Looking for a beach body workout to keep you tight and toned all season long? We've rounded up expert advice for staying in tip-top shape, complete with insights from leading nutritionists, trainers, and a doctor. Check out our complete plan for how you can look your best, from what to eat and drink (vinegar!) to how—and how not to—work out (watch those crunches).
10 Of the Best Beach Body Tips
1. DRINK PLENTY OF WATER
We know, we know. You’ve heard this a thousand times, but drinking water really is one of the most important keys to burning fat, building muscle, and keeping your body running in tip-top shape. So many of our bodily functions depend on water and when you’re not drinking enough, you’re breaking down essential functions. Water is used by our bodies to flush out toxins, cushion joints and vital organs such as the brain and spinal cord, and our blood is even composed of around 90% water. The Mayo Clinic recommends drinking at least 64 ounces of water daily, or eight 8-ounce glasses.
2. WALK MORE
Walking has a huge amount of awesome benefits. Not only does walking promote cardiovascular health by getting your blood pumping, but it also helps keep your bones strong, promotes flexibility, helps burn fat, and is great for your lungs. Walking has wonderful physical benefits and is also known to increase mental function and clarity as well. Why not enjoy a sunrise walk on the beach after a great nights rest at one of these awesome oceanfront Topsail vacation rentals?
3. SKIP THE CARDIO, HIT THE WEIGHTS
Cardio exercises are great for heart health and function as they increase blood flow, which in turn helps keeps your arteries nice and clean. However, if you really want to get serious about losing weight and/or building muscle, hit the weight pile. Now ladies, hear us out. Normal weightlifting will NOT make you look like the Hulk- ever. Weightlifting is a super-efficient and effective way to shed fat, lose weight, and get lean and toned. Join a local gym and take
advantage of their weights or if you already have weights at home, check out this website that has 6 moves every beginner should know (along with how-to videos).
4. High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)
High Intensity Interval Training, better known as HIIT, is a workout routine composed of a burst of a specific workout followed by a short rest. For example, you could do 30 seconds of intense jump rope followed by 15 seconds of rest. You continue this cycle (switching up exercises if you wish) until you’re done. The great thing about HIIT is you don’t have to put in hours and hours at the gym to see results. 10 to 15 minutes a few times a week is all you need
(paired with light exercise on your non-HIIT days and a healthy diet) to start seeing results. The key to being successful with HIIT is giving your workout 110% and putting everything you have into it. HIIT is also something the whole family can join in on, especially younger kids. With all of that energy, they’ll love jumping around and burning off steam.
5. WATCH YOUR DIET
Ever head the saying, “Abs are made in the kitchen?” Well it’s true. Exercise is extremely important to your overall health and chiseling out that beach body but if you’re not properly fueling your body, it can’t perform as intended. A few simple ways to clean up your diet are to lose the soft drinks and only drink water, cut out the junk (like cakes, ice-cream, cookies), reduce your intake of white colored food (carbs that turn into sugar), and load up on fresh meat, veggies, and fruit.
6. Get More Sleep
We could all probably use a little extra sleep. Getting the proper amount of sleep is essential to losing weight and working on that beach body since it reduces stress levels, promotes weight loss, and improves your overall mood. Sleeping at least eight hours a night has been shown to increase weight loss in numerous studies, compared to people who didn’t get enough sleep. Your body also uses sleep as a time to recover and build muscle after working out, so it’s really important to get enough sleep if you’re lifting weights. Now you have an excuse for those Saturday afternoon catnaps.
Yoga is an excellent way to calm your mind, stretch, and work on your flexibility. Yoga can help strengthen and tone every muscle in your body and has been practiced for numerous health benefits for over 5,000 years. Not only can yoga help improve your mental health, tone your muscles, and increase your flexibility, but it can also help improve your lung, cardiovascular, and circulatory health. Grab a mat, hit the relaxing beaches of Topsail, and get your namaste on.
8. Group Fitness Classes
Community and accountability are two factors that often play a large role in the success of losing weight and getting fit. People are typically more likely to stick to something when they are being held accountable and have friends or family running along beside them. Check out your local fitness classes (a lot of community centers offer great free classes!) like Zumba, kickboxing, or Pilates just to name a few. If group classes aren’t your thing, grab a friend or family member and workout with them. Motivate each other, laugh, and learn together as you travel down the road to awesome beach bodies!
9. Stick to the Plan
When changing your lifestyle for health and fitness goals or reasons, it’s easy to get off track or even discouraged in the beginning. Maybe you’re missing those Mountain Dews, craving cheesecake, or just not seeing any progress. Be patient! Getting the beach body you’ve always wanted won’t happen overnight, but if you stick with your plan, you will see results. One thing that may help you see progress when the scale’s not budging is to take weekly measurements of your chest, hips, waist, and thighs. Often when the scale’s not showing progress, your body is still changing.
10. Forget About that Bikini and Love Your Body for What It Is
Although we hope making an effort to be healthy is a part of your daily life, life is too short to stress over every little dimple, wrinkle, or so called “imperfection” you may have. Our bodies are amazing and can do some pretty incredible things. Don’t beat yourself up if you don’t look like a swimsuit model… nobody really looks like that in real life anyway. So put on that bikini, strut out on the beach, and have a blast making memories that will last a lifetime.
Get a Beach Body: 19 Workout and Nutrition Tips We Swear By
1. Rev Your Metabolism
Turbocharge your metabolism and burn through body fat by eating five or six meals, every couple of hours, that are small enough to fit in your palm. This keeps your blood sugar stable and prevents you from getting so famished that you chase fried chicken with powdered doughnut holes. "You never want to be hungry, and you never want to be full," says Ron Mathews, a trainer in Los Angeles who works with Joe Manganiello.
2. Prioritize Your Pecs
The centerpiece of the torso is no longer the six-pack. Pecs are a point of pride that you can't afford to overlook. Just resist the urge to channel Rambo. To keep your chest proportional, do a mix of exercises that use body weight, such as clapping push-ups and regular push-ups, and ones that require barbells, like bench presses. Choose a barbell that is 60 percent as heavy as what you usually lift, Mathews says. In addition, celebrity trainer Harley Pasternak, who's worked with Robert Downey Jr. and Robert Pattinson, recommends training the upper-back muscles with rows (using both dumbbells and TRX suspension bands) so you draw back the shoulder blades, which help tilt the chest up and out.
3. Manscape Your Underarm Hair
Clip your chest hair or don't—that's your call. But the one area where there's no negotiation? Under the arms. "You want to look like you care," says Anthony Sosnick, founder of the Anthony Brands grooming line. The simple test to determine if you need to trim: Put your arms at your sides. If any tufts stick out, snip them off.
4. Don’t Forget Your Lower Abs
Your lower abs—the bottom two of the six-pack—are the weakest muscles in your midsection. So work them first, before they become fatigued, says Mathews. Try this: Lie flat on your back, hands by your sides, legs raised straight toward the ceiling. While keeping your lower back pressed against the floor, slowly lower your feet to the ground.
5. But Don’t Overdo the Ab Work
Keep the crunches to a minimum. "Doing too many will create a strength imbalance and cause your body to bend forward and shorten your midsection," Pasternak says. "It creates some postural issues and the illusion of having a belly." He suggests toning the area with planks instead.
6. Prevent Unwanted Bloating
Prevent a puffy stomach with these pointers, per nutritionists Stephanie Clarke, R.D., and Willow Jarosh, R.D., founders of CJ Nutrition in New York City.
Potassium-rich foods (some beans, dark leafy greens, squash, avocados, mushrooms, bananas) balance out the sodium in your body, and laying off processed junk (and otherwise healthy fare like cottage cheese, nut butter, wheat bread, and tomato sauce) keeps you from adding any more.
Too little can cause digestive problems that lead to bloating; up your intake by eating raspberries, pears, potatoes, Brussels sprouts, and cauliflower.
Water helps move that fiber through the digestive system efficiently
7. Stay Active at the Beach
Don't just sit there. You could be getting a workout—and having fun, too. Here's roughly how many calories a 180-pound man will burn during 30 minutes of various beach activities:
- Beach volleyball: 355
- Swimming: 266
- Water-skiing/wakeboarding: 266
- Surfing: 125
- Stand-up paddleboarding: 123
8. Choose Your Beach Snacks Wisely
Not all beach-side indulgences are created equally. Here's how they stack up, from the totally okay to the if-you-absolutely-have-to, ranked by nutritionists Clarke and Jaros:
Icy mango slices, pineapple chunks, or cherries are like healthy Popsicles. Freeze any fruit—the less watery, the better it will hold up in a cooler.
The downside to drinking juice instead of eating whole fruit is that you can easily ingest 10 slices of liquid watermelon, where you might chew only three. (Still, it's less sugar than a snow cone.)
The fresh-fish, lime-juice, and olive-oil combo is like the unicorn of snacks: a rare protein-heavy, low-carb find.
Aim for an 80-20 wine-seltzer mix: You'll keep yourself hydrated and lower the number of calories you'd consume in a full pour.
Mayo plus bun equals a fat-and-carb calorie bomb.
Sugar cone trumps waffle because it has fewer calories and holds less ice cream.
9. Tan What You Can't Tone
Bronzing lotion, applied strategically, can help you fake definition. First, exfoliate to make sure the color goes on evenly, says Sosnick (Anthony Logistics for Men makes a Blue Sea Kelp Body Scrub ($18, anthony.com). Apply the bronzer along the center of your muscles, fading it outward. A lighter formula, like a mousse, is easiest to blend. Try St. Tropez Self Tan Bronzing Mousse ($32, ulta.com) and stop beating yourself up over those workouts you skipped.
10. Take a Run on the Sand
Hitting the sand will burn about 30 percent more calories than walking or running on pavement.
11. Strengthen Your Glutes and Rock Fitted Trunks
Even if you prefer knee-skimming board shorts, swimsuit styles are skewing tighter. Strengthen those glutes with walking lunges, reverse lunges, or speed-skater lunges, Pasternak says. And when you tire of all of the lunging, add in stiff-legged deadlifts.
12. For the Biggest Calorie Burn, Work Those Legs
If you're skipping cardio but still want a big-calorie burn from your workout, punish your leg muscles, the largest in the body. Try weighted squats (barbell on shoulders), deadlifts, box jumps, and burpees. Keep your heart rate up—and torch calories—by nixing rests between sets.
13. Give Your Triceps Some Extra Attention
Biceps may get all the love, but the triceps make up about 70 percent of your arm. So giving them extra attention can get you sleeve-busting arm muscles, too. Mathews suggests moves like extensions while standing (French presses) or while lying on a bench (skull crushers).
14. Get a Little Help from the Doc
If you exercise and eat right but still can't finish off the fat covering your abs, a trip to the doctor could help. UltraShape, a noninvasive treatment, ruptures fat cells using ultrasound frequencies, and "your body absorbs the destroyed fat," says Dr. Joshua Zeichner, a dermatologist at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York. "It passes through the system the same way the body eats red blood cells from a bruise." During the procedure, a technician gels you up and moves the device over your abdomen for 30 to 45 minutes. The most you'll feel is a slight tingle. Multiple sessions are required (at between $800 and $1,000 each), but patients have reported losing up to three inches off their waists.
15. Go into a Calorie Deficit
To destroy body fat, subtract 500 calories from your normal daily intake and work out to burn an additional 500, says Mathews. He advises avoiding dairy, sauces, desserts, or any added sugar to achieve this goal. Here's how your macros should break down:
Protein: 30% of your calories should come from lean meat, fish, poultry, beans, legumes, egg whites, and protein shakes.
Fat: 30% of your calories should come from avocados, olive oil, walnuts, and egg yolks (for every four egg whites you eat, have one yolk).
Complex carbs: 40% of your calories should come from sweet potatoes, brown rice, yams, oatmeal, quinoa, and veggies.
16. Try Fasted Cardio
Moderate-intensity cardio on an empty stomach (a.k.a. fasted cardio) is the most efficient way to torch fat, Mathews says. That's because the body doesn't have any ready glycogen to burn, so it uses stored fat to get through the workout. However, if you push yourself too hard, you'll start cannibalizing muscle. Keep the cardio easy enough (heart rate under 140) by alternating walking and running or by walking at a steep incline (you can do either on the treadmill). "You don't want to be huffing and puffing," Mathews says.
17. Get a Last-Minute Pump
No beach body workout is complete without an eleventh-hour pump. Get some last-minute definition with these three exercises, which are as essential to your beach prep as slathering on SPF. For the arms, do some tricep dips on a chair. For the chest, drop down and do push-ups. Finish off with some hanging knee raises to target the abs.
18. Maintain Good Posture
Don't undo all that time you spent in the gym with the three P's: poor posture in public. Use these shamelessly superficial—but entirely effective—methods for strutting your best stuff.
Show off your abs by turning your hips 30 degrees but keeping your chest facing forward (i.e., the hips and chest aren't in line with each other). The twist adds instant definition.
Keep the focus on your newly defined pecs by resting on your stomach while leaning on your forearms—a position that also makes your biceps pop.
Avoid stomach rolls and a double chin by reclining on your back and holding your book or iPad up above your face. (Bonus: You can use it to block the sun.)
19. Down Some Apple Cider Vinegar
Mixing apple cider vinegar with water before meals may fend off hunger, studies show. Clarke suggests mixing two tablespoons with eight ounces of water. "I wouldn't go any stronger," she says, cautioning that vinegar can be tough on tooth enamel. Or try Juice Generation's Fighter Cider—it's made with apple cider vinegar, fresh grapefruit, and ginger.