Rubach, director of the Center for Cosmetic and Laser Surgery located in Naperville. “For me to adopt new technology, it must provide a benefit over existing procedures. By far one of the most exciting developments in the last four years is nonsurgical body contouring. These technologies work and they do not require surgery with its associated risks,” said Rubach.
UltraShape, approved by the Food and Drug Administration in November 2014, is a nonsurgical, painless, no downtime technology. “When you compare this to surgical management such as liposuction, the benefits become apparent. Liposuction is an invasive surgical procedure that clearly has significant risks, significant post-surgical pain, and significant recovery. UltraShape has none of the risks associated with a surgical procedure,” said Dr. Rubach. Side effects could include a small blister at the treatment site. Typical treatment protocol is three sessions two weeks apart with optimal results in about 90 days following the last treatment.