Do you have a body? Is it summer? Then congratulations... you have a summer body!
Here are my top tips to help you rock on with your bad self this summer:
1. Enjoy waking up to glorious sunshine
Gratitude is an essential element in mental wellbeing, so don't take the brighter mornings and balmy evenings for granted!
The sun is our greatest source of vitamin D, essential for keeping bones, teeth and muscles healthy. Other great sources available year-round are oily fish, red meat, liver and egg yolks.
2. Take refreshing cold showers
Cold showers and ice baths are excellent for your skin and hair, and aid muscle recovery post-exercise. Cold water submersion is also great practise for building resilience and priming your central nervous system to relax - useful before a hot summer night's sleep!
3. Wear whatever the f&*k you want
It's your body and you're free to express your personality however you damn well choose. Bikini? Cool. Unicorn onesie? Also cool. You do you, my friend.
4. Keep hydrated
Our bodies are made up of around 60% water - we use it for everything we do! Our supplies deplete quicker during hot weather, so it's important to rehydrate by consuming water, teas & coffees, and watery foods such as fruit and cucumber.
To calculate your rough daily requirement in litres, multiply your bodyweight in kilograms by 0.038.
5. Take part in summer activities
Summer bodies aren't for looking at... they're for doing things with! Go swimming, play volleyball, dance at festivals and make sandcastles at the beach. Do whatever brings you joy this season (and every season, for that matter).
6. Eat summer foods
Humans are primed to consume food seasonally. Before we were able to export goods, we could only eat foods that were available at that time of year. Nowadays you can enjoy fresh food from all over the world, but do try to eat organic local food where possible. Your body and the environment will thank you =)
Your body is your home, transport, and only means of interaction with the world around you. It is so much more than something other people can judge you on. Take care of it, love it, and enjoy it.
Looking Good Vs Being Healthy
In my experience, when we worry more about our appearance than our health, we’re more likely to exercise and diet in extreme ways, have low self-esteem, and struggle with the motivation to maintain balanced training and nutrition habits long term.
It sounds like a no-brainer that we should motivate ourselves in more positive ways, but why is this such a difficult task in reality?
I’ve been doing this “holistic personal trainer” gig for a good few years now, and I can honestly say that understanding basic human psychology, particularly when it comes to mindset and motivation, has had the biggest impact for me in getting both results and joy for my clients.
Why We Struggle With Motivation
Each of us has a deep, intrinsic motivation to move, exercise, and eat in ways that suit our individual physiologies and psychologies. Unfortunately, stress and fear seem to dictate our actions more easily. You might enjoy tennis - maybe you play once a week or month, but feeling awful about the way you look could get you into the gym 5 days a week… at least for a little while.
Thoughts Influence Behaviours And Therefore Results
Everything starts with a thought, and the specific thoughts you have directly affect the outcomes you experience.
Sure, negative thoughts, such as “I am not attractive/slim/muscular enough” that make you feel like crap might motivate you to make a change. Unfortunately the messaging that made you feel like that in the first place is often designed to sell you a product or service, and forms part of a culture that advocates extreme diet and exercise regimes. That means engaging in behaviours that aren’t positive for your health… Even if they work, you’re unlikely to be completely happy with the results, nor maintain them for very long. Starving yourself and battering your body in the gym might make you look healthier, but they won’t make you happier.
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Positive Intentions Bring Positive Outcomes
An example of a more positive thought could be “dancing/weightlifting/running brings me joy”. Sounds great, right? Well, unfortunately there’s no urgency to this feeling (apart from the fact you only get one life to live!). To be motivated into action you’ll need some level of self awareness and accountability. Real, long-lasting, results-earning motivation can only come from within you. The good news is that taking responsibility in this way is very good for your mental wellbeing and general success in life. Learn about what lights you up... then go and do it!
The Importance Of Prioritising Health Over Appearance
Today’s prevailing approach is to reverse-engineer health… we make ourselves appear fit/strong/lean in order to feel healthy and happy, whereas the truth of the matter is that we look drop dead gorgeous as a result of being healthy and happy. When we look fit and well, it’s a reflection of our internal state.
My advice would be not to worry about what other people think looks good or is right for you - to be truly happy you need to experiment and find your own way of being healthy.