Believe it or not, summer is here. Within a few days, the winter coats came off and the flesh came out. Suddenly, the sun is shining on the fact that I haven’t been keeping up with my diet or training. While starting now may not seem ideal with summer already here, it's never too late.

Whether a student wants to lose fat, gain muscle or simply tone up for the beach, results are attainable. 

“Starting in the beginning of May, someone can expect to see results early or middle June. That’s still plenty of summer left,” said Christopher Solis, a fourth year Exercise Science major. “You can start today, tomorrow or whenever, it doesn’t matter.”

The methods to making this happen are relatively straightforward.

Losing Fat

According to our student specialists, losing fat is reliant heavily on diet.

“If the goal is to lose weight, the majority of the progress isn’t going to come from strength training,” said Catherine Krawiec, a fourth year Mechanical Engineering student. “A lot of that comes from what you eat. So strength training without the diet to support it isn’t going to do you any good, especially if your goal is aesthetic.”

Solis stressed the importance of nutrition in conjunction with cardio.

“For the most part, cardio is the way to go,” said Solis. “With cardio, you can reduce your body mass index and your body fat percentages. With that is nutrition and making those two work together is the biggest part for trying to get that summer body.”

One way to calculate progress when trying to lose fat is through body mass index, or BMI. This index measures the amount of extra tissue mass on an individual, using height and weight as parameters. 

Solis explained one way to measure body fat percentages.

“In the gym, they have a hand-held device at each of the desks. You put in your information, hold it in front of you and it sends a current throughout your body,” he said.

Depending on the amount of water or fat in the body, the speed the current travels changes. This information is used to measure body fat percentages.

Krawiec discussed how eating healthy goes hand in hand with working out when trying to lose weight. "Diet, as far as getting a beach bod and a good aesthetic, is more important than training. You can train all day, but if you’re eating like crap then it’s not going to do anything for you.”

Diets come in all different flavors. There are paid meal subscriptions like the South Beach Diet, strict carb-cutters like ketogenic diets and others like the Paleo diet and raw food diet.

Gain Some Muscle

We all know the guy with the biggest biceps wins all the attention at the beach. It's not just about defining features; sometimes size plays a factor into overall confidence and demands attention.

To gain muscle, Solis stressed the importance of complex movements, which utilize many joints and muscles in one motion. 

“Bench, squat and deadlift. Those are the main three,” he said. "These are especially helpful for gaining the muscle mass that people want."

It isn't always possible to make it to the gym. For the busy student, calisthenics are an option. Calisthenics use the weight of the body with little to no equipment in order to work muscle groups. Some great Youtube channels devoted to calisthenics and at-home workouts include XHIT DailyCalisthenicmovement and School of Calisthenics

Though most might believe sit-ups are a surefire way to get abs, Krawiec suggested otherwise. 

“There are exercises like dead bugs and leg raises that will be better for getting abs,” she said.

While not ideal for attaining the best results the quickest, calisthenics are still useful if you are unable to get in some cardio.

"If you can't get into the gym or anything, you can try to do things from home. Although not as effective as a heavy weight workout, body weight workouts are still effective," said Solis.

Here to Help

For anyone that wants help or advice, utilizing the the Hale-Andrews Student Life Center is a great place to start. During the school year, they are open seven days a week and have specialized schedules for the summer and holiday breaks, all of which can be found here. The staff there is always available to offer help and advice about how to start getting into shape. Through the Fitness Lab, they offer one-on-one training as well as consultations, and can help you get started on your journey. 

“If you go to the main office, there are a bunch of people who are willing to talk to you about health, nutrition and workouts. They have a multitude of exercises and machines that they’re willing to teach you about,” said Solis.

Krawiec agreed. “The staff here is great. This gym here is fantastic, even in comparison to commercial gyms. Take advantage of the staff. They’re easy to ask questions to and they know what they’re talking about,” he said.

If you still crave more in addition to what the fitness center has to offer, the internet is a great place to go.

“If you don’t have enough time to work out and just want to diet, there are tons of resources online — you can just Google how to calculate the calories you need for each day,” Krawiec said.

RIT has the resources to help you achieve your fitness goals, even if you know just about nothing. Take advantage of our expansive selection of wellness courses. Almost all classes are catered to absolute beginners. Non-intense classes, such as the different yoga classes available, use breathing patterns and body positions to exercise the body, while P90X and the 120 Day Challenge are sure to leave a beginner sore. Don't bite off any more than you can chew, and be sure to have fun. Exercise can be much easier when it's done in a fun way or with friends.

Taking into consideration all of the ways to get the results you may be looking for, consistency is one of the most important factors because it maintains motivation. Physical change may come quickly, but can leave even faster. Improving the body is a long distance race, not a sprint.

Getting — and keeping — a beach-ready body isn't exactly easy, but with support, dedication and determination, you'll be ready to rock the Rochester summer.