June 28, 2016
Every guy wants to look his best and get noticed – especially in the summer. So many fitness and diet programs promise quick results with little effort. Here’s the reality: getting in shape isn’t a matter of simply giving up your morning donut or deciding to start a heavy-duty weight training program. If you want real results, you’ll need to tweak your diet and launch a daily fitness routine -- you shouldn’t think of one without the other.
Here’s the winning formula: eat better, and move more. Why? Because exercising without reducing your calorie intake means you’ll increase your appetite and want to eat more. On the flip side, cutting back on food without exercising can lead to flabby excess skin. Making some simple changes to your daily lifestyle will yield the results you’re looking for. Here are some tips to help you get that summer bod:
Looking good for the beach starts with better nutrition, and you can accelerate things as the calendar inches toward summer. Lose carbs like pasta, breads and rice (some guys basically give up anything that’s white), as well as sugary desserts and snacks. And yes, forget alcohol, which is simply another way of consuming sugar.
Say goodbye to junk and processed food. Your diet should consist mainly of lean meats like fish and skinless chicken for protein, salads and green vegetables, some whole grains and an occasional fruit snack or dessert. Water should be your new favorite drink, and you should drink tons of it. When you drop carbs, it’s good to substitute in a little fat to make sure your energy doesn’t nosedive – eggs or a small piece of steak are great for this.
And keep it simple or you won’t stick with it. A personal trainer is great, but you’re more likely to stay with a regimen if your exercise consists of running, swimming or walking at the same time every day. Not two or three times a week, but daily – it’s actually harder to maintain a consistent regimen if you don’t do it every day.
This is sometimes hard for busy guys to do, especially with a demanding job and all the urgent needs that come with having a family. But you’ve got to do it – resist the burger and fries at lunch, the beers at happy hour, and deciding not to go running because “it looks like it’s going to rain.”
Exercise physiologists are discovering that most of us have a “set point” toward which our weight and fitness levels tend to want to return. As we get into our 30s, 40s, and 50s, most of us are never going to have the 31-inch waist that we had at 20. Don’t get discouraged and quit in frustration. Fitness in middle age looks different from fitness in high school and college, and as you’re reducing, the loss of 1 or 2 pounds per week is perfectly fine.
“The plug-in drug,” as it’s been called, is a killer of physical-activity momentum, and also makes you want to reach for popcorn and unhealthy snacks. The hours that you spend watching TV are better spent staying active. Don’t be a couch potato. You’ll be surprised how much time you free up.
Many men who are otherwise committed to fitness use a business trip as an escape into a separate moral universe in which Mexican takeout and fast-food pizza are suddenly acceptable. Don’t be one of this guy! One of the biggest challenges is sticking to a nutrition and exercise routine when your routine is thrown out of whack by travel.
Just because it’s summer doesn’t mean you have to throw yourself into military-level basic training. Avoid an injury by building gradually, and build your endurances from there. Start with a 30-minute walk around your neighborhood or ditch the car for a bike ride through Philly using Indego. Bikes are available at stations around the city and offer pass holders or one-time users the opportunity for fresh air and exercise while going to and from work, school, or appointments.
Using the warm weather is a great motivator for getting in shape. Just don’t try to cram too much dieting and exercise into too small a time frame. Take it easy, systematically, and with a sense of forgiveness toward yourself for those inevitable falls off the wagon!