Spring is just around the corner and where we live the weather is following suit. Last week it was 80° and this week we have 50° weather and rain. Those warmer days are reminding me that for us, summer weather is not far away and that means beach and pool time around here. Which makes me think of being in a swim suit and my summer body.
It’s also reminding me that my body has some work to do after having a baby 5 months ago.
If you’re like me the winter months have left their mark. The holidays were busy with family and friends, the new was packed full of promises, and now spring is upon us, and girl scout cookies season.
It not to late to start on that summer body and the best place to start is right at home. No need for a gym membership or fancy equipment just you a few household items will do the trick.
Honestly, I hate showing up at the gym when I feel I am not ready. Well, honestly I am not a huge fan of the gym at all but that is a whole other post. Ironically, the gym is supposed to be a place that you get your body ready but I never really feel comfortable working out in front of all those strangers. I don’t mind the classes because I know the attention is focused on the instructor but just out on the floor? Nope not for me.
Here is the routine I am following this spring to help get my body ready for this summer. If it’s been awhile for you or maybe you never really exercised before then start slow and easy. Pushing your body to the point that it breaks now is not going to help you with your goals in the long run. This is an intermediate level workout but I have included suggestions on how to change it up and make it work for both a beginner and advanced.
This plan is called the 8×8. It’s 8 sets of 8 reps of each exercise. If you are a beginner, you can start with one or two exercises for each muscle group. If you are more advanced ,you can either add weight or increase the number of exercises. I really like this plan because it’s quick and simple. It’s a great way to get back in gear because everyone feels like they can do 8 reps. It’s easier for me to tell myself I can get through those last reps. It will have your summer body ready in no time.
One tip when doing the 8×8 program so that you really get the most out of it. The first set or two will be easy, you might not even feel the burn, but by the time you get to sets 7 and 8 you should be feeling every rep you put in. Be aware of how many sets you will be doing with you set up your initial weight or position but also don’t be afraid to back it down a little if you started too hard.
If you are serious about getting into shape then I highly recommend a set of exercise bands or free weights. You do not need a whole set of either just a couple to get you started. If there really isn’t the budget for equipment then start looking around you house for objects that can serve double duty while you exercise. Healthy living can take an investment but a great place to start is your summer body.
Monday – Chest (My hubby calls it International Chest Day or ICD)
- Pushups – If you can’t do a full push up switch to your knees and go from there. If that still is hard (don’t worry it is for a lot of people) then do incline pushups. Use the wall or the couch to give you some leverage and make it a little easier.
- Dips – These are easiest if you have a dip bar. However, especially if you are a beginner you probably don’t have one. All you really need are two even height objects that will support your weight. If the weather is nice head to the local park. Most cities have a park that has exercise equipment built right in. Just look for two parallel bars. Hold yourself up bend your elbows back behind you lowering yourself. Then push back up to the starting position.
- Chest Press – This one can be done a couple different ways. If you have exercise bands you can wrap them around your back and around your hands. If you have a set of free weights those can be used. No bands, no free weights, grab a couple soup cans from your cupboard. No need for a special bench just lay down on the floor or stand up either is fine.
- Flies – You can use the same band, weights, or soup cans you used for chest press to do chest flies. Wrap the band around a pole and slide one end back through the other to attach it or find another object you can slip it around. Hold your arm at shoulder height straight out to the side of your body. Now bring your arm, keeping it straight, out in front of you so that your arm and body form a 90° angle. Switch sides.
Tuesday – Back
- Pull aparts – These are fairly self explanatory. If you are using a band grab it about shoulder width apart at shoulder height in the middle and then pull it apart as far as you can. This is a great band exercise but works with weights too. Just hold your weights the same way and, well, pull them apart.
- Suit case rows – Remember those old style suit cases you used to have to actually pick up rather than wheel around? Picture yourself picking up one of those is a skirt. You can just bend over you have to bend your knees. So feet shoulder width apart knees bent, bend at the waist but keep your back as straight as you can. Either weights in your hands or the ends of a band that you are stepping on. Pull up with your arms without moving the rest of your body.
- Supermans – These are great for the lower back. You can do them one of two ways. Get into the superman position and hold it for a length of time or do reps where you hold the position for a second or two and then release it. Lay on your stomach on the floor. Arms stretched out above your head. Now lift your legs, arms, and as much of your chest off the ground as if you were flying like superman.
- Pushups – I know, more pushups?! but they are such a great body weight exercise.
Wednesday – Shoulders
- Front raises – Hold the band, looped under your feet, or the weights straight out and shoulder height. Lower your arms straight down to your body and then back up to should height.
- Up right rows – The start position is similar to front raises except your elbows are bent out to the sides and your hands are close to your chest. Lower your hands and then raise them back up to the start position.
- Shrugs – standing on the band or with the weights in your hands with your hands to your sides. Then shrug your shoulders as high as you can and release.
- Side raise – the same starting position as shrugs but if you are using a band you can either loop it around one foot or anchor it low on a pole. Raise your arm straight to the side and lower.
Thursday – Arms
- Bicep curls – Everyone has seen these. You can do then standing or sitting. If you want to use a band just wrap it around your feet.
- Tricep curls – all you have to do is turn your hands around to go from a bicep curl to a tricep curls. Instead of your hands facing you they face out or away from you.
- Overhead Press – Start with your arms at shoulder height, elbows bent at 90° so that your hands are above your head. Press up and then bring your arms back to the starting position. It perfectly fine for your hand to move towards each other but no need to have them touch.
- More Pushups – I know, I know but they are so good for so many things.
Friday – Abs
- Leg raises – Lay on your back on the floor. Legs up in the air as straight as your can. Keeping them straight lower then to right before they touch the floor. Then bring them back up to the starting position. I find it easier to tuck my hands under my butt for these.
- Planks – These are another hold for a certain amount of time exercise. The position is similar to a pushup but on your elbow and forearms. Keep your body as parallel to the ground as possible.
- Kangaroos – I have heard these called other things but this is always what I called then growing up. Sit with your knees bent almost to your chest. Lift then up off the ground. Take your hands and twist side to side, moving your hands from side to side. Hold a weight to make it even more challenging.
- Mountain Climbers – Start in the push up position. Switching from side to side bring your elbow and knee together. You can also go across your body doing opposite knee and elbow.
Sat – Legs
- Squats – Make sure to keep your knees above your ankles and not push them out over your toes. Add weight or a band wrapped behind your neck and under your feet.
- Lunges – Either walking across the room or just staying in place. Again add weights or a band for an extra challenge.
- Donkey Kicks – Start on all fours. Doing one leg at a time kick out your leg as straight and as high as you can.
- Fire Hydrants – similar concept to donkey kicks. Start in the same position but raise your leg to the side keeping your knee bent.
What are you doing to get back into shape for the summer?