Winter is over. Spring break has come and gone. That means summer is just around the corner. In the next few weeks the days will get longer and warmer and that means we’ll be wearing more shorts, tank tops and swimsuits.
Many of you may have gained a few pounds over the winter, and if you’re going to look the way you want this summer, now is the time to get your body in shape. The first thing you’re going to need to do to change your body for the summer is to begin exercising more. As always, a combination of weight training and cardiovascular exercise works the best.
If you’re new to weight lifting, get some help to develop the program that will work best for you. The frequency and duration of your lifting sessions, as well as the exercises and exercise order, need to be designed to meet your needs and your goals.
For your cardio work, vary the equipment you use and include elliptical trainers, treadmills, rowers, steppers and bikes. Add in outdoor activities as well like walking, running, and biking. Strive to get your heart rate up to approximately 60 to 70 percent of your maximum heart rate and keep it there for 20 minutes or longer. Depending on your level of physical conditioning, you may be able to burn as many as 10 or more calories per minute.
Next, you’ll have to clean up your diet and begin eating right. Try to reduce the number of calories you take in. For the most part, your calories come from three sources: protein, carbohydrates and fat. Protein should come from sources that don’t bring along high amounts of fat. White chicken and turkey, fish, lean beef, low fat dairy products and protein supplements are some of the best choices.
The government recommends about one gram of protein per kilogram of body weight, while most fitness enthusiasts will strive for one gram per pound of body weight. Somewhere in between the two should do the job of helping you build muscle without adding too many unwanted calories.
For carbohydrates, focus on “brown” foods rather than “white” foods. Brown rice not white rice, brown bread not white bread, etc. The majority of a person’s calories come from carbohydrates so eat moderate amounts throughout the early part of the day and reduce the carbs later in the day and in the evening. For your fat calories, limit your saturated fat intake by reducing the fat you take in from animal products. Few people need to worry about not getting enough fat in their diet so look to eliminate unnecessary fat by cutting out fried foods.
To lose weight, reduce your calorie intake by about 15 percent. If you’re consuming 2,500 calories per day, this reduction of about 375 calories per day should lead to the loss of about six or seven pounds in the next two months. If you add in about 30 to 40 minutes of cardiovascular exercise each day, plus some weight training, you can lose an additional six or seven pounds before summer starts.
This fat loss, combined with the toning and shaping you’ve done by lifting weights, could make this year your best summer ever. And you’ll be surprised how easy it is to do once you get started. So put in the work now and show off your new body when summer comes.
Kent Pegg is a certified personal trainer and the owner of the Los Alamos Fitness Center. Direct questions to Pegg at 505.662.5232.