Get in Shape for Summer

fat loss

With summer fast approaching, here is the best protocol to get you into your best shape for the upcoming season.

Focus on lifting weights

Lifting weights releases hormones like growth hormone that promote fat burning. Weights will help maintain muscle for a strong and shapely physique. The more lean muscle you have, the faster your metabolism meaning more calories get burned every day.

When choosing the weight, it should be moderately heavy, one that you can lift with good form for 8-12 reps. Use rest intervals of 60 seconds or less.

Form is everything. I spend a great deal of time with clients instructing them on proper form and technique. Get your mind into your muscle and focus on the muscles working during the exercise. For example, when you do a squat really press through the heels and squeeze your glutes at the top.

Do compound exercises that work big muscle groups

The most effective workouts for fat loss include compound, multi-joint movements such as squats, deadlifts, bench press, barbell overhead press, pull-ups and rows. The legs are the biggest muscle group. Lower body exercises like squats, deadlifts, step ups, and lunge variations are great for fat loss.

Get an afterburn with high intensity interval training

Instead of spending an hour jogging on the treadmill, where you burn almost no calories after the workout, focus on high intensity interval training (HIIT) to mobilize and break down fat cells. HIIT relies on anaerobic energy and promotes excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC). EPOC increases your metabolism and the amount of calories burned for 24 to 48 hours post-workout.

Sample HIIT cardio workout:
Warm up for 5 to 10 minutes
20-30 second sprint, 85 to 95 percent Max HR*
40-60 seconds walk/jog recovery, 40 to 60 percent Max HR*

Aim for 6 to 10 rounds
*Max HR = 220 – age in years

High-intensity cardio intervals can be done on any piece of cardio equipment (treadmill, row, elliptical, bike) or outside (hill sprints, track sprints, sand sprints).

Circuit style training and heavy resistance training with short rest periods also generate EPOC. Choose 6-8 exercises that challenge the entire body and perform 4 sets of 12-15 reps with short rest intervals.

Sample circuit training workout:
15 x KB Swings
15 x KB Goblet Squat
15 x Push ups
15 x Med Ball Slams
30 x Mountain Climbers fast
30 x Walking Lunges (15 / leg)

Repeat as a circuit 4 times, resting 1 to 2 minutes at the end of each round.

High intensity workouts should last between 10 to 30 minutes. Include HIIT 2 to 3 times a week after or separate from your weight training workouts. Allow for at least 48 hours of recovery time between high-intensity workouts. 

Go for long walks and move more during the day

Include 30-60 minute walks a few times a week for stress management, circulation, and good digestion. High levels of the stress hormone cortisol are linked to fat storage right around the midsection. This is usually the hardest place for women to lose weight. Managing your stress levels can make a noticeable difference on belly fat.

Get up and move throughout the day. A step counter like the Fitbit is a good motivator for a less sedentary lifestyle

Nutrition

Even the best training program won’t get you results if your nutrition isn’t 85% clean. Focus on eating real whole foods and eliminating processed foods especially unhealthy carbs like bagels, pasta and sweets.

Every meal should include a lean protein, vegetables and/or fruit. Lean protein is essential for repairing and rebuilding muscle tissue. Protein promotes satiety and burns more calories in the digestion process. Save complex carbs like sweet potato, oats and rice around your workouts. Include healthy fats like avocado, nuts, eggs, olive oil, and coconut oil for satiety, brain function and hormonal health.

Sleep

Aim for 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night. Lack of sleep increases cortisol levels, leading to fat storage around the mid-section. Sleep deprivation can interfere with your ability to regulate appetite leading to cravings and binge eating.

This is a quick list of the most effective workout strategies for fat loss. If you have any questions I would love to hear from you, send an email to natasha@fitbytash.com.