The metaphorical bell has rung and school is officially out of session. We thought we’d never make it, but finally freedom is ours! We roll down the windows of our probably also metaphorical convertibles, go buy a hypothetical summer wardrobe with our imaginary money, and in between our summer jobs and unpaid internships, revel in our supposed abundance of newfound free time. All is as magical and carefree as a tampon commercial until we get the group text: “Beach day tomorrow!”
The classical soundtrack running through your stress-free mind comes to a screeching halt. You slowly look down at your body: the insulation you padded onto your stomach during the winter months; the food baby whose proud parents are Oreos and ramen (not to mention the glowing godparents, Bagel Bites and Red Bull), currently in its third trimester; the forest of saplings that have taken root along your legs; the totally not summer chic shadowy crescents that have tattooed themselves under your eyes.
Frantically you open Google.
“How to”—you start typing—“get away with murder?” it prompts, incriminatingly remembering your former searches.
“Get swimsuit ready,” you finish.
A plethora of articles full of numbered tips pop up, telling you to blast “Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini” like it’s “Eye of the Tiger,” and inhale celery likes it’s oxygen.
But this advice is largely degrading, ridiculous and, how to put this gently—bullshit. As always though, “Study Breaks” is here to save the day like an especially good-looking lifeguard by bringing you next season’s swimsuit season advice, this season.
While we all know the only thing you actually have to do to obtain a beach ready body is put a swimsuit on it (and ideally some sunscreen), there are some other measures you can take to boost your beachability.
If You Can’t Tone It, Tan It
Remember you and your best friend writing each other’s initials on your backs in sunscreen before going tanning, thus branding yourself as besties all summer long? Same genius principal applies here.
Apply your SPF 50 in a grid-like pattern along your stomach, until you achieve your desired abs. Then, lay out your towel and bare your stomach to the scorching sun, letting those UV rays work their six pack magic.
Laughter is the Best Medicine
Beach body articles will recommend the ancient and strenuous art of exercise. They’ll say you have to “sweat,” “go to the gym” and “work hard”—but haven’t you been working hard all year long?
You’ll laugh until you cry, giving your stomach muscles an amazing workout.
It also sheds those pesky salt-filled tears—sodium is bloating anyway. Try not to get those abs too rock-hard though, since muscle is dense and more prone to sinking.
Body Contouring, Body Shmontouring
Thanks to the magical properties of highlighting and contouring, it’s now as easy to create the illusion of Keira Knightly collarbones as it is to fake Angelina Jolie cheekbones. But to take your contouring to the next level, take a lesson from the chameleon and buy some body paint.
Channel your inner artist (think Michelangelo, not Picasso) as you paint the areas you want to conceal the same shade as the sand or your beach towel. Then, lie perfectly still and experience the miracle of camouflage!
Tankini, monokini, bikini— the possibilities are endless (well, there are at least three). But which is the right choice for you? The one that minimizes shaving, of course.
Armpits: The wet T-shirt contest never ends if you never take it off! You can rock miniature underarm French braids and no one will be the wiser as your follicles frolic among the waves.
Bikini line: Throw it way back with some adorable high-waisted, boy short vintage bottoms so you can dive for that beach volley ball without fear of your bottoms betraying you.
Legs: The wet suit is a very slimming look, and even as you fall backwards off of your surfboard you’ll really look like you know what you’re doing. Plus, full coverage means no greasy sunscreen and no awkward tan lines to speak of.
Water: The doc claims simple H2O as a panacea, but the recommended eight glasses may sound overwhelming. Not if you think small! Eight shot glasses of water is not only adorable, but incredibly doable.
Bloody Mary: Basically a vegetable smoothie. Not to mention, the horseradish will clear out any congestion and the Tabasco will get your glands sweatin’ and your metabolism going. To top it all off, by munching on the celery garnish you’ll actually be burning calories.
Mojito: This tasty cocktail is essential a vehicle for spearmint, which not only aids with digestion but minimizes inflammation. Another round, please!
Tequila: The salt will help you float extra well, the lemon aids with digestion and tequila has been known to make you forget. Why did you feel like you needed to detox, anyway?