7 Top Tips to Look Great by Summer!!

Hi Everyone,

I wrote a post previously (see here) about Winter being the time to put in the hard work to get the body you want in the Summer. Well that is absolutely true Summer bodies are made in Winter. However if you over indulged a bit over the Christmas period (like me) and are keen to have a body to die for when beach season comes around (or at least not look like a beached whale), then what can you do to turn things around in the next few months.

Below are my 7 top tips for getting yourself beach ready and looking as well as feeling fantastic when Summer comes around. After all feeling fantastic on the inside will go a long way to helping you look great on the outside.

7 Top Summer Tips:

  1. Drink as much water as you can: Yeah yeah, yeah. I know you’ve heard it all before, hell I’ve even written about it numerous time (here and here) for example. It just happens to be true however. Did you know that drinking a large glass of water will make your body burn 30 calories more over the next hour than it would have done without drinking it, even if you just sit on your arse for that hour. 6 glasses a day = almost 1300 calories a week burnt off. Water also allows your body to work more efficiently, flushing toxins out of your body, improving your skin and also allowing more effective processing of proteins and good fats to help you build muscle and shed fat. Finally drinking lots of water make you feel more full, reduces your appetite and actively helps you shed weight.
  2. Cut out the booze: I know, I know, this is a hard one right. Well I don’t mean completely. This is a site for ordinary people and most of us like a few beers or glasses of wine now and then. However what I do is try to be good and have no alcohol at all from Sunday night when i hit the pillow, until Friday evening. Why? well a number of reasons. You sleep better which is major factor in both physical and mental wellbeing. You sleep well you look better, simple. Proper rest also allows your body to rebuild its cells and grow muscle. As well as sleeping better you will be cutting out tonnes of calories you probably didn’t even think about. A pint of Lager contains approx. 190/200 calories, wine even more at about 210. If you can cut out 8 beers or 8 glasses of wine a week that’s roughly another 1600 calories gone (2900 including the extra water.) Just these two measures alone over the period of 3 -5 months will have you shedding pounds in weight.
  3. Eat right: At this point I can feel you frowning at the screen “damn this all sounds like hard work” you’re saying. Well I have two answers to that. Firstly, I’m all about moderation and enjoying your lives so believe me I’m not saying you have to deny yourself completely. Secondly, yes it does involve a bit of effort…..shock horror!! Did you really expert to transform your lazy arse into Elle Macpherson or Dwayne Johnson without having to do just a little work? So what do I mean by eat right? Well in previous articles (here , here and here) I go into a lot more detail. However lets keep things simple. Try to reduce portion sizes by 10%. Cut as many starchy and heavily refined carbohydrates as possible (that means less bread, less white pasta, white rice, potatoes). Cut out or at the very least reduce sugar as much as possible (sorry, that means very few cakes, biscuits/cookies, sweets and definitely cut out the soda’s and fizzy drinks). Eat lean proteins – Fish, Chicken, lean red meat every day and get as much salad and vegetable matter down your neck as you can. Again, for me, the same rules apply as with booze. Cut it our Monday to Friday and then (within reason) enjoy what you want at the weekends. Do this and again that will be many hundreds of calories less per week. Combine with the above two measures and you’ll be rocking and rolling in terms of internal health and weight loss.
  4. Aerobic Exercise: Or as it’s also known cardiovascular exercise. By this I don’t mean an old school John Travolta aerobics session (leg warmers are soooo last century). Unless you love running and have plenty of time on your hands I also wouldn’t go the route of long distance running (nothing against this, it’s just not time efficient in getting you fit and looking good). I would go the way of HiiT (High Intensity Interval Training, or if you are more old school Circuit training. Pick 6 exercises that work your whole body between them. Do each exercise for 20/30 seconds or 10/12 reps with no rest in between. Once you have completed all 6 rest for 1 minute. Then repeat 3-6 times depending how fit you are. It should only take 10-20 mins max and you can do it in your garden, a park or even in the house if you can’t get to a gym. If possible try to incorporate some weights such as dumbbell/kettlebell into 2 or 3 of the exercises as this will tone muscle as well as build fitness and torch calories. This article and video demonstrates some examples you can use.
  5. Do some Strength/Weight training: I know that some of you hate weights. Ladies either get embarrassed using weights or mistakenly believe that they will turn into a 1970’s style East German shot putter as soon as they pick up a Dumbbell. Guys either don’t know what to do or again feel embarrassed by the muscle heads in the gym. Ignore all that, bite the bullet and do some strength/weight training. This sort of training tones and shapes your body like nothing else can. For ladies it will shape your legs and butt, define your shoulders and neckline and help shed those saggy backs of your arms that you hate when wearing summer dresses (yeah i know about those). It doesn’t have to be Olympic style lifting ladies, some smallish dumbbells and the right exercises will do the trick. Guys, unless you shift some weights around now and then it’s going to be very hard to tone up the muscles underneath that weight you have lost. Every man in the world looks better with slightly wider shoulders, a narrower waist, toned, fat free arms and a chest that is firm and free from moobs. We are not trying to turn you into Arnold Schwarzenegger here (unless you want to), just simply putting some muscle and toning onto your frame.
  6. Be targeted: I mean this in two ways. Firstly think about what you want to achieve by the Summer and write it down as a goal committed to paper becomes much more tangible and real. It could be I want to lose 2 dress sizes and tone up my butt. Or for guys, I want to get into 34 waist jeans and have muscular arms. Set a date to it eg by 1st if June i want to….. . Once you have done that you also need to be targeted in terms of your actual body. Take a look in the mirror and be honest. what are your good points that don’t need much work, and which are the bits that are heading south faster than you would like or are just a bit to squidgy and need some work. Once you have done that tailor your approach around those parts. If you are a lady and you want to firm up your bottom and legs then focus your training around those a little more (lots of lunges and squats). If you are a guy with a Pigeon chest or saggy triceps then target those areas and hammer things like presses and crossovers or push downs. It’s just common sense.
  7. Have fun and enjoy life: This is probably more important than all the others. None of the stuff above should be a chore. It’s all about moderation in life. By working hard and having some discipline some of the time, you can have fun and enjoy the good things in life the rest of the time. However it’s more than just that. I mean really enjoy life. Spend time with your kids, be stupid, laugh a lot, put work second to family, go on long walks, visit amazing places, eat good food, try new things. Get out and experience the world and squeeze the enjoyment from it. This is critical. People that are happy, enjoy life and are vibrant just exude a sense of wellbeing and simply look better. If you want to look and feel fabulous this summer the trust me, the six points above may help you along the way, but it’s this one, number 7 that will make all the difference.

Take Care,

John

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How to Kim Kardashian your Butt!!!!

Kim KardashianIt’s a little known fact that Kim Kardashian owes the large part of her huge fame and fortune to me. If it wasn’t for the training tips that she uses from Ordinary Guy Fitness then her most famous asset, her Derriere, would not be in the shape that it is. As a result she very kindly agreed to pose for the photo above.

Now you may or may not be a lady who wants a backside of quite the proportions that Kim’s is and may also not quite want as much exposure as the Kardashian’s get, but i know of very few women who would not like to tone, firm, lift and shape their bottom just a little bit more than it is at the moment. Am I right?

So how do you go about that? Just what can you do to tone up not just your backside (or Gluteus Maximus to give it the correct name) but also the thighs as well.

There are a number of exercises you can do that will work your thighs and bum hard and give you that round firm look you’d like. I wrote in a previous article here about how to tone up this area and I’ll go back through some of the key routines that Ms Kardashian learned from me.

Click on the title word for each exercise and it will take you into YouTube for an example of how to perform them. So let’s get started on getting you a Kim Kardashian booty!

Glute Training:

Lunges: There are a number of different variations of the lunge, all of which work a slightly different part of your thighs and backside. Therefore I’d recommend doing a different one each day and rotate them. Initially start without any weight until you feel comfortable and can control the movements. Then as you get stronger add in some weight, but don’t go too heavy. It’s more important to go low when you dip down and really squeeze the muscles as you push back up. Start with 3 sets of 12 (6 on each leg) and work up to 3 sets of 20.

Squats: As with lunges there are many different variations, both with and without weights. To really strengthen and tone your legs you will need to use some weight at some point. However, initially you can do a perfectly good job just with body weight. Again try to use some of the different variations and change each day to work different parts of the leg and backside. Keep your back straight, chest up and head & eyes looking ahead and up. Push your butt backwards and lower it towards the floor, do not lean forward and topple over your feet. If using bodyweight do 3 sets of 12 to 15. If you progress to using some weights do 3 x 8/10.

Hip Thrusters/Glute Bridge: Hip thrusters or the Glute bridge as it is sometimes called is an excellent exercise for toning, firming and shaping your bum. Again it needs to be done correctly and the key thing here is to really focus on squeezing and engaging your Glutes or Bum muscles as you push up and at the top of the exercise. Go for 4 sets of 15/16 when using both legs and 3 sets each side of 7/8 when just using one leg. when you hit the top point, squeeze hard and count to 5 then lower back down, that’s one rep.

Glute Kickbacks: Another great exercise for really shaping your bottom and adding great muscle tone to your bum and backs of your thighs. The key to this exercise, in fact all Glute and Thigh exercises is to really concentrate on squeezing the right muscles ie your Glutes and your hamstrings in this one. I’d suggest starting off with 3 sets of 10 on each leg and then progress up to sets of 20. If and when that starts to become easy then as with the girl in the video add some weight, either by using a small dumbbell as she does or by adding some strap on ankle weights that you can easily find or get on Amazon.

Initially i would suggest picking two of these four exercises to do each day eg Squats and Kickbacks one day, Lunges and Hip Thruster the next. Mix it up and change it around as regularly as you can and use different varieties of squats and lunges. The idea is to work every part of your Glutes and Thighs. Believe me 10 minutes a day, 5 days a week and within a month you will really notice the difference and you’ll be on the Kardashian website buying dresses to show off your new favourite asset.

Take Care

John

PS: Some of the information in the article above may not have been quite entirely true…..but I’m sure you already guessed that! The exercises are spot on though!

Ladies….How to banish flabby arms and saggy butts!

Bingo WingsThe dreaded Bingo wings, dinner lady arms (no offence to dinner ladies), bat wings….whatever you want to call them, most ladies hate them. With summer coming and the time to ditch the jumpers and break out the T-Shirts, summer dresses and even the Bikini’s upon us, many women look in the mirror and sigh discontentedly at the site of those “soft”, flabby and sometimes even saggy bits. It’s not just the backs of your arms, it’s your bum, your thighs, your belly and your waist…….aaaargghhh!!!

Well don’t panic you CAN do something about all of these problems and right now. Mid March gives you time to do something about all of these areas before we properly hit Summer in June.

Firstly, without wanting to sound like a broken record, you all know that what you eat and drink, your diet and nutrition generally is going to play a big part. This isn’t a diet article so i won’t bang on about it but if you can eat cleaner, cut out the processed crap, cut back on sugar, drink less alcohol and ideally also do some cardio based work then you are going to start to lose fat from all of those wobbly areas listed above that you hate.

However in this blog I’m going to focus on what exercises you can do to tone, firm up and add some tightness or even a bit of muscle to those soft bits. First an honesty alert. This is going to take some work. Not necessarily a huge amount of time, 20 to 30 minutes a day will do the job but during that 20 minutes you HAVE to work hard and it will be sore. No pain no gain is a cliché but it’s also true……Right, ready? Here we go.

Baggy Arms: Most women don’t spend much time in everyday life using their Tricep muscles which is the muscle that runs down the back of your upper arm. It is the muscle that extends your arm from a bent to straight position and are also the muscles you use when pushing things away from your body. It is this muscle that you need to work hard and tone up to avoid having baggy, saggy arms. So logically any exercises that involves pushing or better still straightening of your arm against resistance will work this muscle. Here are three you can do at home with no equipment.

Lady push ups: The push up or press up is a great Tricep exercise IF you do it right. The trick is to keep your hands no more than shoulder width apart and as you go down towards the floor keep your elbows tucked in close to your side. Aim for 3 sets of 8.

Chair Tricep Dips: Another great exercise for really isolating the backs of those arms. Initially start with the easy version which means your feet will be quite close to you. Make it harder by gradually moving your feet further away as you get stronger. Also be careful not to come down past a 90 degree bend in your arm or you may damage your shoulder. Aim for 3 sets of 12.

Overhead Tricep extension: This is a brilliant exercise that really stretches and tones your Tricep muscle. If you have access to some weights (At home or gym) just use a light dumbbell initially (maybe 1.5 or 2kg) If you don’t have access to a dumbbell then a bottle of water (500ml, 750ml or even 1 litre) will do the job to start with. Aim for 3 sets of 12 reps.  Each day pick 2 of the exercises and do the number of sets listed. Keep rest time between sets fairly low (max 1 minute). It should only take 6/8 minutes total.

Now for your thighs and bum!! Waheey, everyone wants great thighs and a shapely backside don’t they? Again though it’s not easy, your diet is very important but you also have to work hard. Your Quads (front of leg), Hamstrings (back of leg) and Glutes (backside) are some of the biggest muscles in the body and as a result need to be worked hard to change them.

Lunges: There are a number of different variations of the lunge, all of which work a slightly different part of your thighs and backside. Therefore I’d recommend doing a different one each day and rotate them. Initially start without any weight until you feel comfortable and can control the movements. Then as you get stronger add in some weight, but don’t go too heavy. It’s more important to go low when you dip down and really squeeze the muscles as you push back up. Start with 3 sets of 12 (6 on each leg) and work up to 3 sets of 20.

Squats: As with lunges there are many different variations, both with and without weights. To really strengthen and tone your legs you will need to use some weight at some point. However, initially you can do a perfectly good job just with body weight. Again try to use some of the different variations and change each day to work different parts of the leg and backside. Keep your back straight, chest up and head & eyes looking ahead and up. Push your butt backwards and lower it towards the floor, do not lean forward and topple over your feet. If using bodyweight do 3 sets of 12 to 15. If you progress to using some weights do 3 x 8/10.

Hip Thrusters/Glute Bridge: Hip thrusters or the Glute bridge as it is sometimes called is an excellent exercise for toning, firming and shaping your bum. Again it needs to be done correctly and the key thing here is to really focus on squeezing and engaging your Glute or Bum muscles as you push up and at the top of the exercise. Go for 4 sets of 15/16 when using both legs and 3 sets each side of 7/8 when just using one leg. Again i would choose 2 of these exercises to do each day and again it should take less than 10 minutes.

Finally lets get to your stomach and core. The truth of the matter (yes i know the truth hurts) is that if you are carrying a fair amount of excess weight and have a very flabby stomach and waist area it is pretty hard to really tone and shape it without losing some of that weight first. However you can do core and stomach exercises that will pull in and tighten your abdominal and core muscles underneath the soft tissue and simply by pulling you tighter it will give the illusion of having lost a couple of inches.

The Plank: The king of core exercises. Again there are loads of variation and the video shows a few that are all great for women and will work your entire core, ab and waist area. Initially just focus on the plain front plank until you gain some strength and then after a week or so try some of the variations. Everyone’s core strength varies but initially aim for 4 sets of 20 seconds at a time (with only 30/40 seconds rest in between). If that is too hard just do 15 seconds but the aim should be to get up to 45 seconds+ to really make it work. Concentrate on really squeezing everything tightly, your stomach, thighs and butt in particular.

The Hip Lift: This works deep core muscles and lower stomach muscles. Concentrate on keeping your legs straight above and thrusting upwards with your pelvis and lower stomach. If it helps you can slightly place your hands under the edge of your bum/thighs to support yourself. Aim for 3 sets of 10 with 40 seconds rest in between.

Russian Twists: I’ve no idea why they are called that, invented by a Russian i guess. Initially start off doing this without a weight, but again as you get stronger add some weight in. Either use a small dumbbell, a kettle bell or even just a 2 litre bottle of water. Aim for 3 sets of 8 on each side. Concentrate on keeping your feet raised just off the floor and lean very slightly back with your torso which places tension on your abs and core. As with the above choose two exercises each day and rotate them. Again this should only take 7 or 8 minutes tops. With Ab exercises try to keep rest between sets minimal for maximum effect.

That’s it ladies. 20 to 30 minutes each day and believe me in two months you will really notice the difference. Your wobbly arms will be firmer and leaner. Your upper legs and bum will definitely be tighter and shapelier and your waist and midriff will have been pulled in ad you will look slimmer. The key here is hard work. You need to push yourself. As you get better either increase the number of sets and reps or add in some more weight. Just doing the same thing day after day and not improving will halt your progress.

Take Care,

John