Spring Finally Made It Here On The East Coast, And Summer’s Right Around The Corner!

Posted by Beth Hartman

It seems like it’s taken forever, but spring has finally arrived here on the East Coast of the U.S.! I think we can safely put away our snow shovels, the rock salt and pick up the rake, and gas up the lawn mowers. Now that the temperatures are finally staying locked in the 60’s to 80’s we can all soak up that sunshine that’s been hiding out on us since St. Patrick’s Day.

But with all the schools starting commencement practice, and with Memorial Day just a few days away, summer is not that far off. And is your body ready for the beach and all that it has to offer? Or are you going to be hiding it under a t-shirt or worse when you and your friends hit the sand and surf?

Well, there are quite a few among us that might have put off getting to the gym or hitting the pavements early this year because of the cold, wet, snowy conditions that seemed to hang over everyone this year. But you can still pull off a pretty good-looking presence once the volleyball nets get strung and the shoes get swapped out for a pair of flip-flops. Here below are a few exercises and tips that can give that body of yours a little definition. After all, we don’t want anyone kicking sand on your beach towel now do we?

Getting fit and toned requires the right balance of weights, cardio, and the right nutrition, to get your body working correctly in order to tone and shed that extra fat that you’ve grown accustomed with over the winter and sloppy spring months! Studies have found that incorporating into your fitness routines, strength training, it can have your metabolism working overtime, instead of just doing cardio all by itself.

A study at West Virginia University supports this. They found that people that incorporated a regular regimen of lifting weights, peeled off an average of 14.5 kg and watched their metabolisms speed up by 4 percent. The reason for this? Well, the more you incorporate weight training, the more calories you'll burn during everything you do. Lifting your coffee mug or watching your favorite show suddenly becomes more productive as you burn fat for free.

The people in the study who did just aerobic exercise, such as running, lost more weight, on a faster scale, but that also included four kilograms of muscle. Consequently, their metabolisms slowed down by an average of 14 percent. In the future, they'll have more trouble keeping the weight off, if they slack off on the amount of running they do in a week/month. The key to successfully losing the dead weight, which we call fat can be avoided if you build muscle, along with the cardio.

Keeping track of this crunch-time fitness activity can be a challenge without the help of a good activity tracker/monitor and one that also tracks your heart rate can be very beneficial when you're looking at the stats to see where you're improving and where your not hitting your mark.

One that I like and keeps me on track with my fitness goals is the Garmin Forerunner 735XT GPS Running Multisport Watch  It not only tracks various kinds of cardio exercises like running, (It has a great GPS, built right in) but it also is waterproof, so swimming laps is a no-brainer. And with its multiple performance features and the benefit of having a wrist-based heart rate monitor, you can plot just how well you're doing using the data calculated from your VOC max estimate, and lactate threshold.

Again, this is nothing but a tool, albeit a great tool for helping you get that body of yours in shape in time to feel confident as you walk the beach.

Now, It's Crunch Time!
The whole idea of this type of training, is to combine a weight regimen routine along with your regular cardiovascular sessions, just break out two-three days a week to add in the weight training, and in no time, you should start to see a faster reduction in your weight, while seeing the results of a more toned body frame.

You'll combine these lifting workouts with short, sharp interval training sessions. Research at Laval University found this burns fat, up to three times faster than exercising at the same pace.

This three-pronged attack is a surefire way to earn you more muscle and less fat. Repeat this workout 3-5 times per week to keep building muscle and burning fat, or alternate between the workouts listed below.

Choose a weight that's 80 percent of the most weight you can push or press just once.
Do just one set of every exercise using 8-12 reps.
When you can do 12 reps, add 5 percent more weight.
Take four seconds to raise the weight and four seconds to lower it.
If the routine takes more than 45 minutes, you're taking way too long.
Do 3-4 workouts per week, leaving a day's rest between each one. This is your light running day!
If you want to do cardio, do it after lifting to burn more fat.  But monitor your stats so you don't push yourself over your limits!
Don't rest between sets. The setup time for a new exercise is enough.
Push out the reps until your muscles fail and cry for mercy.
Use perfect form for all exercises to avoid injury.  

Recommended Weight-Related Exercises:
1 set of 8-12 reps
1 set of 8-12 reps
1 set of 8-12 reps
1 set of 8-12 reps
1 set of 8-12 reps
1 set of 8-12 reps
1 set of 8-12 reps
1 set of 8-12 reps
1 set of 8-12 reps

Remember, you’re going through this fitness routine, in order to get your body beach ready in a short amount of time. Once you reach the level of muscle tone and weight to mass ratio, that you’re looking for. Then slack off a bit and get back into your regular cardio/running routines, if that is your main fitness passion. Just remember to work in at least two days a week of weights, at a lesser pace and weight amount than we recommended above, just so you keep those muscles you've worked so hard on to tone up these past few weeks, in the same great shape!

 * If you search YouTube, for the above weight training exercises, you will be able to see the correct posture and stance that you need to maintain in order to not only do the exercise correctly but to avoid injuring yourself!


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