With the summer season now upon us, some of you may be wishing that you had started your summer cut slightly sooner. Building a desired amount of muscle and achieving optimal fat loss takes time, so it's important that you plan your yearly schedule carefully.
If you figure that you'll give yourself four weeks from summer to strip off the layer of fat accumulated during the winter months, chances are you're going to be pushing it. You cannot expect fat loss to happen at rapid speeds when it doesn't come on that quickly, so being realistic is important.
But, what if you're just realizing this and summer is here right now? Then you need to make use of a few strategies that can help you appear to look better than you really do. Is it cheating? Some may say so, but if you're still being sure you work hard, the boost in appearance could serve to keep you motivated so you always look your best, thus next time around, you won't have to worry.
Reduce Your Carbohydrates
If getting leaner is what you're looking for, a quick way to drop a few pounds over the short-term is to really reduce back on your carbohydrates. Since carbohydrates eaten tend to make the body retain more water, when you reduce your carbohydrate intake, you correspondingly also see a drop in water weight.
This will leave most people looking leaner than before, boosting your appearance dramatically over the period of a day or two.
Keep in mind that when you go back to your normal carb intake that weight will come back on, but if you're just trying to look good for a day on the beach, it can help.
Use A Self-Tanner
Next, another way you can really improve the way you look is by using a self-tanner. Whenever you are tanned you will look more defined, so it's a relatively simply thing to do to change the way you look. Having a good self-tanner makes this easy since these can work in hours, while if you're using a tanning bed or trying to tan natural, it can take days or weeks to notice a difference.
With all the various self-tanning products that are available, you're sure to find one that you like. Most don't smell nearly as bad as they used to either and won't leave you with that orangey-color that was so common with the earlier versions.
Improve Your Posture
If you want to look better in a matter of seconds, take a moment and straighten up your posture. This will make an incredible difference in not only how thin you look but will also make you appear a great deal more confident to others as well.
Posture is something that most of us don't really pay much attention to, but can have a big impact on our appearance. Ideally you want your shoulders to be pressed back, your hips pulled up, and your head slightly elevated.
Get into the habit of doing self-checks throughout your day so you can become more consciously aware of the type of posture you're using. If you are not maintaining good posture, you will notice you'll also feel more energetic throughout the day since you'll be getting a better flow of oxygen throughout the body.
Finally, as an added benefit of maintaining good posture, it's going to help prevent you from using incorrect form during your workouts, helping to improve the overall results you get.
Do A Quick 'Pump' Workout
A fourth way to get good posture is to perform a quick 'pump' workout. Basically this will be where you do a series of exercises with little or no rest in between while working in a much higher rep range with slightly lighter weights.
You want to focus on performing exercises that will really zero in on the muscles that you want to appear larger. So for example, if you're looking to improve how your arms look, perform 4-8 supersets of biceps curls with a triceps movement. Aim to complete 10-15 reps with each set so you can really fill the muscle with blood helping it to appear larger.
You should aim to mix up the exercises so you're doing a few sets from different angles as well. You might do a few sets of biceps curls, a few sets of hammer curls, and one or two sets of concentration curls for instance.
Just keep in mind that this technique is not designed to help you build muscle to any great extent, but rather just temporarily increase the size of the muscles. For the vast majority of your training time you will be better off performing compound exercises that allow you to lift a higher volume of weight to build true muscle size.
Cut Out Your Sodium Intake
Finally, the last thing you can do to help yourself look better than you are is to reduce back on your sodium intake. This works along the same principles as dropping your carb intake does since sodium is directly related to overall water balance in the body.
Be sure you're aware of some of the sneaky places salt can get into the diet such as with chocolate puddings, some cereals, certain bread and snack products, or in many of the sauces or condiments you might be using.
If you reduce back on these for a few days you should notice that you're starting to look leaner and may drop a few pounds on the scale.
So, be sure you're keeping these points in mind. Hard work and a proper diet is the most effective way to look your best over time, but when you need to look great within a day or so, these techniques can make a huge difference.