BY MORGAN GILL
It’s no secret that summer bodies are made in the winter. Although it seems to be warming up and time is running out, this Mississippi weather can drop 30 degrees in the blink of an eye. (I should say the splash of a rain drop.) We still have a month or two until summer officially begins, so if you’re ready to get your fitness on so you can feel confident in your shorts this summer, keep reading because I’ve curated a plan for beginner fitness aspirers and more trained workout enthusiasts to shred fat and create smooth muscle tone. Just in time for bikini season.
At the end of this article, I’ve included a free ebook containing the plan and a guide for getting healthier in 3 months. To download it, just click the link!
Let's get right into it!
Getting lean and toned isn’t necessarily easy. If you want your muscles to show, you’re going to have to reduce the amount of fat on your body so the glorified ~abs~ we all dream about will show. However, if you think you don’t have much muscle to begin with, (aka people who aren’t athletes and have never strength trained before) you may need to realize that the shredded 6 pack you’re after will not be attained in a plan designed to get you lean. If you have fat to lose, lose that first with this plan. Reach your goal weight. From there, if your abs aren’t showing, that’s when you’ll want to start seriously weight training and trying to build muscle. This is called a bulk. They will lift heavy and eat a surplus amount of calories to gain weight and build mass. Most people do this during the winter because they want to look lean and toned during the summer. Then, with a plan like I’ve created you, they will cut and get lean so their muscles will show.
Now, if you need to lose some weight, or if you’re ready to get your muscle tone showing again, let’s get started!
The Plan Overview Three days out of the week you will perform some type of cardio.
I have included several different workouts for you to mix up your workout schedule with.
You will also perform weights twice a week. These weight workouts are designed to help you keep your muscle mass while getting lean and cutting the fat. You must strength train along with your cardio if you want muscle tone. It is essential to choose weights that are challenging to you. Weights that are easy to lift and repeat will do nothing for you. Choose a weight that burns. You can always go down in weight if you can’t complete the reps.
Now, you get to design your plan. Pick and choose what workouts you want to do everyday. I recommend copying and pasting this template in your notes, then filling it out with which workout you plan to do each day before your week starts.
Monday - cardio
Tuesday - weights
Wednesday - cardio
Thursday -weights Friday - cardio Saturday - something active such as a hike, a bicycle ride, gardening, a long walk, etc. Sunday - rest
Cardio Day This section is for my newbies. If you’re new to working out, or you just don’t like high-intensity training, here’s your option. I suggest starting out with 30-60 minutes of moderate-high intensity cardio that you can sustain. You can cycle at high resistance, run, walk on an inclined treadmill, or even start out power walking around a track if you need to. Do what you can do to get your heart rate up and keep it pumping. This will help you become more trained and you will eventually be able to start utilizing the higher-intensity workouts for your advantage.
For the more experienced and trained, I recommend high-intensity interval training if you’re looking for a more intense, but shorter workout that will help you maintain lean muscle mass and cut fat.
I’ll list a few different workouts you can do for this: Option 1 - Indoor Cycling 1. Get on a cycle ergometer. Do 10-12 intervals of 1 minute moderate-high resistance as fast as you can followed by a 1-2 minute rest at moderate-low resistance at a slower, more moderate pace.
Option 2 - Treadmill Running Intervals 2. Do the same thing as the cycle ergometer, but on a treadmill. You can do this just by running as fast as you can for 1 minute then walking for 1-2 minutes. If you truly do this with full effort, 6-8 intervals will be sufficient.
Option 3 - Hill Sprints 3. Go outside! This one is HIGH intensity, but really great. Find a good hill that you can run up that’s about 1/10 of a mile. Sprint up this hill as fast as you can with every ounce of strength in you, then walk back down. As soon as you get to the bottom, turn back around and run back up it again, full sprint. Do this 6-8 times.
Option 4 - Incline Walking Intervals 4. For my lower intensity workout group, hop on a treadmill and set the incline for as high as it will go (probably around 15%) at 3.0mph. Walk this for 1 minute. Then come back down to around 2% incline and walk at 3.5mph for 1-2 minutes. 8-10 intervals of this.
TIP: Mix it up so you don’t get bored! You have plenty of options. Push yourself HARD on the high-intensity time portions for maximum results!
Strength Training Day 3 sets of each. Complete all three sets of one workout, then move on to the next. 30 second - 1 minute rest in-between sets.
Upper Body Workout 1. Triceps Extensions - 12 reps. Use a weight that burns, but you can do 12 reps. Try 15lbs and see if you can complete it. 2. Arm Raises - 12 reps. Try 5lb dumbbells. If that’s too easy, go up. 3. Bench Press - 12 reps. Try two 15lbs. If that’s too easy, go up. 4. Bent Over Butterfly’s - 12 reps. Try 5lb dumbbells. Adjust as needed. 5. Seated Press - 12 reps. Try 15lb dumbbells. Adjust as needed. 6. Abs x3 sets
Lower Body Workout 1. Squats - 15 reps with a weight you can handle. Try 30-40lb barbells or a 25-30lb dumbbell. 2. Lunges - 12 reps each side. Try 10-15lb dumbbells. 3. Barbell Deadlift - 15 reps at an easier weight. Try 40lbs barbell or two 20lb kettlebells. Adjust as needed. 4. Side Leg Raises - 15 reps each leg 5. Fire Hydrants with Full Leg Extension - 15 reps each leg 6. Abs - x3 sets
Ab Workout These are a little more flexible. If you get bored of one move, swap it with another. It’s important to push yourself though. If it’s easy, it’s not doing anything for you. Choose one and repeat it 3 times with little to no rest between exercises. A 2 minute rest in between sets is allowed.
Ab Burner 1. 1 Minute Plank 2. 20 Jack Knifes 3. 20 Suitcases 4. 20 Weight Ball Russian Twists Ab Blaster 1. 20 Side Crunches (10 per side) 2. 20 90-Degree Leg Raises 3. 20 Flutter Kicks 4. Single Leg Plank (30 seconds each leg)
TIP:Remember to spend at least five minutes stretching after your workout to prevent injury!
Click the link below for your FREE eBook! I can't wait to hear about your results!
STAY MO' FIT WITH MO
Morgan Gill is a Clinical Exercise Physiology major at Mississippi State University. Pursuing a future in Physical Therapy, she pushes herself to maintain a 4.0 GPA and keep fitness a priority. She mixes her exercise with weight lifting, workout classes, running, and yoga.