A beach body isn’t hard—in theory—to attain. It’s a combination of dedication, cardiovascular, anaerobic and high intensity intervals. Break that down into 5 60-75 minute workouts a week, throw in a solid diet (low fat, moderate protein, low sugar) and you have a recipe for a six-pack!
Training and diet aren’t the only things you should aim to control. Cortisol, the stress hormone, is a major inhibitor to that “shredded” look. It causes our bodies to store fat, to feel hungry, and to hold on to calories. Which can sometimes become a negative feedback cycle: get stressed, increase cortisol, reach for the Little Debbies and before you know it your beach body has turned into a beach-ball-body.
What can you do to lower your stress and cortisol levels? Well, the good news is that there are a number of things you can do and almost all of them are free! Petting a cat (or dog) releases Oxytocon, the “cuddle chemical“, which can make you feel less stressed. Meditation, exercise or a vigorous walk also produce beneficial, stress-dampening chemicals.
And just like we can create negative feedback loops, we can create positive ones, too: excercising, eating right, spending time with animals and loved-ones all creates a positive reinforcement cycle just as addictive as a sugar-rush. The key is imprinting these positive patterns on your mind instead of the negative ones.