Here’s the good news: It’s about six weeks until Memorial Day (Monday, May 28) and the unofficial start of summer. Here’s the bad news: It’s about six weeks until Memorial Day and you’ve been living the “Netflix and Chill” lifestyle all winter.
Yes, you will probably want to take your shirt off at some point, but even if you only strip down to a tank top, you’ll at least want to be in good enough shape so nobody confuses you for the inflatable pool toy. It’s time for a beach body workout.
Before you do a single push-up, see a doctor. You need to make sure you’re healthy enough to actually start this regimen. None of this does any good if you end up in the ER (or worse). Second, if your budget allows, hire a trainer. Both of these moves can help avoid injury, making sure that you’re getting the most that summer’s outdoor activities have to offer.
A Firm Foundation
Will Torres — personal trainer, owner and founder of Willspace — suggests foregoing the weights to start. “Weights are not my first ‘go-to.’ I believe in starting with gymnastics and body weight exercises. A lot of fitness advice is from the 1970s with Stallone and Schwarzenegger as their ideal. These are routines designed for guys who used steroids,” says Torres. “And what’s Arnold on? His second heart surgery now? The focus needs to be on movement. Be sure you are making progress with a specific movement, all while becoming more skillful.”
Torres suggests starting with simple push-ups and dips. Add a forearm plank, progress to a straight-arm plank, and, eventually, a one-arm plank. “The idea is to get stronger by recruiting more muscles,” says Torres. These simple exercises focus on the shoulders, triceps, and core, offering the most visual (and practical) impact.
Feel the need to hit the weight room? Pay attention to form and balance. “Take a strength exercise and then super-set it with a counter-stretch,” says Torres. “Muscles can get so over-developed that they fight themselves, impeding results. Some guys’ chest muscles actually pull their upper bodies in, giving an almost concave look.”
For example, after a bench press, Torres recommends a “tabletop” or “bridge” stretch for 30 seconds. “Most guys can’t even get into the pose because their biceps are so tight. Counter-stretching makes the muscles longer and leaner, so they get stronger.”
Mix in some aerobics with that weight training. Let’s face it, running sucks. And, luckily, it’s also not Torres’ favorite. “Many people don’t have good form when they are running. Over time, all that pounding results in major injuries. Try running shorter distances, combined with a strength movement. Run a quarter-mile, then do 15 dips and 20 sit-ups.”
Another easy option for getting in a mild aerobic exercise is to take some extra time to walk everywhere instead of driving or using public transit. If you live in the right place, bike to work or while running errands. Get that heart pumping.
Finally, have some fun with it. Grab a buddy for a workout instead of a beer. Take your significant out for a day in the park. Chase your kids. Foster a dog. Set a goal for a 5K or to do an obstacle course race later in the summer. Find a couple of favorite websites and follow some heroes on Instagram for inspiration.
Never Say Diet
They key here is intermittent fasting, and you already do it —it’s called “break-fast.”
“By eating and snacking all day, we are always consuming calories, so there’s no reason for our bodies to burn them off,” says Torres. “Have three to four meals, every three to four hours, with 12 hours of feeding, then 12 hours of fasting. Eat between 7 am and 7: pm … and not again until 7 the next morning. A well-balanced meal will sustain you for three to four hours, so be sure to include protein, carbs, fats, and fiber. Eliminate sugar and processed carbs from your diet completely.”
Pay attention to serving size, even for “healthy” snacks. “Nuts are a classic example,” says Torres. “They are good for you, but, it’s difficult to not go overboard with serving size. Twenty almonds is barely a handful.”
Too much to handle? Here’s more good news: Labor Day (and the start of Netflix and Chill season) is only 21 weeks away!
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