What I Do When Summer Is Round The Corner
Summer is like the big test for me every year; the time of the year when you really have to be at the top of your game physically and indeed mentally. This is the time of the year when one is exposed for longer periods of time by pools, beaches and in general less clothing attire than would normally be worn throughout the rest of the year. This is the big one and even after 4 and a half years of constant exercising I'm not really satisfied yet; then again very few are.
This is such a tricky time for a lot of people who I have talked to. There are so many people who realize only around now and well into the summer months how self-conscious they actually are. Awareness of one''s physical and mental attributes is studied by all of us quite vigorously at some point during the summer. Whilst it is never a good idea to compare yourself to others, to think 'what will people think of me when they look at me', we are all human, slaves to western media and so it is inevitable that we go through this. Anxiety about ourselves is felt by almost everyone. The stout few who go through the summer not worrying about their appearance are either tough as nails through hard graft, or are lying to people.
Summer for me is the time when i compare myself to last summer, and the one before that. If you think about it the best way to do comparisons (if you must do them) isn't to look at other people and see if you look 'better' but to compare yourself to how you were last summer. If you believe you are in a better physical and indeed mental state than last summer then it is progress and you can smile for the whole summer. That is paramount. I should really put that sentence in bold. Hang on i'l do it now. There we go.
There are of course ways of inching one's self over the line just a bit more before that trip to Portugal and i'm going to share with you my tips for the little tweaks you can do in your workout to get over the line. These are just a few rules I put into practice about a month or two months before the flight. They are designed to get that muscle definition out just a bit more and burn a tiny bit of more that subcutaneous (skin) fat and to feel good about myself and so i can say i did my best.
The first is to burpee like crazy. If you haven't yet read our article on Burpees then do so! Just google TDL Fitness and burpees to find it. Can't give you everything on a plate here ;). Burpees are the best for that last minute toning and are so intensive that for some it can be the trickiest exercise to do. For this I set myself a target of burpees i have to do per week correlating to how many times I go to the gym a week. I say 40 burpees per exercise day, not that i do burpees every day, though it would be easier. I go to the gym 7 days a week (yes yes i know rest days blah, but i love gym for reasons) so 7 x 40 = 280. That means I have to do 280 burpees a week. I might skip burpees on one day but that means i have to do more on another day. I love it. So for you, 40 burpees per training day. Find your target and make it so. I've said burpee way too many times now it sounds silly....but it feels good!
Secondly, I start doing a lot more ab cardio-based workouts and HIIT training. For the readers who don't know I'l quickly explain that there's two different types of ab workouts, ab strength (crunches etc) designed to make ab muscles bigger and ab cardio (mountain climbers) designed to take fat away from the front of the abs to get definition. Ab cardio workouts dominate my ab routines at this time.
Thirdly I switch up a lot of my weights workouts from heavy sets of 4/5 of 10 reps each to slightly lighter sets of 3 of 12-15 reps each. This is the method of changing your place in the exercise pyramid (see PERIODISATION article for more information) to a more endurance weight loss-based workout. Still using free-weights as they are the most beneficial, this allows me to focus more on a bit faster movement and more flexibility which is a great toning method. This switch also includes a halving of in between set rest time from 1/2 minutes to 30/60 seconds. Muscular endurance is the name of the game before and during the summer.
Thirdly, I start the CLA tablet cycle deliberately 2 months or so before that flight. CLA is just a fatty acid that is super helpful in burning a bit more of that skin fat to make yourself look great. CLA is in many different meats but you need over 3000mg of it a day for it to be worth while and unless you are a frequent kangaroo meat eater you most likely won't be getting enough of it in a natural diet. CLA tablets are readily available from many companies, but go cheap and cheerful for these as it just needs the CLA and 1000mg per tablet.
Fourthly I eat little but often. Small meals planned no longer than 2 hours apart is the best way of managing general calorie intake and allowing the digestive system to work as efficiently as possible. This is a golden rule for me and it's not that difficult, even for me because i love my food now!
Finally and almost most importantly i lay off alcohol quite a bit before a holiday. Aside from the occasional BBQ, house party and wedding I stay away from alcohol which bloats all of us. Any method of reducing water retention is ideal during the summer. Abstaining from alcohol in general is one of the most effective ways of doing that. If people are having wine at a dinner party bring Ribena. If there's a cider flowing in the pub in the afternoon, sneak in fizzy apple juice. No one will know until you wow them when you are in your swim wear. They will wish they did what you did. When you are on holiday of course...down it....
These are some of the main tips and tricks I do before summer and it works for me, it most certainly will work for you. Get summer ready physically and indeed mentally so you are ready to #BeProud of who you are and what you look like. This is the summer you show off your hard work with modesty and humility. Get out there and prepare and just wait for the results to come your way. We are all slaves to this culture of looking good and whilst we struggle to liberate ourselves from the constrains of a social media-based vain society we can at least play the game. Next time though we will never be worried about what other people think. When that happens, we will be happy too.