Summer is here, and the heat is bearing down all across the Country. It’s no secret we all want to look good at the beach or our local pool during these hot Summer months. We all want to look better. We posses a sometimes unquenchable need to look good. When vanity is taken out of the equation, the goal should be to feel your best by eating healthy and exercising on a regular basis. If you can live a healthy lifestyle, your body will react and you will look your best. It should be an added bonus to look your best, not the only reason for working out.

Let’s start in a prime location: body fat. Fat is adipose tissue, or stored energy. You get energy from the foods you eat, so when you eat too much and don’t burn off the calories, your body stores the excess as fat. The North American Association for the Study of Obesity recently met and decided, off some abundant research and findings, that waist circumference is a better indication of disease risk than weight and body-mass index (BMI) alone. For years BMI has been an important factor, but it, along with weight alone, is not a clear indicator of heart disease or diabetes. This doesn’t mean BMI is not important, just that it’s not necessarily and indicator of how dangerous body fat can be to your health.

So what is waist circumference? Simply stated, it’s belly fat. This type of body fat is the worst kind, because it is a neighbor to many vital organs. According to Miami cardiologist Arthur Agatston, M.D., author of The South Beach Diet, “Abdominal fat is different and more dangerous than fat elsewhere. Unlike fat directly under the skin, belly fat, which adheres to organs, is associated with increases in C-reactive protein (CRP) and other markers of inflammation that can lead to heart disease.”

Diet plays a major roll in the amount of body fat resting on you. This is the first step to taking control of your life and burning body fat. Your portions have to be smaller, and you have to eat healthier if you are riddled with body fat.

Next, it’s time to hit the gym. If you are able to get your body moving through cardiovascular activity and resistance training, you will burn calories. If you can successfully burn more than you eat, you will not store unwanted body fat.

Whether you’ve been working at it since Winter or as soon as it got warm enough outside to ditch the coats, don’t stop. Body fat is very dangerous to your health. High blood pressure, diabetes, fatigue are just a few of the scary side effects of body fat. There is nothing wrong with wanting to look better, and that may be motivation enough for you, but wouldn’t you be better served to workout to feel better?

Working out the proper way will help you look and feel better. Drink lots of water, do more cardio than you think you can, and have fun with your workouts. Mix it up and enjoy your workouts. Join a small group personal training class for new and exciting moves and workouts. With the support of a group or personal trainer, you’ll find you can really push yourself to a new level.