The Beach Body Plan Part 4Today brings the final installment in The Beach Body Plan. These posts were all inspired by tips recommended by trainer Harley Pasternack whose clients include Megan Fox, Lady GaGa and Kanye West. For the past four weeks you’ve been treated to over fifteen tips and nine exercises to help in your quest to be beach-body ready when summer is upon us. So here are some new tips to put the finishing touches on your awesome summer body that’ll have all the boys (and wayward girls) talking.

1. Choose one day out of the week to cheat. Ok, this tip only works in terms of creating a good relationship with food, not so much in relationships, mind you. You’ve probably heard this tip often and have either already adopted it into your eating habits or have yet to. When you try to clean up your eating habits you usually immediately think it means you can never indulge anymore. Gone are the cupcakes, the cookies, the pizza and everything else that tastes good or excites you. Wrong. Sure, you can’t partake in these sweets and fatty foods every day but it doesn’t mean you should completely abstain from them. Studies have shown time and again that when people allowed themselves a “cheat day” each week and ate whatever they wanted to on that one day, as long as they ate healthy and clean the rest of the days of the week and exercises regularly it didn’t hurt them. Why is that? Because if you completely deny yourself of the food that you consider bad then one day you’ll break down and will indulge for a couple meals, days and perhaps even weeks later to satisfy that craving. So allow yourself a cheat day and satisfy those cravings and temptations so that you won’t go overboard later on in your fitness quest.

2. Become a mindful eater. People are constantly talking calories and watching how many you consume but do you hear people urging you to become more mindful of what you’re eating? We do not consciously devote much time or attention to how we eat, how eating makes us feel, why we eat, when we eat or even where we eat. If you really want to cut down on calories and eating the wrong things, start paying more attention to the food you’re eating and how it makes you feel and why you eat. Are you eating because you’re hungry or because you’re bored, being social or because you’re tired? Do you feel full after each meal, satisfied or a bit sick? Pay more attention to your food and you’ll find it’s easier to stick to a healthy weight and keep up with eating habits.

3. Train for a balanced body. Too often when people exercise or train they focus on one body part or muscle that they want to improve and focus everything on training that specific thing. They want abs so they do crunches. Bigger biceps, arm curls. So when you go to train your trouble area, rethink your approach. Instead of working your biceps, do exercises for your triceps. Work your rhomboids instead of focusing on your pecs and chest. Do hamstring exercises to work your glutes. Training for a balanced body is better than targeting one muscle group.

4. Stop eating when you aren’t quite full. When you eat anything, you do not immediately feel full. Fullness lags behind hunger. Do as many have recommended and never fully clean your plate. Eat until there’s about 20% of your food left, set your utensils down, drink some water and let the food digest a bit. If you’re still hungry ten or so minutes later, by all means, finish the rest of your food. It’s likely that you will be full off smaller portions than larger ones.

5. Write down and define your goals for the entire month. In a previous installment the tip was to define and write down your goals. Now the tip is to define your goals for an entire month. It’s easy to lose track of what you hope to accomplish if you only think of your fitness in the short term. Go so far as to define your fitness and health goals for the month. Where do you want to be weight wise? What changes to your diet do you want to make? Knowing your goals for the month will give you something to work toward not just for a few days or week, helping you stay the course longer and to always have something to work toward.

Add these moves to your workout this week:
1. Reverse incline dumbbell row:
Place a set of dumbbells underneath an incline bench. Set a incline bench to 45 degrees and straddle it, laying your chest against the back of the bench. Extend your arms and grab the dumbbells, pulling them toward you and as high as they will go while keeping your elbows tucked in at your sides. Lower the weights to the floor until your arms at 90 degrees.

2. Ball crunch: Lay on an exercise ball with your lower back resting against the ball, feet pressed firmly against the floor. Keep your neck straight as you lower your torso into a slight stretch (this is the start position). Contract your abs and curl your shoulders and torso, keeping your lower back against the ball as you exhale. As you inhale, go back to the starting position.

3. Seated dumbbell hammer curl: Sit on the front of a bench with your legs spread. With palms turned inward and dumbbells in each hand, extend your arms downward. With your upper arms pressed firmly against your rib cage, bring the dumbbells up to your shoulders. Exhale as you bring the weights up and inhale as you lower them.

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