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Sculpt your body for summer in four weeks

4 MIN READ • 28th September 2022

The arrival of hotter days can only mean one thing – it’s time to sculpt your body and tone up. But your lean body routine needn’t seem like a second job. You can get fit in just four weeks if you’re prepared to work hard

Hello, summer! The arrival of hotter days can only mean one thing – it’s time to sculpt your body and tone up. But your lean body routine needn’t seem like a second job. You can get fit in just four weeks if you’re prepared to work hard. “If you do anything intensely enough, heavy enough and fast enough, you’re going to see some serious results,” says Dyl Salamon, personal trainer at Gym Box Covent Garden (@strong.i.am; strongiam.com ). “The harder you exercise, the more calories you burn.” Sounds tough but good, doesn’t it? So, if you’ve been hitting the gym all year and want to speed up results, here’s how to do it.

Your summer body sculpting workouts

To shape your body from head to toe this summer, you need a smart combination of the fitness essentials – cardiovascular exercise, to break down sugar and burn fat; strength work, to build muscle definition, and stretching sessions to keep you injury-free. But not all of the fitness essentials were created equal, and some methods are more effective than others. We spoke to the experts to find out what you should do in the gym for maximum results.

STRENGTH WORK

Don’t be afraid to lift heavy weights. “Lifting heavy weights won’t make you bulky,” says Salamon. “It will put you on the path to burning fat and sculpting feminine curves!” Before attempting to go heavy, build a strength base by lifting light-to-moderate weights for several months. These methods are not for the faint-hearted!

PHA (PERIPHERAL HEART ACTION) TRAINING

Salamon notes that the best way to burn fat while building muscle is to create a huge demand for oxygen in your lower and then upper body muscles. This forces the heart to work hard to pump blood (and oxygen) to your extremities. This is the basis of PHA training and it can be achieved by doing a circuit of four to eight resistance exercises that are split into a lower body move, a core move, an upper body push move and an upper body pull move. Choose heavy weights that will be tough to lift but won’t cause muscle failure. Try Salamon’s circuit below.
Do 10 reps of any of the following. Complete as many sets as possible in 45 minutes.

LOWER BODY

Squats
Lunges
Box jumps

CORE

Sit ups
Reverse crunches
Medicine ball twists

UPPER BODY PUSH

Push ups
Dumbbell shoulder press
Lateral raises

UPPER BODY PULL

Pull ups
Bent over row
Reverse flys

GVT (GERMAN VOLUME TRAINING)

Fact: the more muscle you have, the more calories you’ll burn every second. The hormone testosterone is responsible for creating muscle mass but women don’t have a lot of it. According to Salamon, heavy multi-joint moves performed at a slow tempo will maximise your muscle gains. GVT involves doing a multi-joint move with a heavy weight (think: 60 percent of what you can lift for one rep) for 10 sets of 10 reps. Aim to lift the weight for a count of two seconds and lower the weight for a count of three seconds. Try the workout below to help sculpt your body for summer.

BARBELL SQUAT

REPS : 10
SETS: 10

DEADLIFT

REPS : 10
SETS: 10

LATERAL RAISES

REPS : 10
SETS: 10

BENCH PRESS

REPS : 10
SETS: 10

CARDIO EXERCISE

Cardiovascular exercise is a great addition to any training plan. It keeps your heart and lungs in tip-top shape, while burning oodles of energy and, in turn, calories. You’re not short of options when it comes to doing cardio – hit the roads for a run, go to a cycling class, try a bootcamp or swim some laps in a pool – but our favourite ways to drop pounds are these:

HIIT (HIGH INTENSITY INTERVAL TRAINING)

Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, you’ll have heard of HIIT workouts by now. “HIIT is a great training method for fat loss,” explains Kelsie Brownlie, personal trainer at Pure Gym Stoke North. “It involves alternating between periods of short, intense anaerobic exercise and spurts of less-intense activity.” This powerful combo recruits fast-twitch muscle fibres, which use up lots of fuel and burn oodles of calories. You’ll even continue to burn energy after you finish your workout. Wow. Try this session:

TABATA WORKOUT

Perform any high intensity exercise (think: shuttle sprints, jump squats, burpees, tuck jumps, skipping) for 20 seconds. Rest for 10 seconds only. Repeat for eight rounds. Then choose a new exercise and do another eight rounds. Complete as many rounds as possible in 15-20 minutes.

LONG SLOW DISTANCE (LSD)

Get ready to relax (well, sort of)! Long distance cardiovascular exercise performed at an easy intensity is a great way to improve your aerobic fitness. It enhances muscular endurance and builds a good foundation for harder, shorter workouts. Choose any activity – running, cycling, rowing, swimming – and do it slowly for a long period of time. Easy.

STRETCHING SESSIONS

Don’t forget to stretch your limbs! Two or three stretching sessions a week will improve your range of motion and decrease your risk of injury, so it’s an important part of any training plan. Yoga classes are great for boosting flexibility, as are other stretch-based workouts. If you want to keep it short and sweet, tag a few static stretches on to the end of your gym workout. After all, flexibility exercises work best when the muscles are warm.

YOUR DIET

Following a smart diet to help sculpt your body for summer doesn’t mean food deprivation. Follow these tips from nutritionist Kim Pearson for dieting success.

GO GREEN

Green tea increases metabolic rate and helps burn calories. It can be enjoyed cold, so make a pitcher, add slices of lemon and keep the fridge.

EAT CLEAN

Instead of crash dieting, eat well. A diet rich in fresh and natural foods is the best way to achieve a beach body that will last summer after summer. Drink plenty of pure water and avoid processed foods.

GET HOT

Chilli peppers contain capsaicin, which is known for its metabolism-boosting effects. This means it speeds up the rate at which your body burns calories. Add chillies to stir fries and soups

. PUT IT ALL TOGETHER!

Ready to up the ante of your exercise plan? Try our four-week workout challenge to sculpt your whole body for summer.

WEEK 1
Monday
45 mins S/W
10 mins S/S
Tuesday
15 mins HIIT
Wednesday
Rest
Thursday

45 mins S/W
10 mins S/S
Friday
15 mins HIIT
Saturday
Rest
Sunday
30 mins LSD
10 mins S/S

WEEK 2

Monday
45 mins S/W
10 mins S/S
Tuesday
15 mins HIIT
Wednesday
Rest
Thursday
45 mins S/W
10 mins S/S
Friday
15 mins HIIT
Saturday
Rest
Sunday
30 mins LSD
10 mins S/S

DECODE IT!

S/W – Strength Work.

Squat, push and pull your way to a sleeker physique. Choose from the strength methods outlined above or do your own full-body routine.

HIIT – High Intensity Interval Training.

Sweat like a pig; look like a fox! Choose to do the HIIT routine outlined above or try a high intensity class like boxing, indoor cycling, Insanity or Tabata.

LSD – Long Slow Distance.
Increase your stamina with some steady cardio. Choose to do your favourite cardio activity, whether that’s treadmill running or cycling with friends.

S/S – Stretching Session.

Stretch in the gym or hit a yoga class – do anything that improves your range of motion and eases muscle tightness.

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