Summer is right around the corner, which means that people will be flocking to the pool or beach. If you’re like me, then you’re probably a little hesitant to show too much skin after a winter and early spring of hibernating indoors with all manner of delicious holiday gifts┬álike Christmas cookies and other belly-busting treats. As beach weather draws ever nearer, I’ve begun making diet and exercise a more regular part of my life – boosting my metabolism to help burn off those extra calories and pounds.

It’s certainly taken a lot of time and effort to get started, but my hope is that by midsummer I’ll be looking and feeling much better. If you’re interested in adopting some of my metabolic techniques, here are some tips to keep in mind this summer.

Photo by Keven Law

Get More Sleep
Before I get into the more grueling aspects of a healthier lifestyle, I want to take a minute to discuss the importance of getting a good night’s sleep. If you’re not resting for at least eight hours a night, your body will struggle to burn off those extra calories during the daytime. This is particularly true if you lead a stress-filled lifestyle – balancing busy professional and personal responsibilities. Even if it seems like a challenge, making room in your schedule for better sleep can go a long way toward a healthier you.

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Eating Right
When it comes to shedding pounds, diet is a key part of the equation. However, it’s not just about selecting foods that are low in calories and high in nutritional value, you can also change your overall meal strategy. Eating five small meals a day is commonly recommended by fitness and dietary enthusiasts, as it keeps your body’s metabolism at an elevated rate throughout the day. If you can incorporate plenty of fruits, vegetables, nuts and healthy proteins into this meal plan, you’ll go even further in your quest toward better nutrition.

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Simple Cardio
I’ll be the first to admit that I hate working out. It’s not just that I dislike pumping iron and waiting in line to use machines in the gym, it’s that I find I rarely have enough time to devote to exercise. Because of this, I like to find simpler ways to include cardio workouts in between my daily activities. For instance, I try to walk a half hour to and from work every day in addition to going for bike rides and hiking expeditions on the weekends.