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Shape up for swimsuit season

Fitness: Five easy tips will leave you ready for summer

Posted: May 20, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Updated: May 20, 2011 1:55 a.m.

Charlotte Loa demonstrates the proper form for a pushup.

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Are you ready to shed your winter coat? After all, ’tis the season for tank tops, summer dresses and bathing suits.

So, what is the secret to getting your body toned up ASAP and feeling confident to go to the beach, the pool, the boat or wherever you are headed this sunny season?

Here are my top five tips for feeling confident this summer:

Resistance training
Contrary to common belief, resistance training actually burns more fat than aerobic exercise and will give you the definition you are looking for.

Prioritize your resistance training instead of your cardio to get the sculpted look you want.

Keep in mind that you must put a demand on your body that it’s not used to in order to get it to change.

Most women have a purse that weighs 10-12 pounds that they lift daily, and many pick up a child that is 20-30 pounds without thinking about it.

You cannot lift the same amount of weight that your body is already used to and expect it to change.

Challenge yourself in the gym and watch your body transform to become fit fast.

This is also why you should consider joining a gym, as there is a point with your home gym that you’ll no longer be able to challenge yourself.

Perform circuits
When doing your resistance training, instead of doing a set of an exercise, resting, then doing a set of the same exercise again — pair your exercises up into circuits in which you perform one exercise, bypass the long rest and head over to do a movement working the opposite muscles.

Skip ‘bis’ and ‘tris’
You’ll actually do more sculpting by doing circuits of what I call “bang for your buck” exercises, which use more than one muscle group, also known as “complex” exercises.

Instead of doing a set of bicep curls and tricep presses, use an exercise like a bent-over dumbbell row, which will work both your back muscles and your biceps together (burning more calories and still working your biceps).

Pair that with a pressing exercise, such as a dumbbell chest-press or overhead press, which will work your chest, shoulders and triceps.

You’ll have an extremely effective workout, working multiple muscle groups, burning more calories, getting your metabolism revving and toning your arms.

 Fuel your body
The main secret to fueling your body with the right foods is to plan ahead. Once a week, chop up veggies to eat throughout the day, grill up some fish or chicken on the barbecue and always have healthful snacks ready to go.

You should also have menus of restaurants in the area where you can get a quick, healthful salad or snack to go.

For example, if you are running around town and need to get a healthful snack or a meal, stop by Results Fitness, where we have our Shake Café with all-natural, protein-rich shakes.

Swing by and get a menu, or visit www.results-fitness.com. You can call your order in ahead of time.

Our shake café is open to the public, you don’t have to be a member.

Posture check
Nothing says confidence like tall posture, a flat belly and toned, fit arms. Once you start to follow the advice above, you will shape up quickly.

Throw on the tank top and head out the door, standing tall, feeling confident about your self.

For the best posture, think about pulling your shoulders back and chest up while pulling your belly button in.

If you tend to slouch, set an alarm on your watch or computer throughout the day and when it goes off, check your posture.

Quick program
A quick program to get you started using the above principles:
Perform one set of 10-15 reps of each of the following with 30-60 seconds rest between each exercise. Perform one to three circuits of:
1A — Push ups
1B — Dynamic lunge
1C — Bent over dumbbell row
1D — Squat

Push-ups: If you are unable to perform pushups on the floor, find a stable surface to put yourself on an incline and with your hips in line with your back, lower yourself into a pushup. This is not only a great upper body exercise, but also a fantastic core exercise.

Dynamic lunge: Standing with tall posture, step forward into a lunge with full range of motion, drive off that leg to return to the start and lunge with the opposite leg. Repeat back and forth. Eventually, add dumbbells or other weight load.

Bent-over dumbbell row: Holding a dumbbell in one hand, bend over at the waist and keeping your torso stable, let the dumbbell hang straight down. Using your back, row the dumbbell into your body. This works your upper back as well as your core. (Your glutes and hamstrings are working, too.)

Squat: Start with your hands on your head your and chest up tall with good posture. Lower into a full range of motion squat. Eventually add dumbbells or other weight load.

You will see the results from your efforts fast if you are following the above tips. Get started today and you’ll be ready for summer in no time.

Rachel Cosgrove is the author of “The Female Body Breakthrough” and co-owner of Results Fitness. Now celebrating its 11th anniversary, Results Fitness offers body-fat-percentage testing and a trial membership for safe strength training. The gym is located at 24420 Walnut St., Newhall. For more information, call (661)799-7900 or visit www.resultsfitness.com.

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