5 Tips to Get in Your Best Shape this Summer

Picture by Velvettangerine, flickr (CC)

So you want to get into shape? Drop that spare tire? Tone those glutes? Here’s the good news: you can make it happen in time for that July wedding. If you’re new to fitness, it’s going to take dedication and hard work. But don’t fret: with a solid workout regimen and a healthy diet plan you can shed 1-2 pounds a week while improving your strength and balance.

Here’s how to get started:

1) Know your body.

Understand how your body moves, how flexible you are, and work around any areas that are sensitive due to past or recurring injury before you start down a new fitness path. Whether you get a professional fitness assessment or you’ve learned your limitations from past experience, knowing your body will help you set realistic fitness goals.

2) Try these 4 essential exercises.

Phil Ortwein, a certified personal trainer with Extreme Fitness, says that the body is designed to do certain movements such as lunges, squats, push-ups, and pull-ups.  The squat, for example, is key to toning your butt, legs, and thighs, because it targets the largest lower body muscles simultaneously. If you’re unfamiliar with any of these movements ask a trainer for help and make sure you learn proper technique to avoid injuries.

3) Don’t overlook strength training.

Think strength training is for muscle-bound meatheads only? Think again. Strength training not only complements a cardiovascular routine, it also accelerates weight loss. Exercises using weights can help speed up your metabolism by building stronger, denser muscle mass. This muscle mass requires more caloric intake, allowing you to burn calories more efficiently.

4) Cut the crap from your diet.

Avoid processed foods, white bread, pop, and foods that are high in sodium and trans fats —keeping these items in your diet will cancel out any progress you’ve made in the gym. Try to replace pre-packaged food with whole foods.  Sarah Dobec, a certified holistic nutritionist at The Big Carrot, recommends a diet that includes fresh fruit, vegetables, whole grain bread, nuts, and lean meats like chicken or fish.

5) Plan ahead.

To avoid a diet relapse, you need to be proactive. Packing your lunch the night before work will help you avoid the allure of potentially unhealthy take-out. If you’re going out with friends, eat something healthy ahead of time so you won’t be tempted by beer and chicken wings.

Getting fit is no picnic; it’s a lifestyle change that takes willpower. Ultimately, your results depend on you, and you alone. So stop making excuses. Get out there, get active, and enjoy this summer looking your best and feeling your healthiest!

One Comment

  • Justin

    Good stuff. It’s nice to see a more well-rounded approach to fitness. Do you have any suggestions for exercises that will make me a better arm wrestler?

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