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spring break workout

It`s time to get in shape. Serious shape. Get noticed on the beach shape. Are you up for the challenge?

Regardless of what the groundhog saw, spring break is happening and you need a workout program to get ripped.

It’s one of the best times of the year. Everyone wants to be looking his or her best for the bountiful beach and pool migrations. It’s time to drop the winter coats for board shorts and bikinis.

To do that, you need a proper workout plan. Whether your goal is maximum fat loss or to put on a bit of muscle while getting the cuts to show, this four-week plan has you covered.

Keep Lifting Weight.

The biggest mistake that’s made when leaning down is gearing every workout to fat loss. Always keep in mind that definition only occurs when the amount of muscle is enough to show through the layer of body fat. There’s different ways on how to measure body fat

An all-out effort to lose weight will mean you lose muscle. That’s about as helpful as adding more body fat. It also means that the more muscle you have, the easier it is for it to show through the layer of fat.

To ensure you’re maximizing definition you need to keep doing what got you the muscle in the first place. You need to maintain strength and keep lifting with heavy weight. The best way to maintain your strength and muscle mass is to keep lifting. A rep range of 5 to 12 is ideal.

Too often people are sucked into the misconception of doing higher reps to bring out definition. It’s true higher reps will bring out muscle striations and cuts, but this is only noticeable with very low body fat levels.

On top of that, doing 15 to 20 reps doesn’t stimulate muscle growth very well, so what’s the point of training if you can’t see the muscles in the first place and the training doesn’t build muscle? The last thing we want is to lose hard-earned muscle in the process of burning fat.

Another benefit of maintaining and building muscle is that your body will burn more calories.

This is great news when looking to lean down. Muscle burns calories at rest. This energy-hungry muscle tissue will use up even more energy as it repairs itself from the workouts.

Train Your Full Body

To get the greatest stimulus from each workout, you need to train your whole body. Training large amounts of muscle will be beneficial in a couple ways.

First, doing compound exercises naturally boosts anabolic hormone production such as testosterone. This effect is even greater when multiplied across all major muscle groups.

Second, training your whole body will require more energy from the body, burning more calories. Also the calories that are consumed on training days will go towards muscle regrowth. Training such large amounts of muscle depletes huge stores of muscle glycogen. This allows you to consume large amounts of carbs to replenish these muscle stores.

Cardio Training Helps

For some, resistance training will be enough to spur on fat loss. Adding in fasted cardio can always accelerate fat loss. Moreover, it improves your aerobic capacity and endurance so you can make it through spring break, although it won’t help you get a longer keg stand.

For this program there are two kinds of cardio specific sessions that we use. Wondering what they are? Read on.

compound lifts and circuit training

This Is High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

HIIT consists of short spurts of very intense effort followed by a recovery period. Some examples are hill sprints, rowing 250 meters and prowler pushes. The ratio of work to rest can vary, but the work portion should always bring you to a very high rate of 80% or more of your max heart rate.

Working at this intensity pushes your body to a point where it physically can no longer maintain the same output. Put simply, it’s when the heart can no longer keep up with the oxygen demand and the muscles can’t continue.

Due to the high intensity and very high heart rate, it’s very effective at improving your VO2 max. Of course, that’s a measurement on your body’s efficiency at supplying oxygen. What we’re mainly concerned with, however, is the large amount of calories that are burnt.

Twenty minutes of HIIT compared with lower intensity cardio is nowhere close in terms of calories burnt. It will also take time after your cardio session for your body to catch up on all the oxygen it couldn’t deliver to the muscles, further increasing the metabolic effect. Due to the intensity of this type of cardio you should only do it once a week.

This Is Low-Intensity Steady State Cardio (LISS)

LISS consists of less intense steady cardio sessions. Think of swimming laps casually, light jogging or cycling. This cardio should get you breathing heavier, but never become too challenging to continue. This type of cardio occurs at 60 to 70% of your max heart rate.

Since this cardio is less taxing on your body it’s done on low-calorie days to further fat loss without making it hard to recover for the next workout.

At lower heart rates, the body mainly consumes energy from fat. This is ideal on the low-calorie days where fat is being mobilized.

The amount of low-intensity cardio will vary by person. It’s best to start with one session a week to avoid overtraining. But, if fat loss isn’t going as quickly as planned, you can increase this to two or even three times per week.

Nutrition Is Vital For Your Spring Break Workout Program

The workouts will have a great metabolic effect on your body. But, to really see ample results, your nutrition will have to complement the workouts.

To promote muscle growth and retention, the lifting days require a high-calorie intake. As protein never changes from the suggested one gram per pound of bodyweight, the calorie change should come from carbs and fats. We know that weightlifting is the most important workout so having full energy and calories to repair and grow the muscles is essential. This is especially important when it comes to weightlifting for beginners. There are a ton of great tasting protein shake recipes on the internet to change it up. 

We do this by greatly increasing the carb consumption on those days while lowering fat intake to not over consume calories.

The less catabolic workouts that focus more on metabolic aspects and cardio take less energy to do effectively and are geared towards fat loss. Because of this, calorie and carb consumption is very low on these days. This is due to carbs raising insulin levels making it hard to burn fat.

To counteract the large reduction in carb consumption, fat intake is increased. It’s especially hard when you are trying to figure out how to get rid of belly fat. This won’t impact insulin, but will have a satiating effect, combating the temptation to overeat. Since carb and fiber intake is decreased, it’s advised to increase intake of fibrous veggies to make you feel fuller and meet fiber requirements.

This includes veggies like broccoli, spinach, Brussels sprouts, green beans and kale. If hunger and energy levels are issues, caffeine will boost your energy and suppress your appetite.

spring break program

Revving Up Metabolism For Your Spring Break Workout

One of the most vital reasons for macronutrient cycling is metabolism. The higher the body’s metabolism, the more calories it’s burning. We increase our metabolism by both exercising and eating.

By eating more calories on the lift days, we keep our metabolism running high so that on the lower calorie days the body will continue to burn calories at a normal rate.

Often fat loss diets get stagnant even with low-calorie intake because the body quickly adapts to the decrease in calories by lowering its’ metabolism as a survival technique.

Here Are Macronutrient Recommendations…

The tables will breakdown which days will have either a high, moderate or low consumption of carbs, proteins (always 1 gram per pound of bodyweight) and fats.

There are simple formulas to use to determine how much you should be consuming.

For carbs, you should consume 2 grams for every pound of body weight on days marked high. On moderate days, have 1 gram per pound of bodyweight. On low days, drop it to 0.4 grams per pound.

That drops to 0.3 grams on moderate days. On low days, you should only have 0.2 grams per pound of bodyweight.

This Is A Body Recomposition Model

If you’re already fairly lean and looking to fine-tune your body, follow the body recomposition model. This model focuses on a mix of gaining muscle and losing fat.

Given the challenge to do this at the same time and the higher need of calories to build muscle, you should expect slightly less fat loss.

This Is Your Weekly Body Recomposition Schedule

Day

Workout

Carbs

Fat

Protein

Monday

Strength

High

Low

High

Tuesday

Off/LISS

Moderate

Moderate

High

Wednesday

Conditioning

High

Low

High

Thursday

Off/LISS

Moderate

Moderate

High

Friday

Hypertrophy

High

Low

High

Saturday

HIIT

Low

High

High

Sunday

Off/LISS

Low

High

High

This Is A Fat Loss Model

If your main goal is to lose as much body fat as you can, then use this program. It will emphasize lowering calories and carb intake on the non-lift days, but still have moderate to high intake on the lift days.

Overall calorie intake will be lower throughout the week.

This Is Your Weekly Fat Loss Schedule

Day

Workout

Carbs

Fat

Protein

Monday

Strength

High

Low

High

Tuesday

Off/LIT

Low

High

High

Wednesday

Conditioning

Moderate

Low

High

Thursday

Off/LIT

Low

High

High

Friday

Hypertrophy

High

Low

High

Saturday

HIIT

Low

High

High

Sunday

Off/LIT

Low

High

High

Day 1 of Your Spring Break Workout Is A Full Body Strength Day

1a. Back Squat 3×5

1b. Incline Dumbbell Press 3×5

2a. Sumo Deadlift 3×5

2b. Weighted Pull-ups 3×5

3a. Alternating Lunges 3×12 each

3b. Single Arm Dumbbell rows 3x10each

4a. Preacher Curls 3×12

4b. Skull Crushers 3×8

4c. Calve Raises 3×12

5a. Single Arm Farmers Walk 3×20 meters

5b. Exercise Ball Pike 3×10

Days 2, 4 And 7 Of Your Spring Break Workout Is Off/LISS 

Use this day for recovery as needed. The goal is to do one or two low intensity cardio sessions for 30 to 45 minutes each week. Target heart rate for these sessions is to stay between 60 to 70% of your max heart rate.

This will keep the cardio aerobic, mobilizing triglycerides and keeping your breathing heavier with a light to medium sweat.

It’s important to not exceed this range.

Why?

It will slow your recovery and hurt your performance in the main workouts, which are the most important. Here is how you can get an idea of your target heart rate for these cardio sessions:

(220-Age) x 0.6=60% Max Heart Rate i.e. (220-30) x 0.6= 114 heart beats per minute

(220-Age) x 0.7=70% Max Heart Rate i.e. (220-30) x 0.7= 133 heart beats per minute

For a 30-year-old, this means the target heart rate zone is 114 to 133 beats per minute.

Day 3 Is A Conditioning Day

Complete each as many reps as possible (AMRAP) one time only. The goal is to do the circuit as many times as possible only resting as needed. Start with a light to moderate weight.

Do the following exercises for 15 minutes, AMRAP and with a pull emphasis:

10 reps Kettlebell Swings

10 reps Sumo Deadlifts to high pull

10 Russian Twists each side

10 Chin-ups

Rest for 4 to 5 minutes between AMRAPS.

Do the following exercises for 15 minutes, AMRAP and with a push emphasis:

10 Goblet Squats

10 Goblet Lunges each leg

10 Kettlebell Push Presses

10 Spiderman Push-ups

Do the following exercises for 10 minutes, AMRAP and with a core emphasis:

Single arm farmers walk, 30 meters each side

5 Abs Wheel Rollouts, slow tempo

10 Hanging Leg Raises

10 Weighted Sit-ups

spring break full body workout

Day 5 Is A Full-Body Hypertrophy

1a. Deadlifts 3×10

1b. Bench Presses 3×10

2a. Back Squats 3×10

2b. Lat Pulldowns 3×10

3a. Cable Rows 3×10

3b. Lunges 3×10 each side

4a. Dumbbell Overhead Presses 3×10

4b. Single Arm Dumbbell Rows 3×10

5a. Alternating Dumbbell Curls 3×10

5b. Rope Pressdowns 3×10

6a. Decline Weighted Sit-ups 3×12

6b. Seated Calve Raises 3×15

Day 6 Of Your Spring Break Workout Is A HIIT Day

Do 8 rounds of 45 seconds on and 60 seconds off.

There are many options. You could do rowing, sprinting, cycling, burpees, verse climbers, and swimming.

Bonus: Full Body Hotel Workout

Just because you might skip out on a class a couple times doesn’t mean you can skip out on the gym. While it’s really important you stick to the program, you can use this workout in a pinch, as you won’t need any equipment.

If you have to replace one day with this workout make it the conditioning day since they’re most alike. This workout can also be done in place of the HIIT session.

Circuit 1

1a. Broad Jumps 3×10

1b. Yoga Push-ups 3×12

1c. Jumping Jacks 3×20

Circuit 2

2a. Plank Jacks with Push-up 3×12

2b. Jumping Lunges 3×12

2c. Plank under and up reaches 3×12

Circuit 3

3a. Burpees 3×10

3b. Forward and back bear crawls 3x10meters

3c. Planks 3×30 seconds

Tabata: 20 Seconds on, 10 seconds off, alternating each exercise 4 times

4a. Push-ups, change hand position every rep 4×20 seconds

4b. Jump Squats, max height each rep 4×20 seconds

BUILD Protein

Conclusion

This program is not for the weak minded or weak willed. It will test your limits. It’s best to use this program if you have at least one to two years of training experience. If you’re not quite there, the program should be scaled back by using lighter weights to avoid training to failure on every set.

Fat loss will be one to two pounds per weeks, but the scale can vary greatly. Ensure you weigh yourself at the same time each week and know that many things can impact weight. If you notice changes in the mirror that’s all that matters, as an increase in definition is a result of more muscle mass or a decrease.

Of course, both are end goals. It doesn’t matter how much you weigh on spring break. What matters is how much you’ve changed your body. Get after it!

-By Raphael Konforti, MS, CPT

 

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