To get toned and tighter this beach season, focus on a workout schedule which mixes strength training, cardio, and stretching to create long lean lines and a strong physique. You will see results quickly, have more energy and better health, and be motivated to keep with your program. This mind-and-body-boosting weekly workout plan will be one you will want to stick with.
Men’s Health tapped Mike Wunsch, certified personal trainer and Director of Training and Large Group Programming at Results Fitness, for his workout-building tips. Mike says incorporating both cardio and strength training is key. “For a well-rounded, fat-busting workout routine, your best bet is to swap the treadmill for resistance training. Strength training moves like deadlifts, squats, pullups, pushups, and lunges should form the basis of your workout,” he says. “If you hit the gym three times a week, focus on total-body strength training your first two days and metabolic conditioning (‘cardio’) on the third.”
Pilates pioneer Brooke Siler walked ELLE through a 10-step plan for toning. “If you’re someone who gravitates toward doing lots of cardio you’ll do better to lose fat without sacrificing muscle if you switch to intervals, i.e. sprinting all-out for one minute and then slowing way down for two. In an hour-long Pilates workout, you speed up and slow down, and alter resistance on each exercise to create the ultimate interval workout,” she says.
Follow along for a day to day plan for your perfect summer body.
Monday: Strength Training
Brooke suggests choosing exercises which target different muscle groups to “allow you to employ more muscles at once without exhausting any individual muscle too quickly. This way, not only will you have more energy for your workout, but by working more muscles at once, more hormones are released, stimulating more calories to be burned throughout the day.”
Follow the below circuit for 4 sets. We suggest using light weights anywhere from 3 to 7.5 lbs, if you are new to weight lifting exercises start low and work your way up.
- Dumbbell Row in Squat Position – 25 reps
- Lunge with Bicep Curl – 25 reps
- Plie Squats with dumbbells – 25 reps
- Bicycle with Reverse Curl – 25 reps
- Dumbbell Tricep Extension in Lunge – 25 reps
Tuesday: Strength Training
On the second day of the weekly circuit, you’ll drop the weights and use your own body weight for a full-body toning routine. Using your own bodyweight as resistance can be just as effective at building muscle and burning calories. Brooke notes: “While strength training builds muscle, it also boosts your metabolism, burns calories, and accelerates weight loss, leaning you out in the process.”
Complete the below circuit 3 times.
- Lateral Step Ups – 15 reps, each side
- Push Ups – 25 reps
- Tricep Dips using a step – 25 reps
- Skater Jumps – 30 reps
Whether you prefer to hit the treadmill, the pavement, or join your favorite cardio class it is important to fit it into your schedule in some way. On day three, focus on getting your heart rate up with a cardio-focused workout. On the treadmill or outdoors, follow the below intermediate interval running routine. You can take it up or down a notch depending on your level.
- 0-5:00 minutes: Warm up, 3.5 mph
- 5:00-7:00 minutes: Speedwalk, 4.0 mph
- 7:00-22:00 minutes: Run, Jog 5.2-6.0 mph
- 9:00-39:00: Repeat minutes 5:00-22:00, alternating 2 minutes of walking with 15 minutes of running or walking on an incline
- 39:00-45:00: Cool down, 3.5 mph
Thursday: Power Yoga
Power yoga focuses on boosting both strength and flexibility and targets areas that can become tight during running and strength training gym sessions. In your Thursday circuit, plan to do a Power Yoga session, which will have you in both standing and mat poses. Look out for Ashtanga and Vinyasa styles (which are both under the Power Yoga umbrella) at your local gym or yoga studio, or download the Yoga Studio App on your smartphone for an at-home workout. Not only will you be strong and stretched but totally Zen.
Health Magazine once referred to Pilates as “the secret to an amazing body,” and you need it as part of your routine. On Friday, hit the mat and get to work. This method will tone the entire body but is especially beneficial for building flat, defined abs. Like yoga, if you don’t have time to get to a studio or gym class, download Brooke’s favorite apps, Pilatesology and PilatesAnytime.
Saturday: Active Rest
By Saturday, you are going to be fairly sore and need some time to let your body rest and recover. Instead of plopping down on the couch, use Saturday as an active recovery day by going for a long walk or a very light run. The movement will help loosen and stretch your muscles as well as debloat your core.
Sunday: Rest Day
Take Sunday off and give your body the well-deserved rest it needs. “Stress elevates the cortisol hormone, which is responsible for your body storing fat and diminishing muscle,” notes Brooke. “Get enough quality sleep, laugh more, breathe, stretch, get a massage.”
What have you been doing to tone up for summer? Share in the comments below.