Summer is coming soon — very soon — which doesn’t leave us much time to remedy some of winter’s remaining ill effects. Let’s face it: Most of us choose a warm, cozy bed over a cold walk (sometimes, in the dark) to the gym. Even those who make that walk don’t make it as often as in warmer seasons, and we all end up packing a little extra insulation. Don’t fret! You have just enough time to get fit for summer, and I’m here to help! Kicking off is this easy 4-week fitness boot camp that you can tailor to your skill level and your fitness preferences. Over this period, I’ll provide you with weekly workout plans — all you need to do is stick to these programs and work hard!
WEEK ONE: 3 Keys to Success
Let’s set you up for success with some guidelines, tips and prep-work.
Key 1: Set Measurable Goals
Write down your two or three top fitness goals for this 4-week period. How to know what your goals are? Just ask yourself some honest questions, and the answers will provide you with the goals. Do you want to double your weekly workouts; shave 2 cm off your waist; fit into last year’s ultra-mini? You choose. Just be sure to make the goals achievable in 4 weeks, and that you can track the results/progress. Tracking is also very simple and easy: Keep copies of goals where you can see them — at your desk, on your fridge, on your nightstand. They will keep your eyes on the prize: the fitter, summer-ready you.
Key 2: Track Your Progress
Keep track of your success by recording your progress over the 4 weeks.
(i) Measure your body when you wake up in the morning: Strip down to your birthday suit to weigh and size yourself, then record the data; repeat every 2 weeks.
Include the following measurements:
- Waist: Measure around the narrowest part of your waist (about 2-3cm above your belly button).
- Chest: Measure around the widest part of your bust (roughly at the nipple-line).
- Hips: Measure around the widest part of your hips.
When measuring, follow these guidelines:
- Keep the tape measure level all around the area you are measuring.
- Hold the tape measure just tight enough to lie flat against your skin without squeezing, squishing or flattening your flesh.
- On measuring days, do your measurement checks first thing in the morning. It’s the easiest time of day to just get naked and stand upright, in a natural position, in front of a mirror; this is important for helping you see how you are positioning the tape measure.
(ii) Test your fitness one day before starting the 4-week boot camp, then again at the very end. You can do this on your own, or get a friend to help (and motivate) you. Be prepared to give it everything you’ve got. Here are the tests.
Do as many push-ups as you can without stopping. Position your hands wider than your shoulder width. Count and record the number of push-ups achieved.
Hold a plank on your elbows for as long as you can, keeping your hips low and in line with your shoulders. Time the test, and record your time.
Cardio fitness 3-minute step test
Facing a 12-inch step — or stair, or solid box — step one foot at a time, up, up, down, down for 3 minutes, at a pace of 96bpm (suggested pacing music: Tina Turner’s “What’s Love Got to Do with It?”; Snow Patrol’s “Set the Fire to the Third Bar”; or, Google “songs at 96 bpm”). At the end, count your pulse for 60 seconds and record the data.
You can use your pre-test results to help you establish some of your goals! At the end of the boot camp, when you re-test your fitness, push yourself really hard. Target more pushups, a longer plank and a faster heart-rate recovery (lower pulse over a one-minute period).
Key 3: Commit Wholeheartedly
Book your fitness appointments in your calendar. Choose to exercise 3, 4 or 5 days per week. Determine in advance the days of the week and the time(s) of day. You know your schedule best — you know what time of day you are readiest to perform, or most in need of a boost. Work with what you know, and what you can realistically accomplish.
Keep your appointments with your fitness just like you would with your boss, your doctor and your kid’s soccer practice. But have a backup plan. Stuff happens, right? Things come up. So, simply, be sure to reschedule your time or have a back-up activity ready that you can do even if you only have 5min available. I’ll provide you with one backup option per week — high-intensity exercises that recruit several large muscle groups to burn the most calories, fast.
You’re now armed with the keys to success. Get started now on your prep-work to be 100% ready for summer fitness. Share your goals with me via the Comments below; see you next week for Part 2!
Get your nutritional boost from our Healthy Eating Bootcamp, by Registered Dietician, Maria Thomas!
Katya Mohsen is a personal trainer with over 10 years of experience in fitness and sports training. Catch her practical fitness advice Thursdays on Slice.ca.