by Lynn Bode
Spring is here. Flowers are blooming, jackets are being put away and chances are that you're beginning to panic about putting on a swimsuit again. Hold on. Don't pack your bags for the North Pole just yet. You can get a body makeover in six weeks or less.
If you work hard and set your mind to it, you can make big transformations to your body in time for summer fun. Don't worry, while these changes will require dedication and work no crash dieting or excessive workouts are required.
Read on to learn more about both small and large changes you can start making TODAY to get your body in swimsuit shape.
- Get on the ball. If you don't already have one, purchase an inexpensive fitness ball. Use it to perform abdominal and leg toning exercises 5 days per week. Do 5-10 minutes in the morning and 5-10 minutes in the evening. There are hundreds of exercises you can do on a ball from beginner to advanced levels so the variety will keep boredom at bay and ensure you keep your body challenged.
- Add resistance training to your weekly workout. If you aren't currently doing a regular strength training workout then start today. Aim for a minimum of two sessions per week. Each session should work all of your major muscle groups with 2-3 sets per exercise of 8-12 reps using a resistance that fatigues your muscle by the final rep. Start with your larger muscles and then do exercises to target the smaller muscles as well.In addition to the attractive physical appearance strength training provides, it also helps speed up weight loss. Even when muscles are not actively being used, they need fuel to function. So, the more muscle you have the more fuel that is needed and therefore the more calories you burn.
- Change up your strength training. If you are currently including resistance training in your weekly routine then try to change it up considerably. It's important to alter your workouts every few weeks. The change helps ensure your body stays challenged, that you are regularly recruiting multiple muscle fibers and ultimately that you make progress and see improvements.
- Add intervals to your cardio workouts. Strive for three 30-minute interval training sessions each week. Interval training is short, high-intensity exercise periods alternated with periods of rest. It is one of the most effective ways to burn calories. These higher and lower intensity periods are repeated several times to form a complete workout. By exercising harder for short periods of time and then allowing yourself recovery time, you can push yourself harder.
- Evaluate your eating habits. Even small changes can surprisingly reduce your calories significantly. For example, eliminate or at least limit your soft drink consumption. If you drink one can per day that's about 1050 calories per week you could eliminate. That's almost a whole days worth of calories abolished just by substituting no calorie drinks in place of pop.
- Find ways to fit even more physical activity in to your daily routine in addition to your exercise routines. Don't underestimate the power of very small changes. Just get off your feet as much as you can. Put away the remotes and channel surf manually, march in place during your favorite show, stand instead of sit whenever possible during your normal daily activities, etc.
- Maximize your efforts with cross training. Cross-training is a type of exercise regimen that combines strength work, aerobic work, and stretching. With this method you use different muscles each day, which means you'll be able to work out at an intense level without overstraining your body. So try alternating the interval training days with strength training days for a cross training approach.
If you incorporate all of these recommendations, you can be ready for the beach and feeling confident in no time. But don't stop when you've reached your goal. These recommendations are appropriate for long term success and should be incorporated into your lifestyle permanently to maintain good health and fitness.
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