Summer is just three months away, and if you stuck with your new year’s resolution, chances are you’re already flexing for the ‘gram. The good news is the rest of us have time to catch up: Many fitness experts agree that any action taken for 21 consecutive days becomes a habit. That’s exactly the kind of consistency you’re going to need if you want to get that bikini ready summer body.
“Some people will work out like once or twice a week, and that’s just not sustainable because your body’s like, ‘oh we do that sometimes,’ but you want your body to know it’s all the time,” says New York-based wellness coach Cassandra Nuamah. “I kind of equate it to brushing your teeth—you can go without brushing your teeth, but you feel so weird and gross, and that exactly how I feel when I don’t work out.”
But here’s the thing about getting that bikini body—most people maintain it just long enough to share the hot pics to social media. There’s nothing wrong with having short-term goals, but Rahman Grayson, aka Mr. Shut Up and Train, encourages his clients to think long term.
“What is your reason for wanting to achieve your goal? Your why can be a vacation, but that’s a shallow why; dig a little deeper;” says the Atlanta-based trainer and owner of AEIM Fitness.
Identifying your motivation is the first step of Grayson’s 21-Day Total Fit Challenge. While there is a proliferation of “online trainers” these days, Grayson’s program is unique in that it’s completely free. For three weeks, he partners with sponsors and influencers such as Rob Hill Sr. and Kenny Burns to send daily workouts, motivation, and nutrition advice straight to subscribers.
“It’s not a weight loss challenge,” he stresses, ahead of the next round in April. “The point of the challenge is to get people to create healthy lifestyle changes.”
Nuamah agrees that #bodygoals shouldn’t necessarily be the main reason you get in shape. This is partly because everyone is built differently; therefore the ideal version of healthy looks different for each person.
“I think it’s more about healthy equaling happy,” she explains. “Happy with the way that you look, but also happy in the way that you feel. Not feeling tired, not feeling a mess when you look in the mirror, not feeling ashamed to wear certain things.”
However, if weight loss is your goal, it is simply a fact that cleaning up your diet is the most important change you can make. Nuamah is a witness that “nothing tastes as good as healthy and happy feels.” The certified Kukuwa Dance workout instructor and AFAA certified personal trainer lost 50 pounds and dropped nearly a dozen clothing sizes after she saw firsthand how much of an impact clean eating can have.
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“You can start seeing results in as little as two weeks,” she says. “All you have to do is go grocery shopping, plan out your meals, and work out at least four times a week. Even if it’s 30 minutes, and then even if you can get it in every day for only 15 minutes—but you have to get it in at some point because your body needs to metabolize. You have to balance out calories and metabolize the food that you put in.”
Getting summertime fine doesn’t have to be an arduous process, but it will take some consistency and dedication for the long haul. It all comes down to this: If you stay ready, you ain’t got to get ready!
Here are 6 tips if you’re trying to meet an aggressive goal:
- Exercise is secondary. “If you haven’t dialed in on you nutrition, you haven’t started,” says Grayson.
- Set a specific date and tangible goal. “By summer, I want to be bikini ready” is a different statement than “By June 15, I will be 25 pounds later.”
- Meal prep is key. Nuamah admonishes, “You know what’s coming up on your schedule; plan accordingly.”
- Set specific dates and times to work out. “I will work out Sundays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays from 8 to 8:30” is more concrete than “I will work out four times a week.”
- You have to do something different to see something different. If you aren’t getting the results you want, figure out what needs to change.
- Clean eating is a sacrifice, but remember, nothing tastes as good as healthy and happy feels.
Driadonna Roland is a Brooklyn transplant from Detroit who bleeds orange and green. Find her on the socials @DreeTV.