Getting your Body Ready for Summer: The Ultimate Upper Body Guide.
Living in Australia, we all know what the Christmas holidays mean – lots of good food, fantastic weather and long days enjoying summer. But, the summer months can be a source of concern for many people, especially when it comes to our ‘summer body’.
Your summer body may be how you look every day, or it may be after you’ve toned up some areas. Regardless, we want to help you feel comfortable in your skin and happy about how you look. Remember, it’s about how you feel not about what anyone else thinks.
For example, the “tuck-shop arms” or “muffin tops” are standard problem areas that some people face after a long winter. But don’t let that get you down! Here at Live Life Get Active we know how difficult it can seem to start losing those unwanted kilos, but we’re not going to let that stop you from enjoying yourself in the silly season.
We have a few great tips for people wanting to get their body right for summer that you can read below!
Starting your weight loss journey.
Losing weight is never going to be an overnight transformation. It takes time, motivation and a willingness to keep going through the ups and the downs. However, at Live Life Get Active, we want to give you the greatest possible chance at having your best-ever summer body.
A great way to do this is by training your upper body – strength training has been shown to be much better for losing fat than aerobic activity such as walking or running. However, we know how expensive and intimidating popular gyms can be.
Lots of confusing machines and weights with long wait times and no room to breathe – doesn’t really inspire a lot of confidence, does it? Luckily, there are lots of other ways to train your upper body without the hassle and personal expense.
Tone your arms with these 6 easy exercises
Combining your daily walk or physical activity with a short upper body circuit or body weight exercises. Body weight exercises do not require any equipment, and if you know of a space in the local park (or even a park bench), you have your gym!
In many households, there is everything you need for a gym program without paying large amounts for free weights. Some ideas for creative upper body programs.
- Filling up two 2L milk bottles with water and using them as weights for arm curls or a shoulder press.
- Having a milk crate for tricep dips or incline push-ups instead of a park bench.
- Putting your groceries away (yes! This definitely counts as strength training, especially if you need to reach into the top shelf)
Whether these are normal or modified push-ups (pictured below), push-ups are an awesome way to tone up your shoulders, back and arms. 2 sets of 8-10 push-ups is a great starting point to begin increasing strength and losing weight. Just remember though, the more repetitions you do, the greater the weight loss benefits – 3 sets of 15-20 push-ups is the ultimate goal.
This is where the park bench comes in handy! Tricep dips engage the triceps, which are the muscles at the back of your arm. More toned triceps means less fat and drooping skin on the bottom part of the arm, and you know what that means!
Not only that, but they stabilize the shoulder and back muscles, making them more efficient and making walking and other normal activities easier to complete. Similar to push-ups, you should be aiming to do as many reps as possible, but starting at 2 sets of 8-10. Even if you don’t have a bench, these can be done with your hands flat on the floor.
While often thought of as a core exercise (which it is!), the plank can be modified to incorporate the shoulder and back muscles. In plank position, moving your hands further away from and closer to your shoulders works your shoulder, while a single arm plank increases the load on the back even further.
You should aim for holding these planks 2/3 times for 45 seconds – 1 minute each, but as a starting point three 20 second holds will also work your shoulders, arms and back really well.
An example of a normal plank (A), a shoulder stabiliser modification (B) and forward hands plank (below)
A short circuit in the middle of your morning walk could look something like this:
- 10 push-ups
- 10 tricep dips
- 30-second plank hold
Repeat 3 times, with different plank exercises after each set. Have a 1 min break in between each set, and this should take no longer than 8-10 minutes. After this, slowly build up the reps, and gradually include other exercises and more sets.
For more information, watch this video on some fantastic bodyweight exercises to do.
There’s also plenty more you can do:
This means controlling our portion sizes, and listening to our body when we don’t want any more food. It’s amazing how much of an impact eating the right foods make to our overall mood, as well as our physical weight loss journey.
This doesn’t mean any crash diets, but focusing on getting a good balance of vegetables, proteins, carbohydrates and healthy fats, as well as staying hydrated throughout the hot days! Here’s our 7 things to avoid when trying to lose weight.
We know how difficult it can be around the silly season, but having too many ‘comfort foods’ and drinks can lead to unwanted weight gain. Too much alcohol, in particular, stays in our system, tricking our body into creating fat that stays in our body and doesn’t get broken down.
Have a fitness plan.
Making sure you have an idea of the exercises you want to complete each day, so you have a structure to your workout is a great way to stay motivated. Following one of our workout plans or joining one of our circuit or boxing classes can help with boredom and not knowing what to train, giving you the best possible chance of reaching your weight goals.
We know how difficult it can be to know where to start with strength training, especially without access to gyms and other expensive equipment. Hopefully, with some of these beginner exercises, you can be on your way to your ideal summer body, losing weight off your arms, shoulders and back in the process
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