If only there were a fast-forward button for rounding those glutes and tightening up the belly after a winter-full of holiday feasts and this isolation period packed with the other kind of six-packs. Alas, we actually need to get moving and start cleaning up our diet in order to fully prepare for the upcoming sizzle of the summer. Consider the following list the equivalent of that fast-forward button, since it’s the closest thing you’ll find to a magic fitness bullet, and a recipe that will guarantee success only when you stay true to it, and consistently so.
Without further ado, here’s a list of must-dos for making the most of your time at the gym and in the kitchen. By the time the quarantine is over, you’ll hopefully be ready to dazzle everyone on the beach and showcase your hard work (and rock-hard abs) for months to come!
Be active outside your workout
There’s a notion called active recovery, which many athletes use daily. Once you plan out your weekly workout sessions, don’t miss out on the opportunity to get your body moving on those rest days. Talking a walk in the park, cycling to work, and simply talking the stairs over the elevator is more than enough. For the more ambitious, you can introduce a light yoga stretching session to keep your body flexible and mobile on those rest days, too.
Don’t hit the gym without a plan
Paying for membership in a trendy gym is not going to build muscle for you – you still need to actually go regularly, and fully prepared for each and every workout. Too many people blame the gym for never quite making it work, but they miss the key element: planning your workouts and exercise splits.
Do some research or hire someone to create a workout plan for you, which will give you a basis to try out different moves and combinations, and then adapt according to your fitness levels and goals. Use your phone or a stopwatch to measure breaks between sets, and always count your reps, and monitor the weights that you use. Only by carefully calculating your approach will you be able to build a summer-worthy physique!
Amplify your energy
There’s nothing worse and potentially more dangerous than hitting the gym drained and exhausted. It can lead to injuries due to lack of focus and energy, and mess up your entire week of working out and eating smart. To prevent such poor workout sessions, you can actually infuse your pre-workout drink with an l citrulline supplement to keep your energy levels stable and to ensure sharpness and focus during your training.
Such supplements are commonly used among athletes, another pro lesson you can infuse in your own approach to fitness to maximize your potential and make the most of each training session.
Refine your everyday menu
Of course, in addition to supplementation for better energy and concentration, you should also take a close look at how, when, and what you eat during any given day. Make sure that your diet is based on balanced meals with enough macronutrients and micronutrients for your needs, and to leave out any excess treats and calorie-dense snacks that bring you no benefit for a leaner physique. This takes discipline, and you cannot expect to achieve much with your workouts without making sacrifices in terms of your menu.
Don’t forget to rest every night
Just like your workouts and nutrition require planning and commitment, so does your down-time. Getting enough sleep is the third essential pillar of health and fitness next to your training and diet, hence the need to truly stay consistent with a schedule that gives you enough rest. That’s precisely when muscle regeneration and growth happen, and when your body reaps the rewards of all the goodies you’ve eaten in a day.
Incorporate compound movements
Yes, observing a buff beast at the local gym bending iron with a single bicep curl is mind-numbingly delicious. However, unless you’re a pro, spending hours on a single isolation move such as that one will do zero for your own gains.
Enrich your program with compound, multi-joint movements such as the squat, the deadlift, pushups, chin-ups, lunges, etc. They’ll push your heart rate up, give you a decent burn, and activate your entire body while toning your muscles more quickly, too.
Keep your body guessing
The fact that you’ve prepared that all-time favorite routine for the gym doesn’t mean that you’re done with innovation. On the contrary, the more you move forward, the more you’ll learn about your body, what your muscles respond to the best, and what you should leave out and replace.
With that in mind, try to give your routine a kick or two with a few versatile HIIT workouts per week, replace a casual run with a yoga session, and try an aerobics class instead of simply hitting the treadmill. When you learn more about different exercises and splits, you can start experimenting more, safely, of course, to see how your body responds. This attitude helps keep the plateau away and you’ll never get easily bored with your routine – because there won’t be one to begin with!
And one final tip for the most committed of you: keep an eye on your progress either with the help of a fitness app, or in your own written diary. Tracking your weekly changes in weight both on the barbell and on the scale will keep you in check for the next few months and inspire you greatly to pursue all of your fitness goals!