If you know me then you know that I am more in favor of exercising and eating right in order to feel healthy and strong so you can get out and conquer the world. But I know summer is here and the only reason many people workout and go on diets is so they can look good in a bathing suit at the beach. And that is perfectly fine! But for some people, this causes a lot of anxiety and body awareness issues. But don't worry, there is still time to drop some pounds before that big beach blowout. Follow these steps to get beach ready, and more importantly, HEALTHIER! Step One: Do Some Burpees. Can burpees really help flatten your stomach? You bet! Incorporate a few minutes of burpees into your workouts to get that heart rate up and tighten your core. Here's how to do a burpee: 1) Stand with feet shoulder width apart. 2) Drop to a squat with your hands on the ground. 3) Kick feet back while lowering into a push-up. 4) Return to squat position. 5) Jump up with arms overhead. Step Two: Reduce Sodium. Did you know that salt causes water retention? Puffy skin is not going to make your abs look great in a bathing suit! Take the time to pay attention to the sodium content of your food. Limit salt intake by not eating packaged foods and by putting down the salt shaker. Your six pack will thank you. Step Three: Pick Up A Medicine Ball. Challenging the muscles of your core with resistance is a proven way to create a tighter midsection. The medicine ball is a wonderful tool to provide such resistance as it causes your core to have to compensate for the uneven balance. Do a sit-up holding a medicine ball at your chest then throw it to a partner as you raise your chest toward your knees; or hold a medicine ball with arms straight up in the air as you do crunches. Step Four: Load Up On Fiber. Wonder how fiber could help you shed pounds and look great on the beach? It's actually quite simple. High fiber foods are nutrient dense and low in calories. This means that you'll feel full from fewer calories, encouraging weight loss. Try these high fiber favorites: spinach, raspberries, pear (with skin), artichoke, peas, apples (with skin), broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and carrots. Step Five: Crank Out Some V-Sits. One of the most problematic areas for women, when it comes to baring it all in a bathing suit, are the sides of your waist, or obliques. This is partly because the sides of your abs are not challenged with traditional crunches and sit-ups. Enter the oblique V-Sits. Target that problematic, muffin-top area with this effective move. 1) Lie on your side with legs straight and hands behind your head. 2) Raise your arms and legs simultaneously, while exhaling and squeezing your obliques. 3) Repeat on the other side. Step Six: Eat Lots Of Protein. Don't be afraid to eat when you are on the get-great-abs-quickly plan. It is really important that you are nourishing your body with quality, protein in order to develop that six-pack. Protein helps support muscle growth while controlling blood sugar – all important factors when it come to washboard abs. Good sources of protein include: chicken, steak, beans, turkey, eggs w/yolks, and fish. Step Seven: Do Some Hanging Leg Raises. Now it's time to target your lower abs, which are also a problem area for most. Traditional crunches and sit-ups neglect to strengthen and tighten the lower part of your abs, so a focused effort is required. Hanging Leg Raises are one of the most effective ways to strengthen your abdominals. 1) Hang from pull-up bar with legs fully extended. 2) Exhale and drive your knees up toward your chest. 3) Inhale as you slowly lower your legs back down. If you have trouble hanging from a pull-up bar, then do leg raises while lying on the ground. Be sure to keep your lower back pressed firmly into the ground to prevent it from arching upwards. Step Eight: Stop Eating Sugar. If you only did this step, and skipped all the rest, your abs would look significantly flatter by summer. I can't emphasize enough how quickly sugar will cover your hard earned stomach muscles with a soft layer of fat. Yes, sugar tastes good, but indulging in it causes your body to store layers of fat. Enjoy fresh fruit, rather than refined sugar. Once you stop eating sugar your body will no longer crave it, so don't give in to the initial cravings. Step Nine: Do Some Mountain Climbers. Here's an exercise that is intensely cardiovascular while also working your core. Add these to your routine to really whittle down your waistline. Here's how to do a Mountain Climber: 1) Get into push-up position. 2) Exhale as you alternately drive your knees in toward your chest, keeping your back flat. Step Ten: Pass On The Grains. Sure, whole grains are being touted as essential to a healthy diet, but the truth is that you'll do just fine without them. Even the heartiest wholegrain bread will encourage fat storage, so put down the breadbasket as you prepare for beach season. Grains are full of insulin-spiking carbohydrates - the perfect combination for fattening you up. Learn to love grain-free meals that center around protein, good fats, and vegetables. Step Eleven: Do Some Sprints. High intensity bursts of cardio are a proven way to burn away layers of fat, so incorporate sprints into your exercise routine. If you haven't run for a while, take it easy as you start, and gradually increase the intensity of your sprints. Run 30-60 second sprints in between resistance training sets to really kick your fat burning mechanism into high gear. Step Twelve: Start A Professional Fitness Program. You wouldn't try to file corporate tax returns without the assistance of your CPA, so why would you attempt to transform your body without the help of a professional? I'm here to get you into your ideal, fit body in the shortest amount of time possible. It's what I do, and I'm good at it. Contact me about my tummy flattening programs that will get you those washboard abs that you're wishing for. Call or email today to get started.