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Is Your Body Ready for Summer?

Brian Calkins - NSCA-CPT, ACE | Cincinnati, Ohio

With spring in full bloom and summer just around the corner, are you excited or nervous about getting into last year's clothing? People often judge their weight gain or loss based on how clothing fits from year to year, and this year I'm going to give you the skinny on making sure you're ready for your warm weather clothes!

To get your arms, shoulders, midsection, legs and hips ready for summer we need to focus on 3 essential areas:

1. Work those muscles - if you want those shapely arms when you wear your sleeveless top or the well toned legs when you put on your shorts, you need to work the muscles. In fact, you'll need to work all of the muscles of your body, not just the areas you want to enhance. And by "work" I mean you're going to have to use your muscles in a whole new way, if you want them to change and improve. Even if you're accustomed to working out, let's do something new - the same old routine isn't going to get you to a new level.

Work the various muscle groups to complete momentary muscle failure. If you are a female, think of Gwen Stefani, she trains to the point where she cannot perform another repetition on all sets of exercises, after her warm up. For the guys, your muscle may get a bit larger, so think of Brad Pitt if you're looking for that lean look or LL Cool J if you desire a more muscular physique. The point is you must work the muscles to a point of momentary failure. It's one of the most important factors in developing the muscles, but also one of the most often neglected.

2. Elevate Your Heart Rate - yes, you can burn fat when you do cardio. But you can also burn blood sugar and/or breakdown muscle tissue (making you less toned & defined and weaker) if you perform too intense or too much cardiovascular exercise. The latest research indicates that after establishing a sufficient aerobic base of cardiovascular fitness, interval training - a short burst of intense exercise, is the most effective training protocol to burn fat. So, if you're doing 30 minutes, the first 12 minutes could be a steady state of exercise within your target heart zone, then the balance of 18 minutes you'll alternate a minute of sprinting, followed by 2 or 3 minutes of cardio back down in your target heart zone. To figure out your personalized THZ, use the calculator link below.

3. Eat for Fat Loss - strive to eat a balance of lean cuts of protein, whole grain carbohydrates, as well as whole fruits and vegetables. You'll also need to ensure you have a small calorie deficit on most days of the week, otherwise you're fat reduction efforts will be hindered. We can work our muscles all day long and have the greatest muscle tone, but if it's covered up by excess body fat, you'll never see those great arms and shoulders.

For more detailed information on proper nutrition and losing excess body fat, please join us on Saturday, May 10 at 9am for our nutrition workshop. There are 3 spaces available - open to anyone for FREE this week (on a first come basis). Use the link below to register.

Summertime is just about here and if you want to look great this season let's get to it now! You'll not only look and feel better, but you'll be healthier, more energized and less stressed as well!


Click here for the Karvonen Target Heart Zone Calculator.

Click here to register of a spot in our nutrition workshop.