By Lynn Bode, fitness trainer
Special to NurseZone
Spring is here. Flowers are blooming, jackets are being put away and chances are you're beginning to panic about putting on a swimsuit again. Hold on. Don't pack your bags for the North Pole just yet. You can get a body makeover in six weeks or less.
If you work hard and set your mind to it, you can make big transformations to your body in time for summer fun. While these changes will require dedication and work, no crash dieting or excessive workouts are required.
Here are some small and large changes you can start making today to get your body in swimsuit shape.
Get on the ball.
If you don't already have one, purchase an inexpensive fitness ball. Use it to perform abdominal and leg toning exercises five days per week. Do five to 10 minutes in the morning and the same amount in the evening. There are hundreds of exercises you can do on a ball from beginner to advanced levels so the variety will keep boredom at bay to ensure you keep your body challenged.
Add resistance training to your weekly workout.
If you aren't currently doing a regular strength training workout then start today. Aim for a minimum of two sessions per week. Each session should work all of your major muscle groups with two to three sets per exercise of eight to 12 reps using a resistance that fatigues your muscle by the final rep. Start with your larger muscles and then do exercises to target the smaller muscles as well.
In addition to the attractive physical appearance strength training provides, it also helps speed up weight loss. Even when muscles are not actively being used, they need fuel to function. So, the more muscle you have the more fuel that is needed, therefore the more calories you burn.
Add intervals to your cardio workouts.
Strive for three 30-minute interval training sessions each week. Interval training is short, high-intensity exercise periods alternated with periods of rest. It is one of the most effective ways to burn calories. These higher and lower intensity periods are repeated several times to form a complete workout. By exercising this way, you can push yourself harder.
Evaluate your eating habits.
Even small changes can surprisingly reduce your calories significantly. For example, eliminate or at least limit your soft drink consumption. If you drink one can per day, that's about 1,050 calories per week you could eliminate. That's almost a whole day’s worth of calories abolished just by substituting no-calorie drinks in its place.
Find ways to fit more physical activity into your daily routine
in addition to your exercise routines. Don't underestimate the power of very small changes. Be on your feet as much as you can. Put away the remotes and channel surf manually, march in place during your favorite show, stand instead of sit whenever possible during your normal daily activities.
Maximize your efforts with cross training. Cross-training is a type of exercise regimen that combines strength work, aerobic work and stretching. With this method you use different muscles each day, which means you'll be able to work out at an intense level without overstraining your body. Try alternating the interval training days with strength training days for a cross training approach.
If you incorporate all of these recommendations, you can be ready and confident for the pool in no time. Don't stop when you've reached your goal. These recommendations are appropriate for long-term success.
Lynn Bode is a certified personal trainer specializing in Internet-based fitness
programs. She founded "Workouts For You," which provides affordable on-line exercise programs. Visit WorkoutsForYou.com for a free sample workout. Fitness professionals improve your business, visit:TrainerForce.com.