How to fake summer fitness
If you’re not the toned Adonis you hoped to be by the summer holidays don’t worry, here’s how to fake it
The weather might be doing a good job of hiding the fact, but summer is officially here.
Which is great news, unless of course you promised yourself in February that you'd get fit for your holidays and haven't managed a single gym session since.
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Unfortunately, if you wanted to be sporting a flat stomach and toned arms by July, time is officially up.
But if you're not the slim man you wanted to be, don't despair. There are ways to appear fitter without being fitter. OK, it's not a long term solution, but it will see you through a long, hot (yeah right) summer. Here's how to fake summer fitness.
For a man still carrying the few pounds he was definitely going to lose by July but inexplicably didn't, summer can seem like a bit of a nightmare. It's about thin clothes and exposed flesh. It's not about disguising your padding with - well - padding.
So draw attention away from your 'weak' spots. Good deck shoes or pumps will attract admiring glances. A stylish sun hat, cool shades, and - if you're into that sort of thing - necklaces and bracelets, will shift the beholder's focus. A short haircut with some volume on top will make you appear taller and leaner.
You're unlikely to get a real one at the moment, but a fake tan is easier and safer anyway. It's also slimming, so don't turn up your nose at the secret slimming aid women have known about for donkey's years.
A subtle tan hides imperfections and covers mottled, flabby bits. It's fashion lore that darker colours make you look thinner, and it's true with skin, too. There's science behind the theory. Darker colours absorb light, meaning less of it bounces back into an onlooker's eyes. Light shades have the opposite effect.
A tan also gives the impression of a healthy glow, so people will think you work out even if you don't. But do remember the cardinal rules of self tanning - tan slowly and subtly and don't leave blotches.
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If you have a bit of a belly, don't emphasise the fact by slouching and pushing it out. Standing tall - shoulders back, back straight - will instantly shed pounds from your appearance. It pulls your belly taught, rather than letting it hang loose.
The same is true if you're sitting down. Slouching at your desk will emphasise every squidgy roll. Sitting straight in your chair will smooth them out.
Good clothes, not big clothes
If you're trying to hide a few excess pounds your instinct may be to reach for the XXL. Resist the urge. Don't necessarily go for a figure hugging fit, but baggy clothes will billow out around you and can actually make you look bigger than you are. In effect, you end up looking like a small head perched atop a mountainous torso, the tiny cherry on the huge cake.
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Go for clothes that fit in light natural fabrics - perfect for summer - and avoid patterns which draw the eye. Darker block colours are especially flattering because they don't show detail, just the more flattering whole.
It won't work on hot days, of course, but a well fitting vest can be a good idea on cooler nights, because it smoothes out flabby bits under a light jumper or shirt. You could even go for control underwear that pulls in your paunch. Don't mock - men's ranges are available from Asda, among others.
Lose the water
At some point you may have to hit the beach (if you go abroad, most probably). If that's a week or two away, you may already be panicking. The last thing you want to do is present your inelegant moobs to the sexy senoritas of the Costa del Sol.
Well, stop panicking, and get working. There's quite a lot you can accomplish in a week, if you hit the gym today and keep hitting it until you fly.
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Especially if, at the same time, you cut carbs. This is a bit of a quick fix, because when you cut carbs your body also stops retaining water. When you lose stored water, you look leaner, less bloated and more toned. Cutting salt will help, too.
It's not a long term solution, because it will eventually interfere with your exercise regime. Cut carbs and you also lose muscle fuel. But it's worth it for a week or two if it means you will cut a leaner figure on the beach.
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In fact, none of this is a long term solution, because what you really want is the energy that comes from a fit and healthy body. But for now, fake fitness is better than no fitness at all.
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