What glorious weather we’ve had in wee Norn Iron this week. The parks were sprawled with half naked men (and ladies!), front doors were left wide open, women of a certain age were found fanning themselves with napkins, beaches were full of little people running about like wild things and dogs were playing in the daffodils. All sounds pretty good right? Until you went to join them…

You were uplifted by the jolly mood in the air. You decided to make the most of the snippet of sunshine that we rarely get. You slapped on the sun cream, grabbed your sunglasses and pulled out all your summer clothes. But then the nightmare began. (No, not the one where you realised your fashion last year was maybe not as hip as you thought. Did you really go out in that?) The real nightmare was that you discovered, outfit after outfit, that somehow all your summer clothes had shrunk over the winter!

Sound familiar? Of course the whole ‘shrinking’ explanation could be entirely true, but I’m willing to bet that it’s probably more a case of you are now ‘filling’ your summer clothes a bit more than you’d like to.

This is the bad news. The good news is, you have time to do something about it before the real summer comes.  Start focusing on your health and fitness so you can feel comfortable and confident baring all that flesh when the summer comes.

Follow these top ten tips to help you get ready for the rays:

  1. Start NOW. There is no point waiting until a couple of weeks before you pack your suitcase to jet off to Spain. Preparation is the key.
  2. Keep motivated by how good you’ll feel in all those summer clothes.
  3. Park the car a bit further away from where you’re going, be it the office, the shops and yes, even the gym. The slight increase in distance will all add to your calorie burn.
  4. Walk faster. Increasing your walking speed will help burn more calories and it takes minimal effort.
  5. Eat lots. Yes you read that right. Eat lots – but of the right stuff. A big healthy breakfast is the best way to kick start your day, and your metabolism. Continue to eat every 3-4 hours with healthy, balanced meals.
  6. Drink water throughout the day and with every meal. Water is good for hydrating the body, brain function, flushing out toxins, keeping you feel full and is used in the process of burning fat, so it’s important we have enough.
  7. Seize every opportunity you have to be active. Run up stairs, do a little 10 minute workout at home, go for a walk on your lunch break with a friend. Remember to focus on muscle building too, not just aerobic exercise. It’s important for metabolism and burning fat. And the more you can do outdoors the better. It won’t just lift your mood but the sunlight provides us with vitamin D, which helps with the uptake of calcium.
  8. Cut down on sugary drinks and snacks. Replace them with water, fruit, seeds and nuts (not the salted, roasted and honey kind I’m afraid)
  9. Ditch the sit ups and focus on the core. You can’t spot reduce fat on your body, so don’t think that doing hundreds of sit ups will give you a flat stomach. All it will do is build muscle, which is great for strength and sprinting but it will actually add width. Not often what you want. So get planking along with a range of other core exercises to help tone and strengthen the deep stomach muscles which will help pull it all in and help you have a flatter stomach.
  10. Hold your posture. Core exercises will help you focus more on how you hold yourself. But remind yourself throughout the day to stand up straight with your shoulders back and down. Complete your posture by drawing in your belly button, which is not only good for your spine, but it can visually take pounds off you.

Good luck!