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Six Tips to Get Into Shape For Summer by Devin Gray, CSCS

It may be hard to believe, but there are less than 100 days until the official start of summer: the summer solstice. Less than 100 days until it’s time to stroll the beach in that new swimsuit you bought, lay out in the sun, and go on that summer vacation you’ve been dreaming about. But don’t let that fool you. With the incredible weather that we’ve been enjoying, summer’s knocking on your door even sooner than that. What are you doing right now to get ready?

If you’ve been putting off getting back into shape, the critical time is now. Beyond this point, it becomes much harder to reach your goals. If you want to look your best this summer a blend of weight training and cardio is the best way to transform your body. With that in mind, here are six quick tips to help you achieve the incredible results that you’re capable of.

1 - Don’t fly solo - find a training partner. Find somebody serious about improving their health that is in similar or slightly better shape than you are. Combined, you can stay motivated, enjoy working out more, and even keep an eye on each other’s technique to avoid injuries.

2 - Lift heavy weights. ‘Light weights, high reps for toning’ is out. High reps will increase your muscular endurance, but do very little to change your physique. Heavy (relatively speaking) weights for lower reps can do wonders for your physique. Heavy, multi-joint exercises boost your body’s production of fat torching hormones as well as your metabolism.

3 - Jump start your metabolism with ‘metabolic conditioning’. Metabolic conditioning is the darling of the fitness industry these days. AMRAPs (As Many Reps As Possible), density training, complexes, timed circuits, and other methods give your metabolism a major boost. Hence the name. They can be a great way to introduce some variety to a stale exercise program as well.

4 - Mix up your cardio. Everybody has heard of ‘muscle confusion’ by now. But what about cardio confusion? Every workout, whether it’s weights or with cardio, should be progressively more difficult. Run a little bit faster. Cycle for an extra half of a mile. Increase the intensity on the elliptical by just one more level. Constant progression is the key for consistent results.

5 - Limit your starches to breakfast and after a workout. Your body is the most sensitive (receptive) to insulin and blood sugar spikes at these times. That is a good thing. Cut back on your carb habit outside of these two times and you may see some excellent results. For truly magnificent results, eliminate white flour and sugar for a few weeks. You’ll never turn back.

6 - Start off slow if you’ve taken the past few months off. It may seem contradictory to the other tips listed, but it’s the most important. A person that has not exercised in months is not physically prepared for an intense conditioning program. Tendons, ligaments, and muscles need a few weeks to strengthen to avoid overuse injuries. Ease back into exercising and it’s much easier to remain healthy and active.

Hopefully with these tips, you’ll be able to spice up your exercise programs and see better results. If you’re not sure where to start, find a fitness professional in your area and ask them for help. Best of luck, and I’ll see you on the beach.