6 top tips for a stronger you this summer

Shake up your summer - ignite your body's own fat-burning furnace to get lean and strong.

Strong is the new sexy this summer:

1. Try to avoid isolation exercises for the smaller muscle groups

Isolation exercises are generally used to stimulate small muscles groups like the bicep (curls) and triceps (kick-backs) and as such won’t get you significant results. This is because the muscles are small in size and do not have as much potential for growth resulting in slower muscle gain and lower energy expenditure. It is advisable to incorporate them as part of a circuit or as accessory exercises and not your main lifts.

Instead it is best to perform compound exercises that stimulate multiple muscles groups and expend a greater amount of energy due to the increased workload. Examples of compound lifts are: squats, lunges, deadlifts, rows, pull-ups, bench and shoulder presses. These exercises will help to build lean muscle whilst burning fat and increasing definition and strength simultaneously.

2. Get back to being primal and move away from the fixed resistance machines

Some machines can alter the way your body naturally moves as they can restrict your range of motion. This limits your ability to fully activate all of your muscles fibres and that means less fat burning and less muscle definition.

If you want results, you should incorporate exercises that allow your body to move naturally with full range of motion so you can boost your metabolism and tone your entire physique. The 7 primal movements are the answer!

Here are some examples:

Push: press up, chest press and military press

Pull: pull ups, TRX body row and single arm DB row

Bend: deadlifts, kettlebell, DB clean and press

Twist: wood chops, kettlebell windmills, rotational medicine ball throws (standing sideways against a wall)

Lunge: bench step up, Side Lunge, reverse lunge

Squat: goblet squat, barbell back squat, front/ overhead squats

Gait: walking, jogging, running and jumping


3. Mix up you cardio

If you've been pounding the cardio machines with nothing to show for it you already know it takes a lot of effort to get results. Mix up your cardio routine and it will get you results in half the time of your regular cardio workout. You could shake things up and try Octane X-circuit, HIIT or circuits, they are shorter with sharp dynamic movements. Longer workouts don’t mean quicker results. If your body isn't visibly changing, you can't do more of the same thing and expect a different result. The body responds to quality over quantity.

4. Crunches aren’t needed

To sculpt your abs you need to burn off that stubborn layer of fat that's hiding them. Instead of doing hundreds of crunches try on occasion doubling up on your primal movements e.g. lunge into a Twist, squat into shoulder press. This will cause vascular shunt, which will make you breathless and increase your calorie expenditure. Get moving and twisting with a load, ViPR, Kettlebells and Octane X-circuit could give you some pointers.

5. Workouts Over & Over

The same workouts over and over without pushing yourself is a great way to stop getting results, your progress will plateau. The body is an extraordinary vessel which likes to be challenged. If you want to keep making progress and keep seeing changes in your body change up your workout routine, your weights or number of repetitions. Keep your body challenged and the results will follow.

6. You are what you eat

Fuel your vessel! The body doesn’t need to follow a specific diet plan but you do need to eat varied foods to ensure your body is receiving all the nutrients it needs, be careful not to cut out too many foods and if you do then focus on replacing what’s missing from an alternative source. For example, if you cut out dairy, you will need another calcium source and if you avoid red meat, you may be deficient in saturated fat & possibly iron. A daily multivitamin can help keep your vitamin and mineral intake in check. Eat your 5 a day and eat the right amount of calories for how active you are. If you eat or drink too much, you’ll put on weight. Really chew your food, yes it’s more time consuming but it makes a difference. The body also has to work a lot harder to digest the food and uses more energy doing it.


About the Author

Terri Snelling is our health and fitness programme manager here at the Club and a qualified personal trainer. She started her fitness journey as a volunteer with YMCA when she was only 13 years old. Since then, she has held various jobs in her 15 years in the industry including working with a premiership football team and being a personal training manager in the city, before settling into her calling as a fitness manager at the Central YMCA Club. Over the years Terri has developed a vast and impressive set of skills ranging from but not limited to lifestyle management coaching, advanced kettlebells, indoor cycling and pre and post-natal care. She teaches several classes on our timetable such as indoor cycling, kettlebells and Octane Circuits.

ymca | 23 July 2015