Supplied image: Virgin Active
You know the saying - 'Summer bodies are made in winter' - it gnaws at you while you're tucking into your hearty stew or biting into a warm scone.
And for many, the reality of the impending summer months comes with the anxiety that, actually, you didn't make your summer body in winter and you have to make a plan - quick.
Take heart, there's still some time to get into shape.

Ceri Hannan, National Product Development Manager at Virgin Active South Africa, believes that “a focused exercise and healthy eating plan” is all that’s required and offers 5 ways to kick-start that routine:



  1. Less time more intensity

Research shows that short, high intensity exercise is much more effective at burning fat than a steady, prolonged workout. If you’re running or cycling then do 30 secs - 1 min high speed sprints with 2-4 minute slower rest periods in between. With weight training, instead of doing 15-20 reps of your usual weights, try increasing the weight you use and bring the repletion range down as well as performing more multi-joint movements such as squats.

 

  1. Focus on your core

Toning your abs is often what takes the most effort and energy because it requires so many reps to tire them out and, ultimately, to strengthen them. When doing squats and lunges place your hands on your hips and do a crunch forward towards your knee on each rep.

 

  1. Eat right and at the right time

Commit to eating meals that consist mostly of lean protein and greens, and make sure to eat at the times when your body really needs energy – in the mornings and after workouts. Being too restrictive in your diet will only tempt you to stray from your healthy eating plan. So try to limit your sugar and alcohol intake rather than unrealistically cutting them out completely.

 

  1. Be active on rest days

Rest days are important, especially when you’re doing high intensity workouts. But, if you want results fast, don’t use them as an excuse to forgo exercise completely. Opt for some foam rolling work and other forms of light exercise like a long walk or an easy yoga session.

 

  1. Work together

Working out with a gym partner, or in a class, will make you feel more accountable and less likely to bail on a session. You can motivate each other and celebrate the milestones together.