The weather has finally come around and you're looking to shed those extra winter pounds you put on when the cold winds started to blow, back in the fall. Yes, even though you had a few neighborhood flag-football games when the excitement of the season hit you, you still weren’t as active during the fall and winter months as you should have been. Now you're noticing your clothes are feeling a little tighter and your starting to “puff” a little more when you’re going up and down the stairs at work and at home.
Now that the weather is turning for the better, thoughts of looking good when the sweaters and sweats start to come off, may just have you worrying a bit about how people are going to be judging you when its sandal and beach towel time!
Now, getting yourself back into shape is going to take work on your part. Whatever you’ve heard or seen on tv as far as an infomercial, you need to commit to getting your body back into the shape it was designed to be in. If you’ve ever stayed up watching late night movies, you’ve probably seen commercials promising miracle total body makeovers.
You know the kind. “Just 30 minutes of exercise a day, three times a week, and you could have a totally ripped body in as little as six weeks.”
It sounds good, but the truth is, there’s no quick way to get fit. “If a gym, trainer, or fitness class promises to make all your dreams come true in six weeks, run, don't walk, in the other direction, says Lisa Snow, a New York, certified personal trainer. Even normal-natural exercises won't see fitness miracles anytime soon. Like we said above, it takes commitment, exercise and determination to bring the results you’re looking for.
Remember, don't go to extremes when you first start out to get that body of yours back in shape. It's best to resume a workout program in a progressive manner. If you start off by placing too large of a demand on your body, you run the risk of injury and a quick regression backward. Being so sore the next day that you are hobbling down the stairs does not indicate a quality workout. And this is one sure way to create a bump in the road that may cause you to stop your workouts before they really even got started.
That being said, in order to keep track of what you're doing, and how much of it is being done right, based on what your heart rate is when exercising, and what it drops down to when at rest, needs to be tracked on a regular basis. Using a smartwatch/activity tracker will provide you with that necessary data, especially if its equipped with a heart rate monitor, and depending on the types of exercise you're going to be using, a smartwatch like the Garmin Vívosport GPS Sport & Activity Tracker. This smart activity watch has wrist-based heart rate functionality that monitors just how well your body is performing during your exercise. And if your running, jogging or just powerwalking the GPS functionality will tell you where you are and how far and long it’s taken you to get there! It also includes a fitness monitoring tool, such as VO2 max and fitness age estimates.
VO2 max is important as it can be used as a representation of how much oxygen your body uses during exercise at a maximum effort. In other words, how much oxygen your heart can pump and how much of that oxygen your skeletal muscles can use.
Here are a few exercises you can incorporate into your regimen in order to get a well-rounded session that will give you better all-around results.
Start with Flexibility Workouts
Your first progressive step forward should be to integrate a couple of days of flexibility workouts in order to increase blood flow and circulation while assisting in a range of motion and joint mobility. Flexibility is one of the most overlooked protocols of fitness routines and establishing these protocols early on will allow your body to properly readjust to the new demands that will be placed on it. If you have access to a health club or fitness professional, you can sign up for a flexibility or beginner yoga class. This type of exercise can provide you with a routine that can add something new and hopefully different that can help keep you motivated so that you continue to embrace your re-found commitment to getting yourself in better shape for the summer months!
2. Add Easy Cardio
Next, depending on your schedule and time commitment, try incorporating light cardiorespiratory workouts after a couple stretching or yoga sessions. If weather permits, a brisk 20-minute outdoor walk will help invigorate your mind and get your body moving again. (Other options: try this low-impact HIIT workout for beginners or walking workout for gentle indoor cardio.) The treadmill, elliptical, and stationary bike are great indoor alternatives. If you had a well-established fitness base prior to a month-long break, your first week may include light jogging as opposed to walking.
3. Start Strength Training
After the first week of flexibility and light cardio, start to incorporate strength workouts into your routine. (Try this strength training workout for getting back into the cycle of becoming a fitter and healthier you!) Your time away from fitness probably involved a lot of sitting, which causes weakness in your posterior chain. These muscles are important for basic everyday movement, as well as keeping your spine erect when at your desk. That is why is at this point one must look to incorporate exercises that improve posture, develop core strength, and activate muscles throughout your gluteus and hamstring regions.
Exercises like squats, lunges, bridges, hamstring curls, stability ball mobility, and core work will help to activate these areas. These “Core” workouts are ideal for working these muscles while creating a safe transition back into your fitness regimen because you can work within your own fitness level.
The bottom line is, summer is coming! Sounds like a twist on “Game of Throne’s" Right? But seriously, if you're looking to get that body of yours into “Beach-Bod” readiness, then the time to act is now!
So, get to it, get moving, and get that heart pumping (within limits) and between now and June, you should be able to see measurable results that won’t have you covering up that body of yours under an oversized t-shirt.