Summer is here! The sun is out, the temperature is soaring, and we’re dreaming of lounging by the pool. But it’s still not too late to get your summer body in shape. When it comes to weight loss, there are three main factors at play: strength training, cardio, and diet. Combining these elements of a healthy lifestyle will help you shape your body as well as create a sustainable fitness program. Are you ready?
Firstly, developing muscle will help you achieve that tight and toned summer body. Although we’re in full support of just getting out there and moving regardless of what your goal is, the best way to get that fit looking shape is to incorporate weight training into your regimen.
Lifting weights is a good start. Although it may seem challenging at first, there are many resources at your fingertips to help you learn safely. Check out some YouTube channels, hire a personal trainer, or simply google “how to lift weights” and you’re sure to find a bunch of ideas to help you get started.
The Fitness Buddy app contains exercises, videos, and descriptions on lots of topics, so you might even find a burst of inspiration there while you’re at it. Whichever resource you use, you’ll need to understand how to perform movements properly. Not only will this help you see better results, but it’ll also reduce your risk of injury.
So which exercises are best for which muscles? Usually in a gym, you’ll see men taking on one leg day followed by six days of upper body training. Women often do the opposite, with one day of upper strength training and six days of legs and glutes. There’s nothing wrong with either of these methods, but it is good to give your muscles a proper rest if you’re dedicating an entire workout to one group per session. Recovery days help your muscles to build and develop further, so try alternating chest day and leg day with one or two rest days in between. This will give you a balanced look to tone up your legs and arms. Full body workouts are also an awesome option. This may sound intense, but it doesn’t have to be! There’s a simple guide to help you plan your workout program: think legs, push, pull.
The first obviously corresponds to leg exercises. The second element is your pushing exercises, such as push ups and tricep dips. And lastly, your pulling movements, which include things like pull ups, rows, and lat pull downs. To get started, why don’t you try to do three sets each of 10 squats, 10 push ups, and 10 bent over rows. Do this just three times a week, and you’re bound to start feeling stronger. When you do, try adding in another three sets of exercises that incorporate the concept of legs, push, and pull, and see what changes you notice in your body.
The next thing to focus on is cardio — one of the most hated words on the planet! Cardio can be extremely challenging. To some people it is monotonous and therefore impossible. Personally, I’m terrible at it, but I still do it as it’s a crucial aspect of staying healthy.
Not only are there some major health benefits at play, but incorporating as little as 15 minutes of cardio in your day has been proven to reduce body fat. So what’s the best type of cardio for you? If you’re starting from zero, try doing three days of 20 minute walks, or four days of 15 minute walks. As the distance gets easier, increase the duration until you’re walking for around 45-60 minutes. Adding this to your weight training program will get you one step closer to that summer body.
The final factor to trim that bod is your diet. For many, this is the most difficult part of the process. Most people don’t know where to start, which foods are good, which foods are allowed, or how much they should eat. It can all be a little overwhelming sometimes, but start simple. Eat three meals and two snacks a day. Each meal should include a source of protein, carbohydrates, and fats.
For example, your balanced breakfast might be eggs, oatmeal, and a cup of fruit. You’ll find your protein and fats in the eggs and carbs in the oatmeal and fruit. Lunch could involve a turkey sandwich with a side of vegetables, and for dinner, you might fancy some chicken with roasted garlic on broccoli and rice.
Meanwhile, when you get snackish between meals, almonds, greek yogurt, or jerky are some basic healthy options. Remember though, everything should be eaten in moderation. Don’t completely cut out the things you enjoy! Strict dieting is unsustainable, and can result in a cycle where you start a diet, binge on forbidden, delicious unhealthy snacks, feel guilty, then give up. You need to remember that it is a process, and it’s okay to have a cookie or a slice of cake once in a while. Life would be pretty boring without any treats. Keep everything you eat in moderation, and you’ll see that trim bod in no time.
Consistency is the most important thing when it comes to trimming up, but it should be at a level you’re ready for. If you haven’t been exercising for a long time, try something simple for three days a week. If you’ve already been doing three days a week for a while, try adding a couple more days. If you think you could probably work on your diet, try cutting down to 3 sodas a week instead of 5. They don’t have to be crazy changes, just simple ones. Keep at it, and you’ll be beach-ready in no time!
Maddy has worked in the health and fitness industry for 5 years. She has a bachelors in Exercise Science and has recently received her Masters in Exercise Physiology. She has worked with a wide demographic of clients as a Personal Trainer and loves helping people reach their goals and continue to grow. She is an outdoor enthusiast and dedicates her workouts to rock climbing, hiking and whatever new experiences may come her way.
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