Summer Slim-Down workout plan: Week 4

Get fitter this summer with our eight-week plan. This week, we’ve got five days of workouts for improved results

Summer Slim-Down workout plan: Week 4

Source: Web exclusive, July 2011

As you start Week 4 of the Summer Slim-Down plan, take a moment to acknowledge that the end of this week marks the halfway point of the eight-week program. Enjoy your success so far!

Of course, you’ll continue to stay active and eat well once the eight weeks is over. But making it this far is a wonderful accomplishment toward overall healthier living, now and in the future.

What you can do every day

If you haven’t done so already, consider how day-to-day activities have a positive impact on your health, fitness and weight-loss goals even if they’re not listed here as an actual workout.

For example, do you (or could you) walk the dog, garden, walk or cycle to work or play outside with your family more often? All these little efforts count toward your overall health and weight-loss results.

Interval training

You might notice that your cardio workouts are beginning to include more intervals, where you switch back and forth from bouts of challenging exercise to bouts of exercise at a more comfortable, moderate pace. Interval training is an effective way to boost fitness and calorie burn.

Push yourself to exercise intensely during the short, challenging intervals (e.g., a recommended RPE of 7 to 8’read last week’s workout plan for an explanation of RPE). After each intense interval, you will get the chance to recover and catch your breath at an easier pace (e.g., a recommended RPE of 5 to 6 or lower).

Because interval training can be tough, it’s best to include less strenuous cardio throughout the week as well, so you stay energized with a variety of cardio styles.

Before you begin

The workouts in this eight-week program have been designed for healthy men and women who are at a beginner to intermediate fitness level. Please check with your doctor before beginning this program to ensure exercise is safe and appropriate for you at this time.

Workout for day 1 (45 minutes):

Warm up for 3 minutes.

Do a 35-minute cardio session:
‘ First 5 minutes: Exercise at an RPE of about 5 to 6.
‘ Next 20 minutes: Alternate between 1 minute of exercise at an RPE of 7 to 8 and 3 minutes of exercise at an RPE of 5 to 6, in that order (five cycles total).
‘ Next 10 minutes: 5 to 6 RPE.

Final 7 minutes: Cool down at an RPE of about 2 to 3. Stretch.

Workout for day 2 (60 minutes):

Cardio (40 minutes): After warming up for 3 to 5 minutes, exercise at an RPE of 5 to 7 for about 35 minutes. Cool down (RPE 2 to 4) for at least two minutes.

Strength (10 to 15 minutes): Continue to do two sets (eight to 12 reps) of the strength exercises you’ve been doing for the past few weeks, incorporating the following recent changes’and two new changes’into this week’s routine:

‘ Hold heavy dumbbells during squats and alternating reverse lunges.

‘ Instead of alternating biceps curls, bend and extend both arms at the same time for more intensity.

‘ New exercise: Side shoulder raises: Holding dumbbells, stand with feet hip-width apart. Raise arms to sides until hands are in line with shoulders. Lower arms. Do this exercise after you do back rows and before you do alternating reverse lunges.

‘ New challenge: If you feel strong enough, hold your arms out to the sides or reach them overhead as you do low back extensions.

Flexibility (4-5 minutes): Stretch your arms, shoulders, chest, back, hips and legs, holding each stretch for 20 to 30 seconds.

Workout for day 3 (50 minutes):

Repeat cardio workout from day 1. If you feel strong enough, try alternating 1 minute at an RPE of 7 to 8 and 2 minutes (instead of three minutes) at an RPE of 5 to 6.

After you’ve cooled down from cardio and before you stretch, add two sets of each of the following exercises:

‘ Stationary lunges: Stand with right foot back, heel up. Lower back knee to floor; keep front knee aligned over front ankle and behind front toes. Do eight to 12 reps per side.

‘ Triceps push-ups: Get into a push-up position on your knees or toes with hands shoulder-width apart, arms straight but elbows not locked. Lower body toward floor, keeping elbows close to body and pointing behind you (not splayed out to side). Do eight to 12 reps.

‘ Plank: Balance on your forearms with knees or toes on floor. Keep body straight and neck neutral. Hold for 20 to 30 seconds, breathing normally.

Workout for day 4 (60 minutes):

Repeat workout from day 2.

Workout for day 5 (at least 20 minutes):

Go for a brisk walk.

Amanda Vogel is a certified fitness instructor with an MA in human kinetics.

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