Summer is pretty much here despite the fact that the temperature has been fluctuating between 32 and 82 degrees over the past three weeks here in New York City. It’s nearing the end of May so if you haven’t gotten close to your dream body yet, don’t lose hope! It’s definitely not too late!*
There are so many inspiring sites, apps, and social media pages that promote eating healthy and exercising. From detox teas and protein powders to weight-loss programs and exercise videos, being fit has become the latest growing trend. I don’t think I know anyone who either tries to go to the gym or complains that they need to. Everyone is becoming more aware of their health and body while simultaneously preaching self acceptance and body positivity. The same people posting pictures of women with curves captioning it as “no one likes a snuggle-stick” or making fun of someone with a belly are our future teachers encouraging children to accept themselves and are against bullying. Balance is key, right?
Since there is an abundance of information and tips on how to become fit, I thought I’d put out some helpful tips myself so you can read the same thing everyone else is telling you because you’re in denial about how much work it actually is to be healthy. Here are some important things to remember if you plan on going HAM (do people still say that?) to get that hot bod by August the latest:
1. Drink a lot of water. It’s pretty obvious that water is the most important thing whether you’re working out and trying to be healthy or not. If you’re like me and you forget to drink any fluids at all throughout the day besides coffee, it can be hard to drink the suggested “8 glasses” of water that you’re supposed to. Or you might be one of those weird people who feel that they can’t drink water because it has no taste. Either way, you can try different ways to incorporate water into your day and increase the number of trips to the bathroom drastically:
-one way is to make detox waters, where you put slices of different fruits and mint leaves into the water to give it some flavor. There are different recipes you can follow, and you only need to waste a slice or small amount of fruit to make a bottle of it unless you decide to make an entire jug that no one will want by the end of the day. The detox water obviously won’t taste like juice because there’s no large amount of sugar in it but it’ll give a small hint of taste that will either make you hungrier for actual fruits or cringe from it tasting like crap because mint leaves and orange peel submerged in water for an entire day is bound to taste rotten. But either way it’ll get you to drink water because of the effort you made to cut up fruits or because it tastes so terrible that you’ll want plain water afterwards.
-another way is to buy special water bottles to remind you to drink up to a certain level by a certain time. You’ll definitely be motivated to drink more water after spending $20-30 on one of these plastic water bottles with time written on them. They have times of the day written at different levels that indicate a certain amount of water should be finished by then, and by noon or later you refill it to start over. If you’re on a budget you can do this to your own water bottle, only it won’t be funky colored or have a motivational quote written on the other side that has nothing to do with working out. Your choice!
-if you want some flavor to your water but don’t want to go all out with the detox water, you can simply add a lemon slice or a few drops of lemon juice to your bottled water. I’ve heard that this can help with oily skin as well, or just for healthy skin in general but since I like the feeling and look of my teeth, I haven’t tried drinking it long enough to see any results.
2. Make fruit smoothies. Just like the detox water, fruit smoothies can be a fun and easy way to incorporate fruits into your diet as well. If for whatever reason you find eating a banana or apple alone boring (because eating is supposed to be fun somehow), you can make a smoothie with both instead. Again, there are a lot of recipes to make some tasty smoothies. All you need is water or juice and ice to help it blend smoothly, and a $100-200 blender for some reason. I’ve used the original Magic Bullet which did the trick just fine, but I’m sure buying something like a NutraBullet or Ninja Blender adds some magical touch that helps you lose weight. You could also just eat fruits normally but that’s not exciting. You can blend in spinach or other leafy veggies which will immediately make your smoothie look and taste unappetizing even if you just add a tiny portion. Smoothies are also a great way to get in your protein powder.
3. Protein shakes. I know nothing about protein powders or shakes, so this tip will be short. If you’re trying to put on some healthy weight and build more muscle then protein powder is the way to do this. If you’re not into this idea, you can just eat 8 pieces of chicken breast instead.
4. Healthy foods. Fruits and veggies are important to being healthier overall, but you also want to get more protein in. Chicken breast and salmon are your best friends. Your best bet is to hit up Costco or BJs and buy them in bulk along with giant jars of peanut or almond butter and jumbo tin cans of tuna. Avocados on everything. Plain oatmeal is your new bland breakfast of choice and, fuck it, buy a chicken and raise it in your backyard because you can never have enough eggs. What is bread or rice? You shouldn’t even know anymore. Quinoa will impress your friends because they can’t even pronounce it and turkey burgers will help you from crying after you realize how terrible dieting is.
1. Cardio. A lot of people will tell you that you don’t need a lot of cardio to lose weight. They’ll try to justify this by showing a picture of a slim woman with no boobs or ass next to a slim woman with a round butt and decent chest. The truth is that if you’re destined to have a badonkadonk booty, you’ll get one if you work it out. Some of us just naturally don’t get big butts but working out that area still gives us a toned, decent one. In no way, however, will you ever go from an A-cup to double Ds by working out. It just won’t happen so don’t listen to anyone who says your boobs can get bigger by doing anything besides getting pregnant, getting implants, or hitting that part of puberty late in your twenties. If it were possible any other way then I’d have some huge knockers by now. Cardio is essential if you want to lose a lot of weight.
2. Weight lifting. Strength training or whatever they like to call it does help you lose weight, just not tons of it in a short amount of time like cardio might. You’ll “turn fat into muscle” but don’t assume that means if you’re overweight that you can lift some weights and turn all that flab into fab. To assist in weight lifting you can buy tank tops to show off your arms and hashtag “do you even lift” under any and all Instagram pictures that don’t even have to do with working out. The overall goal of strength training is to lift as much as possible even though at no point in your life will you participate in any activity that involves lifting things that heavy. You want to aim for being the strongest person in the room- that room being the gym because you more than likely won’t be in any other room with anyone else that’s near your level of strength. Being able to lift 300lbs will benefit you when you want to try to lift 320lbs, because no other event in your life will require you to lift anything of that weight unless you’re a fire fighter or WWE wrestler. You want to be able to squat as much as possible as well because everyone likes butts.
If you want to be able to do a split on a dick Yoga and Pilates can help with flexibility, control, balance, and to strengthen your core. Yoga is more aimed at meditation while Pilates focuses on mind and body without the spiritual stuff. In my opinion you should incorporate some basic moves from Pilates into your workout just to help stretch.
4. Other outdoor activities/sports. You’ll most likely find that other activities besides going to the gym are frowned upon. Any sport or physical activity besides working out with weight machines or dumbbells will not help you in any way. Why are you trying to use your strength and health for anything besides trying to lift more plates of iron? Ignorant people will look for something outside of the gym once a week to participate in. Even if you want to work out at home you’re fooling yourself. Stay inside at the gym where you can show off your gainz and be among people with the same mentality. This isn’t fun and games.
You need a good balance of dieting and exercise if you really want to see results. Try to work out three times a week and in about one year your friends and family will see results without you mentioning that you’ve been going to the gym. Limit your cheat meals to one a week or one day a week so you don’t shoot yourself and have something to live for.
*Okay, okay. You should know better than to expect a positive, motivating post from me. I think 93% of what I wrote is false or not quite right, but it just goes to show what I learned from all these Instagram pages and random “fitness” people. It doesn’t just take hard work to go to the gym or even exercise on a daily basis- it takes money, a lot of time, and a ton of research to find a good plan that works for you. Not only is finding a workout routine difficult, but planning meals and buying healthy foods isn’t easy OR cheap. Chances are you won’t get that totally fit body that you dreamed of in time for this summer unless you do some serious boot camp training, but everyone is different and it shouldn’t discourage you from trying.
It feels like every week I make an attempt to wake up early and eat healthy only to crash by dinner time on Monday or on Tuesday when I wake up around 3pm for a combo of breakfast of lunch all in one. The hardest part for me is eating healthy because not only do fruits and veggies cost a lot but it takes time to make meals everyday when you have other things to do (like watch Buffy the Vampire Slayer from the beginning). My family doesn’t necessarily believe in having a balanced meal when curry and oil is the main ingredient in most of the foods they cook. Having veggies or salad with or as a meal doesn’t happen too often.
Either way, I still make attempts to eat healthy even if I get to exercise or not. The type of foods you eat have a huge impact on how you feel every day, especially as you get older (even though I’m old at all, I swear!). I notice when I eat junk or fast food before bed or in large amounts, I feel really lazy and sluggish for the rest of the day into the next morning. Combine that with being home watching Netflix for most of the week and it makes me feel worse.
The sites that I linked above for recipes are some that I like to use; Blogilates is a fun site for Pilates and other at home exercises. Cassey has recipes for smoothies and healthy drinks and other meals too, but I find that some of the ingredients are things you might have to go out of your way or deep in your pocket for. Allrecipes is my favorite site for any and all recipes because it has real people posting their recipes and other people rating them or even making adjustments. It helps you adjust serving sizes so you know how much of everything you need to make for 10 people or 2, and even has a grocery shopping checklist. I have both of their apps, one for recipes and one for videos on how to make them. (I’m not sponsored at all by either sites or else I’d have a much more helpful blog post on health.)
You need time, money, and a lot of will power and determination if you want to see real results from working out and eating healthy. There’s no easy way to do it, you just have to accept it and force yourself to do it like you do with school and work. Just think about all the crappy food you can get back to eating once you have the dream body you want.