If you're worried that a winter of inactivity has left you not quite beach ready, there's still time to tone up for summer. Steve Leamont, author of MUSCLES IN MINUTES (Hatherleigh Press, $15.95) has the following tips for anyone who wants to look their best hitting the waves or the pool this summer:
SET REASONABLE, ATTAINABLE GOALS.
Goals provide a roadmap that you will follow in your pursuit of increased muscle mass or physical conditioning. When planning a goal, write it down. Being able to view your goal helps you understand the best way to attain it. Be positive and focus mentally on each aspect of your training, from mental training to diet, cardio, flexibility, and strength training.
DON'T STARVE YOURSELF!
Be sure to eat at least 1.2 grams of protein for every pound you weigh. Eat at least 6 to 8 small protein based meals a day and drink 8 to 12 glasses of water. Choose low glycemic carbohydrates and be sure to take in essential fatty acids and the recommended daily allowance of vitamins and minerals. Eating right will give you the energy you need for long days of swimming and beach volleyball.
INCLUDE CARDIO, BUT DON'T OVERDO IT!
Whether your aim is to shed some pounds or gain muscle mass, make cardio a part of your fitness program. But be careful not to go overboard. Losing weight too quickly can compromise the muscle gains you have made, because it may prompt your body to protect itself by retaining its fat stores. You may lose the weight, but a high percentage will be muscle and not fat. So if you're trying to become lean and hold muscle mass, begin your cardio and diet months in advance of the summer season.
FOR THE BEST RESULTS, DON'T FORGET NEGATIVE TRAINING!
In weight training, negative training takes place when the muscle is being lengthened, in the negative phase of a rep. This is the strongest of all muscle contractions, and must be slow and controlled throughout the complete range of motion.
ALWAYS STRETCH BEFORE A WORKOUT, BUT MAKE SURE TO DO IT RIGHT!
Stretching is important, but must be done properly to avoid injury! Each stretch must involve only one joint, and you should never feel any discomfort in the joints or ligaments. Do not time your stretches - hold them until you no longer feel tension. Be aware of your posture both inside and outside the gym. Good posture can help you to do exercises correctly in the gym and look great outside the gym.
FIND A WORKOUT PARTNER WITH SIMILAR GOALS TO YOUR OWN.
It is always best to have a workout partner with similar goals to your own. Your workout partner can support you mentally and provide proper spotting, which is absolutely necessary in making progress and avoiding injuries.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Steve Leamont, a personal trainer with more than 15 years of experience, has trained with several bodybuilding champions. Because of his insider status, Steve was able to challenge the status quo, and eventually disproved much of what many bodybuilders once considered to be fact. After years of studying exercise, Steve pioneered the revolutionary technique presented in his new book, MUSCLES IN MINUTES. Steve lives and trains in Windsor, Ontario, Canada.