Summertime is here. It's a great time to reset your fitness. Hollies Liebman, author of COMPLETE PHYSIQUE (Hatherleigh Press, $21.95) has the following tips for anyone who wants to look their best hitting the waves or the pool this summer:
GET BACK TO BASICS FOR STRONG, SCULPTED ARMS
No matter what kind of swimsuit you choose, your arms are going to be out there for the whole world to see. And since you’re wearing so little, an extra roll or a bit of jiggle is even more noticeable. If you want strong, sexy arms this summer, it’s time to try an
old standard: the push-up. Push-ups strengthen your chest muscles, but they also work your deltoids (or shoulder muscles) and triceps. This makes them one of the most effective exercises around!
DON’T IGNORE YOUR CORE
The “core” muscles include those in your abs and back. They (along with a few others) keep your trunk stable and your posture upright. But many people ignore their core muscles when they start a workout program. When toning up for summer, don’t just focus on “problem zones” like your arms, glutes, and thighs. Weak core muscles can cause all sorts of injuries, like a bad back, a pulled shoulder, or a twisted knee—and the
time you take recovering from these injuries can seriously delay you in reaching your summer fitness goals.
EAT SMART FOR MUSCLE TONE
Many fat-loss programs require drastic caloric restrictions and extreme amounts of cardiovascular exercise. The problem is that most also do a pretty good job of wasting away your muscle mass at the same time. Regardless of what your weight loss goals might be, losing muscle tissue is never a good idea--it slows your metabolism to a crawl. Instead of following a low-calorie diet, follow a dietary plan that will enhance your ability to build muscle and rev up your metabolism in the process.
STRETCHING IS ESSENTIAL, BUT DON’T GO BALLISTIC
Have you heard of ballistic stretching? It’s a kind of stretch in which you move into a position and then bounce to stretch the muscle. An example would be bending to touch your toes and then bouncing to reach them. Ballistic stretching can do a lot more harm than good, tightening the muscle and leading to injury. Skip the bounce, because wearing an ACE bandage on the beach isn’t sexy.
PLAN TO LOOK GREAT…AND FEEL EVEN BETTER!
The desire to look great in your swimsuit may be what’s inspiring you to get in shape, but remember that the results will be more than just cosmetic. As you build muscle and stamina, you’ll be able to excel at classic summer sports like beach volleyball, swimming, and surfing. The active habits that you form this summer will inspire you to stay fit year-round!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
HOLLIS LANCE LIEBMAN has been a fitness magazine editor, national bodybuilding champion and published physique photographer. Hollis has also served as a bodybuilding and fitness competition judge. He currently lives in South Carolina.