Summertime is here. Of course along with summer there comes more outdoor activities and the inevitable” gotta have it beach body.” Or at the very least, a body for light summer attire that doesn’t tire after light activity.
1. Set An Attainable Goal in an Appropriate Amount of Time – This means take an honest look at yourself and the goals you have set forth. Go ahead and buy that bathing suit or outfit and see exactly what you need to work on. Take a few photos from all angles. Is there a slight bulge around the middle? Or are the arms looking a little flabby? The start of any good program revolves around honesty and open self-observation.
2. Cardio in All Its Varieties – It’s the one word that can send chills up anyone’s spine. It’s the basis for any fitness program and there is no way around it. But the beauty of starting a cardio routine is that the improvements come so quickly. The first week may only be 3 or 4 days of a 15 or 20 minute run/walk session. But it’s more than you did the week before. So those excess calories that you have been saving up as body fat are now getting used up as an energy source. And recent studies have indicated that 15 minutes of cardio in the morning and 15 minutes in the evening are just as beneficial and the results are similar as if you had done a single 30 minute cardio session all at once. But as with all things there is a caveat; once you get really good and proficient on your favorite machine it’s time to change it up. I want my clients to choose that one piece of cardio equipment they just don’t like, and start using it. Why do you avoid it? Because it’s tough or too hard. But therein lays the challenge. Your body will adapt to your favorite machine and before you know it, those 400 calories you used to burn in the beginning have dropped to 200 calories because you adapted and became more efficient at this exercise. So move on. Variety is the spice of life and it’s the key to a great fitness routine.
3. Full Body Weight Resistance Exercises – Why waste time doing exercises that use a single small muscle group (like a biceps curl) when you can incorporate the entire body, hitting your legs, back, shoulders, and core while keeping your heart rate up (such as a dumbbell squat to press or walking lunges with dumbbell lateral raises ). Your body works as a unit and is seen as such from all angles. You may not see yourself from behind as you walk away, but others will. And the calories burned are much greater when you involve multiple parts. Think about combining a walking lung with biceps curls or dumbbell lateral arm raises, or a basic squat with an overhead press. There are so many great combinations to work with that take up less time than you think.
4. Pick a Fight with Your Trainer – Not all exercises begin with weights. Learn the fine art of boxing and hitting a punching bag or those large hand pads. There are many a calorie to be burned (not to mention frustrations to let out) by engaging in “the sweet science.” Think of Hilary Swank in her Oscar winning role as Maggie in Million Dollar Baby and I know you will admit all that work paid off. I will often use a boxer’s circuit routine by having a client hit the heavy bag for a minute, and then go directly to some speed and agility footwork step for 60 seconds, and then follow up with 1 minute of Swiss Ball Crunches. 3 minutes of fast paced non- traditional boxing work. After 5 rounds of this kind of action you’ll be ready for anything the world can throw at you.
5. When It Comes to Abs There’s More to Life Than Crunches – We all know that crunches and great abs were synonymous. Not anymore. The basic plank and any and all its variations can do more for that core than crunches. Drop to the floor and get into a pushup position but instead of doing the pushups, try walking across the floor on your hands and toes (a crabwalk) while maintaining the plank/pushup position. To add a twist, raise your butt in the air in a pyramid fashion then lower back down to the plank position and move sideways to the next step.
One last thing; Always make sure to drink plenty of water. Your body will be working overtime in trying to keep cool and the skin hydrated. So stay ahead of thirst by starting the morning with 12 ounces of water and just keep going. Remember thirst is your body’s way of saying that you’re already lagging in water consumption.
To your health.