If you’re anything like me, even if you train throughout the year as I do, every time the weather breaks you panic a little. You wonder: “Are my legs toned enough to wear shorts? Are my abs bikini ready? Are my arms sculpted enough to go sleeveless?”
Here are a few of the things I plan to do to make sure I look and feel my best this summer:
Cardio, Cardio, Cardio
Cardio is most definitely my least favorite thing to do as far as fitness is concerned, but one of the most necessary to burn fat and calories. If you want to whittle down the fat on your abs or anywhere else on the body, you have to burn more calories than you take in, so that means cardio…and a lot of it. Believe me, I have tried to sneak my way around it, but it’s unavoidable.
I’m a big fan of boutique fitness, so I’m always trying different classes all over the city. Right now I am a big fan of spin classes. My local gym has great spin classes, but I also love spin studios such as Flywheel and Peloton here in NYC. I don’t fancy myself a runner, but I enjoy the energy I get from group runs and group treadmill classes at places like Mile High Run Club. I also find that if I sign up for a race, like a 5k, I am more likely to train hard when I have a goal to reach. If none of the above appeals to you, I am a believer that you should do whatever it is you do like. For some, that may mean taking a dance class, or jumping on a trampoline, but you should enjoy your workouts. Having said that, it should still be challenging. As one of my favorite fitness instructors always says, “If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you.”
I can’t emphasize this enough: if you want a beautiful, toned body, weights and resistance training are a must. Walking into a gym for the first time or after a long time away can be intimidating. Instead of trying to figure things out on your own, you can always have someone from the gym staff walk you through the equipment, or many gyms also offer classes if you feel like you don’t know what you’re doing.
For the month of May, I focused my weight training on my trouble areas, which for me are my legs, glutes (butt) and abs. That means a ton of squats, lunges, leg extensions, hamstring curls, leg presses, etc. Although I focus on my lower body, I don’t neglect my upper body. Pushups (straight leg or on your knees), assisted pull-ups, shoulder raises, tricep dips and lat pull downs (for the back) are great for tightening the upper body.
If you want a change of scenery and to mix things up a little, but still want to do some body sculpting, barre classes are an excellent option. I LOVE barre classes--I’ve been raving about them for years. This technique crafts long, lean, dancer-like muscles through focused arm, abs, seat and thigh work. The moves are deceptively simple but will have your muscles quivering. Leading barre studios such as Exhale, Flybarre, Physique 57, Pure Barre, and The Bar Method offer classes all over the country.
All of the above is for naught if you’re not putting the right nutrients into your body. This is the time of year I try to cut back a little more on my calories. That means a little less wine (sad face), a little less of some of the things I like to eat that I know put on the pounds: donuts, cake, mac n’ cheese, warm bread etc. I’m not a fanatic, so I do treat myself from time to time, just less so during this time of year, or whenever I have a particular goal in mind.
Besides being healthy, my goal is to never have to wear a one piece (not that there’s anything wrong with a one piece). Yes, at 48, I still wear a bikini! So those are just a few of the things I’m doing to get right and tight and make sure I look the way I want in my bikini this summer. Everyone has their particular goals and is on their own particular fitness journey. You have to do what is right for you.
What are some of the techniques you plan to use to get your body summer ready?
Angelique Miles is a fitness enthusiast and 25 year music industry veteran who also loves good food and wine, doing it all up in Harlem, New York City.