Summer is near. Are you ready? Have you built the body you want to show off? If you haven’t, there’s still time. We give you the tips for your summer workout plan to lose weight.
You can feel it in the air. The warm days of spring are getting warmer. That means it’s time to turn up the heat in the gym and get to cooking in your kitchen so that by this summer you are rocking a shredded body.
The question is: Do you have a training and diet strategy?
Having a solid summer workout plan and meticulously executing is the difference between building the summer body you want and walking around with your t-shirt on at the beach.
Pre-summer body construction begins now!
Not sure where to start?
Don’t worry. Here are a training and diet guide to have you looking like beach royalty this summer.
Cardio Is Still King
To most serious lifters it’s a dirty six-letter word. Others live for it. Love it or hate it, cardio is a necessity for the season when everyone struts around with their tops off. There’s no denying that cardio is a fat killer. So along with your beloved lifting, you now must put in the extra time and effort at the gym and include cardio.
That one little six-letter word is the key to unveiling the six-pack!
What type of cardio should you do?
Both HIIT and steady-state cardio have their place in every fitness regimen. It’s really most efficient to do a mix of each type five or six days per week.
HIIT 2-3x Per Week
High-intensity interval training (HIIT) is a time saving, fat zapping, quick summer body kind of cardio.
Zuhl and Kravitz (2012) reported, “Research shows that HIIT leads to similar and in some cases better improvements in shorter periods of time with some physiological markers. Incorporating HIIT (at the appropriate level of intensity and frequency) into a client’s cardiovascular training allows exercise enthusiasts to reach their goals in a very time efficient manner.”
If you are looking to be shredded by summer, HIIT is your new best friend!
The whole concept of HIIT is to go full throttle for a set interval of time followed by a rest/recovery period and repeat. It only takes about 15 minutes to burn nearly 250 calories, but there’s more.
The intervals are key for fat loss. What happens is that your heart rate screams when you are pushing your limits during the high-intensity portion of the interval.
Then, during the recovery interval, your body must continue to work to recover from the high-intensity bout.
How can 15 minutes of HIIT burn calories that equate to a nearly 40-minute low-intensity cardio session?
Using HIIT, your body will experience afterburn for up to 24 hours post-cardio session.
The reason is because your body must undergo EPOC or Excess Post-Oxygen Consumption. This causes your body to consume more oxygen post-exercise. In fact, there are tons of processes happening in your body during EPOC, and all of them require fuel from your body to complete. That equals calorie consumption and fat burn.
What it boils down to is that vigorous exercise will force your body to burn calories for longer periods of time.
So HIIT it!
Keep in mind that you should use HIIT strategically. Try to get two or three sessions of HIIT in per week, and schedule it appropriately around your weight training. For instance, sprinting after heavy legs day is going to be pretty miserable, so schedule an HIIT session after an upper body day.
You may find HIIT less mundane than steady state cardio. Maybe you’ll hate it. Either way, if you want dramatic changes in your physique by the time summer is in session, bite the bullet and integrate HIIT.
This Is All About Steady-State Cardio
Let’s face it: You aren’t going to be able to go balls-to-the-wall every day of the week. You’re dieting alongside all this exercise. You still need to lift heavy, so some days you should resolve to do moderate intensity steady-state cardio.
Steady-state cardio usually burns about 10 calories per minute. You can burn huge amounts of calories completing steady state, however, you need to make more time for the gym to get it all in. Plan to do 30 to 45 minutes of steady-state cardio after you lift on the days that you aren’t completing HIIT.
Many people hate on moderate-intensity cardio for fat loss and say “here’s why steady cardio fails you“. But, it has its place for:
- Beginners who aren’t quite ready for HIIT.
- People with injuries, such as to their knee or back.
- Those whose primary objective is to preserve every ounce of muscle – such as bodybuilders.
Steady-state cardio also gives you many options. Jog outside. Use a treadmill, step mill or elliptical. Swim laps. Cycle. It’s up to you! But, there’s no skipping cardio when it comes to leaning out for summer.
One other benefit of steady-state cardio is that it requires very little recovery time, unlike HIIT. Taking a jog after a lifting session won’t be as taxing on your body, and you could hit legs day the following day with no problem.
Fasted Cardio: The Steady-State People Really Hate
Want to make steady-state more effective and burn fat even more quickly?
It’s going to take some dedication on your part, but you’ll see amazing results if you are minding your diet and killing some fasted cardio early in the mornings.
Fasted cardio means that you complete your cardio in a fasted state, not on an empty stomach. There’s a difference.
That means you have to set your alarm, get your butt out of bed and hit cardio when your stomach is truly on E!
It’s miserable because:
- It’s too damn early in the morning for cardio.
- You’re hungry.
- You are weak.
- You’re hungry.
However, if you want that rock hard bod, you’ll convince yourself that anything mentally and physically grueling is worth the results it will yield.
How bad do you want it?
Gotta Keep Lifting!
Sexy for summer means muscles!
Muscles are just sexy. I don’t care who you are everyone wants the fastest way to get muscles. That means that heavy lifting season should never cease. Now, you are in improvement season, pre-summer season.
Take a long, honest look at yourself in the mirror.
What on your body is lacking?
Where are your weak spots?
Make a workout schedule that includes two days of lifting for your weak(er) areas. For example, if your legs are twigs, then you need to hit two legs days per week and make those twigs into trunks.
Just make sure you spread out the days to allow ample recovery time. Mondays and Fridays may be your two legs days each week. Your workout schedule may look something like this:
|Monday||Legs/Steady State Cardio|
|Tuesday||Chest/Back Steady State Cardio|
|Wednesday||Arms and Abs/ HIIT|
|Friday||Legs/Steady State Cardio|
The only way people can see all those gains is for you to take your winter coat off. Now we head to the kitchen.
Diet: Abs Are Made In The Kitchen
Put your pineapple print apron on, even if it’s the only thing you have on, and get into the kitchen!
The kitchen, my friends, is where abs are made.
The single greatest factor in your success or failure in achieving your Statue of David body for the summer is the food you consume. What you eat in private (or socially), you wear in public and you can’t out-exercise it.
It’s time to become a lean, mean chef. Your grocery list should dwindle down to only nutrient dense foods that fill you up and properly fuel your body.
These Are Nutrient Dense Foods For A Strong, Sexy Summer Body
Clean eating isn’t as hard as you think. What it boils down to is sticking to raw foods that are nutrient dense. Nutrient dense means that the food is potent in nutrients, yet typically low in calories. These foods include complex carbs, healthy fats, lean meats and foods that supply you with your daily dose of vitamins and minerals.
Let’s make some tweaks to your grocery list. Here’s what goes in the cart:
|Proteins||Grains||Nuts, Seeds And Fats||Vegetables|
Squash (all types)
This Is Meal Prep 101
You need to stock up on Tupperware and set Sundays aside to prepare food for the week ahead. You’ll be eating a nutritious, nutrient dense meal every 2.5 to 3 hours, five or six times per day (depending on your schedule).
To make meal prep uncomplicated and less time consuming, it’s easiest to just eat the same meal repeatedly and have easy go-to snacks.
The amount of protein one needs is hotly debated and has never really been resolved. The Recommended Dietary Allowance, RDA, states that you need 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. If you choose to go by that standard, that’s fine.
However, it is safe to consume 25%, 35% or more of your daily calories from protein. Try telling a bodybuilder that it’s unsafe to eat 50% of their diet from protein. They will flex and laugh you out of the building. When you are working on your chiseled summer body, you’ll eat on the higher end of the protein intake spectrum.
Each person’s meal prep is different. Your calorie intake and macronutrient ratio, or a ratio of carbs, fats, and proteins, will vary depending on how much weight you need to lose and how quickly you need to lose it.
If you’re naturally muscular and thicker bodied, you might want to start with a macronutrient ratio of 30% protein, 40% carbs and 30% fats or 35% protein, 25% carbs and 40% fats. There isn’t a set in stone ratio. You can manipulate it if your current ratio is not working for you. If you are naturally thin, your carbs should increase.
I have written many articles for Gym Junkies on how to calculate calories and manipulate your macros. Check out the How Many Calories Should I Eat To Lose Weight article for more info.
Here’s what’s inside the average person’s meal prep container:
- Men: 6-8 ounces of a protein source; Women: 3-5 ounces of a protein source
- One cup of veggies
- One cup of a starch (complex carb)
- Easy snacks include: Hard boiled eggs, almonds/walnuts, and protein shakes
Expediting The Summer Workout Plan To Lose Weight
Completely cutting dairy and fruit from your diet can quickly accelerate weight loss. It’s sometimes the small, tasty sacrifices we have to make in our pre-summer program that make the biggest difference for our summer physiques.
Making drastic cuts in diet will cause your body some stress. You won’t die!
You might feel tired and weak each time you make a major cut or change in your food consumption, but in about a week your body will adjust.
Muscle through the hard times!
Lift up your shirt and look at your abs. Remind yourself why you started this process.
In addition, you need to make sure there are no processed foods. You should also drink ½ a gallon or more of water per day.
As well, if it isn’t a complex carb, don’t eat it!
Your body results are going to depend on the culmination of your hard work in the kitchen and in the gym. It takes both disciplines to produce a sexy summer physique. It’s not an easy road, but the first time you strip your shirt off this summer, you’ll be beaming with pride and accepting compliments on your sexy shredded body.
You’ll get there!
All you have to do is follow advice from this pre-summer training and diet guide.
By Sarah Chadwell, CPT.