As you all may have noticed, swimsuit season is rapidly approaching. The people at my gym sure have noticed; it was busy busy busy on Saturday morning. With swimsuit season comes a barrage of bikini tips and tricks. You’ve probably started noticing headlines like these:
- Glamour: The Absolute Best Bikini Workout
- Cosmopolitan: How to Make Your Butt Look Good in a Bikini
- Fitness Magazine: 10 Best Foods for Flat Abs
I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but these types of articles aren’t usually written with your best interest in mind. The mass media’s so sneaky!
Margaritas Are Not Flat-Belly Foods
Writers often write what you want to hear – you know, like the plethora of articles saying wine and chocolate are good for you. (I’m not denying they certainly have health perks, but these articles repeatedly make the news because that’s what people want to hear. “Ten Ways Broccoli Helps Your Heart” is a less sexy cover story.)
This post wasn’t written to tell you what you want to hear. You’re welcome. I have compiled a few tips that have worked for me in the past. You’ve probably heard them all, but a little reminder never hurt anyone.
- Muscles boost metabolism. Doing cardio all day will burn mega calories, but if you want to keep that incinerator burning all day long, you’ve got to add muscle. (Side Note: Weenie weights don’t add muscle.)
- Abs are made in the kitchen. A million crunches per day won’t get you a six-pack if you’ve got a layer of fat covering the abs. Abs hide very easily, so even a thin layer can mask your hard work. Diet is key!
- Target-toning is a myth. You can work on trouble spots every once in a while, but only doing crunches for a tight tummy or only doing squats for a perky bum won’t work. Sorry. I wish it were so simple.
- Too much tummy toning can backfire. Many training programs (ie: workout dvds) focus on oblique muscles (side abs) because working them makes you feel the burn. However, over-training this area can actually make your torso wider. Jennifer Nicole Lee (fitness model) discusses here take HERE, and I 100% agree.
- Sugar is the enemy. Fat is no longer the enemy since we get the good stuff from avocados, flax, and other great sources. Sugar, on the other hand, is still evil. Fruit is great in moderation, but be VERY mindful of added sugars.
- Some foods can help with weight loss, but their powers are exaggerated. It’s true that eggs are a wonderful source of nutrients with a protein punch. It’s also true that celery is extremely low-calorie. But we all know that one cannot live on “10 flat-ab foods” alone. Just follow Michael Pollan’s advice:
Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.
That wasn’t too much tough love was it? I don’t think so. Sugar-coating weight loss advice is like sugar-coating food. It doesn’t help you reach your goals any faster.
- Any extra tips I missed?