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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Todays Training- Resistance Super Sets, HiiT stylie!

CircuitsSummer is coming, I have a holiday booked and I freely admit I’m vain. I like to look as good as i can in my beach shorts so need to start adjusting my training accordingly. Therefore I’ll still be hitting the weights but will be making some changes to how i train a couple of time a week. Generally speaking I’ll be throwing in some weights based resistance circuits, a bit more HiiT and just aiming to burn some fat and get a bit leaner. Also trying to be good when it comes to food and diet so bye bye to the Wine, Beer and Crisps that I love (well at least to some extent, I’m not an angel after all).

So here is todays training workout. Basically i picked sets of two exercises at a time and did them as Supersets with very little rest.

I started with Hanging Leg raises supersetted with Chest/Tricep dips on parallel bars. 8 hanging leg raises, straight into 12 dips. Then rest for around 45 seconds and repeat. 3 sets in total.

Next was standing alternate arm shoulder press with 15kg dumbbells supersetted with Kettlebell swings (2 hands between legs). Concentrate on bracing the core when doing the shoulder press and pushing with the shoulders not the triceps and then thrusting forward with the hips and glutes when doing the swing. 10 reps each side for the dumbbell press and then 12 reps for the Kettlebell swings.3 sets in total.

Next bent over Dumbbell rows supersetted with Goblet squats. Again using the same 15kg Dumbells in each hand concentrate on squeezing the weight up, back and into the side and pulling with the back rather than the Bicep, then standard Goblet squats with a fairly wide Sumo stance and going down as deep as possible to stretch the Glutes and Hamstrings. 3 sets in total.

Next I used an exercise ball as a bench and did Dumbell Chest press. The ball wobbles slightly which means you engage your core to maintain stability and you also get a really deep stretch in your chest as you lower the weight down. 15kg for 10 reps.This was immediately followed by standard exercise ball crunches x 15 reps. 3 sets in total.

The final exercises of the circuit were on the cable machine. I set up a single handle at mid chest level with 20kg on it. Then did Cable twists or woodchoppers as they are sometimes called. 10 reps on the right and then 10 on the left. I supersetted this with Tricep pushdowns on another machine. 12 reps at 50kg.

That was it for the weights. These exercises used pretty much every part of my body – Shoulders, Chest, Back, Legs, Abs etc and gave me a pretty good full body workout but would also have burnt calories due to the superset effect and low rest periods.

Finally i headed over to the running machine. Incline up to 4.5. Speed up to almost sprint level. I jumped on and did 20 seconds running at speed, then stepped off and rested for 30 seconds. Repeated this 6 time. Then did 2 more reps with 30 seconds sprinting and 30 seconds rest so 8 in total.

That’s it, done. Back to doing some mass building stuff tomorrow in training and then something similar to this on Friday maybe. As always, if you have any questions please ask. It’s probably cheeky of me to ask but if you are enjoying these posts, or any of the stuff i put out, then please share or Like them from the website or Facebook, Linked In or wherever you are reading them. I really appreciate it.

Have a good evening.

Take Care,

John

 

Todays Training – Chest, Biceps and Some HiiT

Kiddie Biceps

Just a very quick training diary update for today. Todays aim was to hit my chest hard, then do some Bicep work and finish with a few rounds of a HiiT type routine. It’s late and I’m knackered so I’ll keep this brief.

Chest: Started with Dumbbell presses on a very low (almost flat incline), maybe around 15 degrees. 1 x warm up set of 12 reps @ 17.5kg in each hand. Then some proper sets. 1 x 10 reps@24kg, 1 x 6 reps@30kg, 1 x 5@30kg, 1 x 8 reps@22kg and 1 x 10@17.5kg. Tried to keep rest to a max 1 minute between sets.

Then put the incline up slightly but still only about 30 degrees. The next exercise was again dumbbell press but alternating from hand to hand. So basically press both dumbbels overhead, then lower one back to your chest whilst keeping the other hand extended overhead. This really works your chest well but has the added advantage of working your core as you need to maintain your balance and prevent rotation of your body.  1 x 10 reps (each side)@22kg, 1 x 8 reps @24kg, 2 x 10 reps @17.5kg.

Then 4 sets of cable crossovers @20kg each side.

Finally I shot across to the seated front bench press machine and knocked out one set of 40 reps at a low weight (think it was about 20kg in total) just to really fatigue the chest.

Biecps: I decided to start with an exercise I am really poor at but which is a great mass builder, close grip chin ups focusing on pulling with Biceps rather than using the back. 5 sets and managed a feeble 6 reps, 6 reps, 5 reps, 5 reps and a final 3 and a bit. Definitely needs work.

Then good old fashioned standing barbell curls. 4 sets of 10 @ 35kg and really focusing on no body movement, squeezing the weight up with the biceps and no body movement with a slow lowering of the weight.

Finally seated incline dumbbell curls with a drop set. 10 reps @10kg per hand, then no rest into 10 reps@6kg, then 10 x 3kg. Repeated this 3 times. I realise the weights sound really low but if you go slow, don’t cheat and really squeeze and isolate your bicep it hurts like crazy by the end.

Finally onto a quick HiiT (High Intensity Interval Training) circuit.

30 jumping jacks, no rest into 12 press ups, into 16 (8 each side) alternate leg jack knives, into 20 twisting slow mountain climbers and then 20 (10 each side) jumping alternate leg lunges. Had about a minutes rest then went again. Did it 4 times.

That’s it, am already feeling the chest tonight but not so much the biceps. Think I’ll probably do some more resistance circuit work tomorrow. Have a good night.

Take Care,

John

Todays Training – Back & Legs….Sort of!

Back TrainingSo here’s today’s training diary or log. I’ve spoken a few times about being flexible and able to change your plans at short notice. Today was a prime example. I had about 70 minutes and thought i could fit in a really good back and leg session + some cardio. As i got to the Gym i bumped into someone i used to work with and hadn’t seen for about 4 years. He kept me chatting for about 20 minutes. It was good to see him but my workout plans were blown. However it turned into a positive as i decided to really blast my back and finish with an intense HiiT style weighted circuit focusing on legs at the end. Here is the workout.

Deadlift: 1 x 8 warmup set @70kg, 2 x 5 @100kg, 2 x 3 at 110kg, 2 x 8 at 70kg. For me doing reps at 110kg is a big step up (i know it won’t be for some of you who smash that sort of weight) so i was delighted with that, although I’m a bit concerned as my lower/middle back is still shaking.

Then the Lat pulldown machine. 3 sets of 8 @ 50kg, 55kg and 60kg. Then across to a cable machine, fitted a straight handle and did 3 sets of straight arm lat pulldowns in front of the body. This is similar to a tricep pushdown but keep your arms straight oin front and squeeze down with your lats 3 x 8 at 40kg, 50kg and 55kg.

Then the cable seated row. 1 x 10 @50kg 2 x 10@60kg and 1 x 10 at 65kg.

I tried to finish by doing some wide grip pull ups but to be honest both my grip and my back had gone so managed a measly 4 sets of 3 and even then it was more like 2 and a bit on the last set.

Then onto the circuit. I wanted to focus on legs as i hadn’t done the session i wanted, but also wanted to incorporate some metabolic/cardio training and some abs. This was the circuit.

I grabbed 2 12kg kettle bells as extra’s and did the following, no rest between exercises.

12 squats (weight in each hand by my side), 12 Press ups, 12 reverse lunges (6 each side), 25 jumping jacks, 45 second plank, 12 alternate touch your ankle straight leg v sits, 12 goblet squats (with just one of the 12kg weights). Then rested for approx. 1 minute and repeated twice more for a total of 3 sets. By the end i was blowing smoke out of my backside and my legs were throbbing. Given the limited time i was really pleased.

That’s it. Not sure when the next workout will be but I’ll keep you posted. By the way my back feels 2 hours after finishing training it might be a few days.

Take Care,

John