Your get-fit quick summer workout plan
Find out how to trim down and tone up in a few weeksBy Leesa Hamilton and Rhonda Rovan
Even the editors here at Best Health have to steel ourselves for the job of swimsuit shopping. “A trick I use to face that task is to apply a self-tanning cream the day before shopping,” says Editor-in-Chief Bonnie Munday. “It’s slimming, and it smooths out the look of cellulite.”
That’s one great way to feel better about your body in the change room mirror. But self-confidence goes beyond skin tone, obviously. Says Halifax registered dietitian Tristaca Curley, owner of the nutrition counselling service Fuel With Food: “I think one of the best things someone can do to look great in their bathing suit is to feel confident. And that confidence can come from knowing you’re respecting your health by feeding your body the fuel it needs and keeping it active."
Burn fat fast
Think 20-20-20 for ramped-up fat burning. You can burn fat in a matter of weeks by combining cardio training with some resistance training in a six-day-a-week fitness regimen. Helen Vanderburg, a personal trainer and fitness instructor, and the owner of Heavens Fitness in Calgary, offers this plan. It has three 20-minute components: You do each component twice a week, for a total of six days, with one day off. That’s right, just 20 minutes a day. You’ll see results fast. (As with any new exercise regimen, speak to your doctor first.)
Spend two days a week doing high-intensity exercise
Twice a week, do a high-intensity routine incorporating cardio and resistance for 20 minutes (including warm-up/cool-down). This component will be tough, but Vanderburg says it’s necessary if you’re looking to see changes in a short amount of time. “You should be stepping outside your comfort zone,” she says. Ideas: Warm up with walking for two to three minutes. Then do one minute of jumping jacks, then one minute of push-ups, then one minute of running or walking up a hill, then rest 30 seconds with easy walking. Repeat your high-intensity routine four times. Then do a few minutes of stretching to cool down, for a total of 20 minutes. Include the warm-up and cool-down, as “both are important for any ‘boot-camp’ high-intensity routine,” says Vanderburg.
Spend two days a week doing resistance training
Twice a week, do resistance training for 15 to 20 minutes: “You can use your own body weight for resistance training, doing squats, lunges, push-ups and triceps dips,” says Vanderburg. The major bonus of resistance training is that because it builds muscle, and muscle burns more calories than fat tissue does, your body continues to burn calories even after the workout is finished.
Spend two days a week doing interval training
Twice a week, do interval training for 20 minutes. Doing something fast, then slow, is an effective fat burner. Instead of going for a 10- to 20-minute light jog, for example, do a burst of sprinting until you are out of breath, walk for a while, then sprint again. (It doesn’t matter if you do it outdoors or on a treadmill.) Do this regularly and both your speed and stamina should start to increase. If you want to target your lower body, Vanderburg suggests this routine: Run five minutes, then do squats; run, then do lunges; run, then do step-ups.
Get firm arms
It’s all about resistance training. Suggests Vanderburg: “Try chin-ups or push-ups—knee push-ups are fine—or arm exercises with hand weights.”
Tone your glutes
Cycling, squats and lunges will tighten the muscles in the gluteal area, says Vanderburg. “And, no, squats and lunges won’t make your butt look bigger. Some women ask me that, but the fact is that these exercises will firm it up.”
Find out how to shed that winter weight with our Slim-down Summer Diet Plan.