The signs are there. Winter is winding down and the first hints of warmer weather are in the air. Before you know it, Memorial Day will be upon us along with backyard barbecues, pool parties and trips to the beach.
That means you’ll be wearing less clothing and showing off some skin. Is your body ready?
All too often, we wait until the warm weather approaches before we panic and begin exercising. But then we are usually frustrated that there just isn’t enough time to tone up and shed our unwanted extra pounds.
Please realize that fitness is not an instant gratification process. If you want to want to look good in that tank top or bikini by the summer, start training early. This means now!
Here are three timely tips to get you on the proper exercise path. Follow these tenets and you’ll be well on your way to a hot summer body in time for summer.
You wouldn’t embark on a road trip without mapping out your destination, right? If you did, you’d be bound to get lost. Yet, in effect, this is often the way many people approach their workouts.
It is all too common for a person to aimlessly wander around the gym thinking, “What should I do now?” Clearly, such an approach is inefficient. There is an old adage that states: Those who fail to plan, plan to fail. With respect to exercise, this saying is right on the money.
Without a definitive game plan, it is only a matter of time before you hit a plateau.
The first step in creating a game plan is to clarify your fitness goals. Determine what you want to get out of your training efforts. More size? Better symmetry? Enhanced definition? Each of these objectives requires specific training protocols and, thus, a different game plan.
By defining exactly where you want to go, you’ll have a much easier time getting there.
Once you have qualified your goals, you then can formulate a routine. It is important to plan out each workout in advance. You must know precisely what you are going to do prior to entering the gym. Decide on the exercises, sets and reps that you will perform. Write them down, if necessary.
You can download a free customized exercise diary from my website by clicking on the highlighted link. Once there, just scroll down to the bottom of the page and click on the PDF icon.
Be sure to account for any possible contingencies. This way, nothing will be left to chance.
During training, avoid any interruptions or distractions that might arise. Now is not the time to socialize or daydream. Save these activities until after you’ve completed your last set. All of your energies should be focused on carrying out your game plan.
Your time in the gym is precious. If you want to make ongoing progress, make sure that every moment is spent productively.
It is amazing how many people go to the gym and perform the same workout from one session to the next. Day after day, month after month, year after year, their routines don’t change. How boring!
When training becomes mundane, apathy is bound to set in. Ultimately, motivation wanes and a plateau is sure to follow.
The best way to avoid complacency is by constantly varying your exercise regimen. It sounds cliché but variety is the spice of training. Not only does it help to keep your workouts fresh, but it also fosters more complete development of your physique.
The human body is a very resourceful entity and readily adapts to a repetitive stress. When the same stimulus is applied on a regular basis, the body doesn’t respond as well to the stimulus. Only by keeping your body off guard will you continue to reap muscular rewards.
One way to vary your routine is by utilizing a wide array of exercises. You should strive to perform different movements every time you train.
For instance, if you normally perform seated curls, cable curls and concentration curls for your biceps, change your routine to include hammer curls, preacher curls and EZ curls in your next session. In the following workout, you might employ incline curls, prone incline curls and “21s”.
There are dozens and dozens of different exercises at your disposal – make use of as many as possible.
Another way to interject variety is by changing the composition of your routine.
If, for example, you work your back and chest on Monday, shoulders and arms on Wednesday, and legs on Friday, switch things around so you train shoulders, chest and triceps on Monday, legs on Wednesday, and back and biceps on Friday.
Or perhaps split your routine into four days, performing shoulders and triceps on Monday, back and hamstrings on Tuesday, chest and biceps on Thursday and quadriceps and calves on Friday.
You could even employ a total body workout where each major muscle group is trained with only one basic exercise.
By using a little ingenuity, the possibilities for variation are endless.
Brad Schoenfeld is one of America’s leading fitness experts. He’s the best-selling author of Sculpting Her Body Perfect, 28-Day Body Shapeover and his newest book, Women's Home Workout Bible. Schoenfeld is certified as a strength and conditioning specialist by the National Strength and Conditioning Association and as a personal trainer by both the American Council on Exercise and the Aerobics and Fitness Association of America. He’s also been named “master trainer” by the International Association of Fitness Professionals. Check out his website at www.lookgreatnaked.com