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Get fit this summer with these 15 tips

02 November, 2015

The mad fitness rush in the weeks leading up to summer is often focussed on women eager to achieve a “bikini bod”, but women are not alone in their quest to look beach-ready. Many men too have a desire to look their best come the summer months. With that in mind, we’ve come up with some tips for getting fit in time for this summer. It’s set to be a hot one!

Top 15 tips to keeping your body strong and fit

  1. Keep muscles limber

    The older you get, the less pliable your muscles become, so ensure you are holding your stretches long enough before and after higher intensity exercise. If you’re under 40, hold your stretches for at least 30 seconds. If you’re over 40, hold them for 45 seconds. Better flexibility can improve your performance in the gym, decrease your risk of injuries, and will enable your muscles to work most effectively. You should also stretch muscles between exercises (as well as before and after your workout).

  2. Less is more

    When weight training, keep your workouts under one hour. After 60 minutes, your body starts producing more of the stress-hormone cortisol, which can have a testosterone-blocking, muscle-wasting effect. To build muscle and get stronger, you want to hit the gym hard and fast to stimulate muscle growth and strength gain, then get out.

  3. Focus on your core

    To effectively strengthen your core, do exercises that cause your body to become unstable. Once your core stability is improved, the benefits translate into every aspect of your workouts. A strong core improves sports performance, posture, prevents lower back pain, promotes better breathing, and is the key to a slimmer waistline. Remember to treat your abs as you would any other muscle, and ensure you give them adequate rest time.  

  4. Exercise in order

    Use bodyweight exercises, dumbbells, barbells and machines - in that order. The smaller, stabiliser muscles in your body fatigue before your larger muscle groups, so make sure you work your way up to the bigger machines instead of using them early on. Exercise order is a key part of your workout routine, as is the number of muscles worked.

  5. Exercise no matter how much time you have

    Instead of using the excuse, “I don’t have time today”, schedule your workout time and stick to it. Even if you’ve only got 10 minutes to exercise, something is better than nothing. And often you will work yourself the hardest when you’re pushed for time.

  6. Train to failure

    If you’re a beginner in the gym and want to build muscle, speak with a trainer at your gym about ‘training to failure’. This means training until the point at which you cannot possibly do another repetition – and then follow this with a protein shake. The objective is to induce the maximum muscle growth by pumping large volumes of blood to the area. Train this way for 8 weeks (it will be tough) and you’ll see unbeatable results. Keeping it going too long could possibly exhaust your nervous system and interrupt recovery, so after the eight week period, choose just two exercises per day to repeat until failure. The others should be focused on the right technique and control. Always seek the advice of a professional before embarking on this type of training.

  7. Increase gain and cut the pain by counting down

    Instead of counting reps upwards, swap to start counting down. This way you will focus on how many you have left to do, rather than how many you’ve already done. Each time, try to start at a number higher than the last time.

  8. Repair muscle faster

    Recover faster from a hard workout by lightly exercising the same muscles the following day. Use a light weight (about 20% of the weight you lifted the day before) and do two sets of 25 repetitions. This will deliver more blood and nutrients into your muscles to help them repair faster.

  9. Eat plenty of meat and fish

    Meat is packed with protein, but a cut of lean beef or a can of tuna offers more than just macronutrients. Think of them as muscle-building multivitamins! Research has shown that protein is an essential nutrient for everyone and not just athletes, but without protein athletes will suffer more from fatigue and lack of muscle repair so it’s important that as an athlete you keep your protein levels up.

  10. Work opposing muscle groups

    Super-setting’ opposing muscle groups is a great training boost. A ‘superset’ is the alternating back and forth between two or more exercises until the prescribed number of sets is complete, usually with no rest between exercises. Opposing muscles include: biceps and triceps, quadriceps and hamstrings, and abdominals and back. While one muscle is contracting, the opposing muscle is lengthening.

  11. Eat well

    Ask any personal trainer and, regardless of your training goals, they will tell you that healthy eating is the backbone to achieving them. Food is what fuels your body, and without proper nutrition you’re likely to stall in your results. A healthy diet should consist of a balance of fruits, vegetables, complex carbohydrates, complete proteins, and fats such as fish oils and flaxseeds. Aim to eat five times a day, every three hours, and pay attention to portion size.

  12. Watch your cardio

    If your goal is to lose weight, keeping up with regular cardio is important. If, however, your goal is to build muscle mass, then too much cardio will have you burning too many calories, contradicting your weight training. During times of mass building, keep cardio to a light jog a few days a week.CBHS_2b


  13. Maintain form

    If you’re new to an exercise, don’t just presume you are doing it right because you saw another guy doing it in the gym beside you. Without videotaping yourself, knowing you have the correct form is hard. Performing something wrong over and over becomes a learnt practice that’s hard to undo, so ensure your form is right the first time. Lifting is technical, and not only can the wrong form produce insufficient results, it can run the risk of long-term injury.

  14. Get inspired

    If you have a solid reason to work out, you will probably push yourself all the harder at the gym - so give yourself a reason! If it’s to acquire your summer body fast, hang a picture up of your ideal summer body, set a reminder on your phone or start reading other’s success stories.

  15. Concentrate on one goal at a time

    If you’re trying to gain muscle as well as lose fat, you won’t do either effectively if you’re trying to do both in the same workout. If you’ve been sedentary for some time, your best bet is to try to lose the fat first, then add muscle.  Don’t worry if your body weight increases during this stage – muscle is heavier than fat, so this may happen.

Haven’t started working out yet and worried you’ve left it too late?

Why not take part in the Summer Body Project, which will guide you through eight weeks of workout planning, diet and exercise. The project is unique in that it was a raw program designed by real people who have all experienced being “too skinny”, “too fat”, unmotivated, too busy and unsure where to start. It’s simple, straight-forward, easy to follow, and will help any man trying to get fit in time for summer - no matter what your goal is.

All information in this article is intended for general information purposes only. Information should not be considered medical advice and is in no way intended to replace a consultation with a qualified medical practitioner. CBHS endeavours to provide independent and complete information, and content may include information regarding services, products and procedures not covered by CBHS Health Cover policies. For full terms, click here.

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