8 ways to make this summer your happiest and sexiest yet

Talk about summertime fabness!
Monique Craft at Bondi Beach

Fact: looking good is all about feeling good.

With summer only just around the corner, it’s time to kick those feel-good health and lifestyle habits into gear and prep for your sexiest, happiest summer yet.

Because what the season of balmy beach days and backyard barbecues – not to mention bikinis and less layers – brings is the opportunity to embrace the great outdoors, and most importantly, your most confident self.

Follow these eight steps and get ready for a sizzling summer.

1. Get moving

Feeling bad about skipping this morning’s gym class? You’re not alone. According to a recent National Guilt & Health Survey commissioned by Aussie Bodies, 82 percent of Australian women feel bad about not exercising enough.

In the lead-up to summer, start setting yourself weekly fitness goals and make working out a part of your daily routine. Set the alarm clock 30 minutes earlier than normal and squeeze in a walk or a run – you’ll be surprised by how good you feel for the rest of the day (oh, those endorphins!). Or, if you’re not a morning person, unwind after a stressful workday with a Pilates or spin class.

Struggling to find the motivation to get up and go? Personal trainer and fitness influencer Monique Craft stresses the importance of making your training a priority – and is here to school you on how to do it.

“Put your workouts in your diary like they are important meetings you’ve scheduled with yourself,” she says. “Bosses don’t cancel!”

Start with finding an exercise style that suits your lifestyle. By the time summer comes along, not only will you be feeling more positive, you’ll be looking fit and toned, too.

2. Ditch the food guilt

She may be a #fitspiration to her thousands of Instagram followers, but even Monique enjoys a food indulgence now and again.

“My secret is I do love wine and pizza,” she says. “Enjoy your treats, your nights out with family and friends, and balance those times with healthier times!”

However, for Monique, balance is key. “I preach the importance of balance, because without it you see bingeing, diet and exercise plans abandoned, and unhappiness!”

The trick? Don’t restrict yourself. Enjoy your food favourites in moderation and seek out healthier alternatives.

If you’re a sweet tooth who loves chocolate, get your fix without the added guilt by opting for a low-sugar version instead. Monique’s pick? The new Aussie Bodies Lo-Carb Whip’d protein bars. They’ll give you a delicious chocolate fix, leaving you satisfied and feeling good.

Life’s too short to feel bad about food, right?

3. Find your Zen at the beach

Grab your yoga mat and head to the beach. Practising yoga on an uneven surface will strengthen muscles, and the crisp sea breeze will help you to feel calm and present.

While at the beach, take the time to meditate and recite positive affirmations to yourself;studies have shown how meditation can physically change the brain and improve happiness.

Plus, beach yoga means you won’t need to play that ‘Crashing Waves’ soundtrack – Mother Nature will provide a live show for free.

4. Stay hydrated

Cameron Diaz says drinking water is her secret to radiant skin. And if the seemingly ageless actress’ complexion is anything to go off, we’ll be pouring ourselves another glass, ASAP.

Although, more importantly, drinking water in summer is vital. Due to higher temperatures, you’re more likely to sweat out water, which can lead to dehydration. Listen to your body and try to opt for water over fizzy or alcoholic beverages. If you’re not in love with water, buy yourself an infuser water bottle and add fresh herbs or sliced fruit.

Water is a healthy (and seriously easy) way to keep your body functioning properly throughout summer, and can even help to speed up your metabolism.

5. Adopt a summer hobby

Goal-setting can help boost happiness, so why not aim to tick a summertime activity you’ve never tried before off your bucket list?

With the weather at its best, head outdoors and take up a new sport or hobby. Hire a kayak and go for a drive to check out the hidden gems along the coast, join a local sports team, or learn to crochet your own bikini!

The options are endless so think about what you want to achieve and write it down. You’ll feel damn accomplished by the time autumn comes around.

6. Apply SPF – always

While a back-from-holiday tan can help you feel extremely sexy, unprotected exposure to the sun can result in skin-peeling burns and a higher risk of developing skin cancer.

Apply SPF every day, including to your face. Sunscreen will also help to give you a youthful glow, with researchers finding the daily use of sunscreen to protect the skin against signs of aging.

Just ask Reese Witherspoon, who carries spray-on sunscreen in her bag all summer long!

Our advice? Fake it to you make it. With so many great instant and gradual tanners now on the market, you’ll be able to parade that sun-kissed glow all summer, and better yet, all year ’round.

7. Join a bookclub

Apart from the beautiful weather, summer is a time when work becomes quieter and days off more frequent (thank you, public holidays).

This year, sign up to a book club and bury yourself in a few of summer’s best reads.

Time away from your phone and computer will help you to relax and escape from the bustle of normal life. Getting together with a bunch of friends (and perhaps a great cheeseboard) will also prove a lot of fun.

8. Plan a holiday

Schedule in a summertime getaway. It doesn’t have to be expensive or long – a camping trip up the coast with the kids, or a weekend away with a group of friends will have you making the most of the season’s incredible weather and sunshine-y vibes.

Planning a trip is a great way to keep yourself motivated in the months leading up to summer. It will be a time to look forward to and may even give you an incentive to keep focused and driven, whether at work, with your fitness regime or your savings.

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