Ladies and gentlemen, swimsuit season is here.

That means everyone and their mother will be rushing to the gym and starting all sorts of insane diets in hopes of obtaining that perfect bikini body. Working out is a great lifestyle choice and losing weight is something to be proud of. However, when someone tries to slim down without first having all the facts, there is potential for serious damage. That being said, before you drink that raw-egg smoothie and head to the gym for three hours, there are a few things you should know.

The treadmill is not counting your calories. Exercise professionals argue that when the machine someone is on is telling them how many calories they have burned, more likely than not, the number is inaccurate. Every body is different, and your elliptical may not account for that.

Protein shakes are not the ideal post-workout snack. When you drink a protein shake, you are essentially eating another meal. Not to mention the protein is processed more than in your average chicken sandwich. You are better off eating real food, rather than drinking an isolated compound.

“No pain, no gain” is not an appropriate motto to live by. Working out should be challenging, and it is alright to feel slight discomfort. However, if you are working out at a level of pain for your entire gym session, you could be at serious risk for injury. Work smarter, not harder.

Calories cannot tell time. The idea that you cannot eat after a certain time of the night is based on the idea that your body will not burn as many calories late at night. In reality, your body is still burning calories regardless of what time it is. As long as you move around the next day, you will be fine. The real issue is that most nighttime snackers tend to also be overeaters. The next time you need a midnight snack, it’s okay to eat something, maybe just trade that brownie for an apple.

The master cleanse is not a safe method of weight loss. While Beyonce claims to have lost 20 pounds consuming nothing but lemonade mixed with cayenne pepper and maple syrup for two weeks, this is absolutely not a safe route for any person, regardless of what shape they are in. If you want to remove toxins from your body, stop drinking and smoking. Participating in the master cleanse, or any unbalanced diet, is potentially dangerous to your overall health by robbing your organs of the healthy bacteria it needs to keep your immune system functioning. The weight you lose on diets like the master cleanse may not even come from fat, but instead you may be losing lean muscle in the process.

In order to lose weight, you need to diet and exercise simultaneously. It is unlikely that you will find a program that effectively burns fat while maintaining your overall health if you spend hours at the gym and then go to an all-you-can-eat buffet by yourself. By the same token, if you are eating all the fruits and vegetables your body desires but live a largely sedentary lifestyle, you many not see significant results anytime soon.

Everybody wants to look irresistible in the summertime and show off the perfect beach body to everyone they meet. This desire is a positive goal to have and if one pairs a balanced diet with regular exercise, they will be able to sport the in-shape look they’ve been working towards.

However, trying to lose weight while operating on misinformation or following unhealthy trends may provide serious health complications in the long run and prevent you from enjoying the beach at all.

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