Summer Slim-Down workout plan: Week 8

Get fitter this summer with our eight-week plan. This week: Check in on your accomplishments

Summer Slim-Down workout plan: Week 8

Source: Web exclusive, July 2011

Congratulations on making it to the final week of our Summer Slim-Down program! What an amazing commitment you’ve made to yourself in the past seven weeks.

If you haven’t already, take a look back at the goals you wrote down going into this eight-week program. What goals have you accomplished? What goals are you still working on? And what goals will you set your sights on next? Acknowledge the strategies that have worked best for you.

And when you reach a big goal, consider rewarding yourself with something conducive to health and wellness, such as a tension-busting massage or new exercise clothes.

Looking ahead: What happens after this week?

Like last week, there are six workouts to commit to this week. As you continue to move forward with your fitness routine, aim to exercise on most days of the week so that it becomes a firm part of your lifestyle and daily habits.

However, be sure to reserve one day per week as a rest day. Plan on doing just light activity on that day ‘ something along the lines of enjoyable leisure exercise – or no activity at all. This provides your body with a bit of time to recover and grow stronger.

Taking the next step

You might have noticed that this program progressed from basic exercises to workouts that gradually became more complex and/or intense. As you move forward next week and beyond, keep challenging your body.

Be sure to add variety to your cardio workouts and strength exercises. For example, why not incorporate a stability ball into some exercises for more of a challenge and to work your muscles in a different way? See Workout 2 below for ideas on how to do that.

A personal trainer can also help you stay motivated and on track so you continue to achieve your most important health-related goals and lose weight if needed.

All the best as you move forward with making fitness a part of your lifestyle!

Let’s get started: Week 8

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 (40 minutes):

Warm up for 3 minutes, then do a 30-minute cardio session:

‘ First 3 minutes: Exercise at an RPE of about 5 to 6.
‘ Next 24 minutes: Alternate between 1 minute at an RPE of 7 to 8 and 1 minute at an RPE of 5 to 6, in that order (12 cycles total).
‘ Next 3 minutes: Go at an RPE of 5 to 6.
‘ Final 7 minutes: Cool down at an RPE of about 2 to 3. Stretch.

Workout for day 2 (60 minutes):

Repeat Workout 2 from Week 7. For variety and intensity, try the plank and oblique curls on a stability ball if you have access to one. Here’s how:

‘ Plank on stability ball: Kneel behind a stability ball, placing your forearms on the ball. Contract abs and raise knees off the floor so that your back, hips, knees and ankles are aligned. Avoid resting on the ball or letting your low back dip down with hip bones lowering toward floor. Hold for 20 to 30 seconds.

‘ Oblique curls on stability ball: Sit on ball then walk your feet forward until your low back is supported by the ball. Place feet hip-width apart and hands behind head, elbows to sides. Contract abs and raise head and shoulders up, rotating torso to the left but keeping low back on ball. Return to starting position. Repeat same side for eight to 12 reps; switch sides.

Workout for day 3 (40 minutes):

Repeat Workout 1 from this week.

Workout for day 4 (at least 35 minutes):

Go for a brisk walk.

Workout for day 5 (60 minutes):

Repeat Workout 2 from this week.

Workout for day 6 (at least 30 minutes):

Repeat the strength routine you did in Workout 2 from this week, making sure not to do strength workouts on back-to-back days, and do one cardio workout that’s different from what you’ve already done this week. For example, if you worked out on a treadmill and a stationary bike, hop on a different cardio machine, go hiking or try out a fitness class.

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