If you’re starting to think about getting your body ready for summer, congratulations! You’ve got plenty of time if you follow the right nutrition and exercise plan, and that’s why we’re here today.
But before we dive into what to eat, first, it’s important to note that when you’re working toward something desirable like a slammin’ summer body, it’s going to take some hard work. Think about it for a second: if it were easy, everyone would be rockin’ a beach bod. So it’s important to recognize up front that there will be a bit of work involved, and you might have to get a little uncomfortable to achieve the body you’re dreaming about.
We have broken down our complete summer 8-week workout plan into three easy parts:
Your 8-Week Workout Plan
Summer Workout Plan Step 1: Motivation and Goals
Step 1: Set Goals
Before you pick up your first piece of grilled chicken or your first dumbbell, start by figuring out your goal(s). Do you want to lose weight? Gain weight? How much? What size do you want to be? Be specific.
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And remember, we have an 8-week workout plan to work with, so plan accordingly. Anywhere between 1 and 2 pounds of solid and permanent weight loss per week is reasonable if you are diligent about your plan. This translates to 8 to 16 pounds of body fat gone by summer. Yes, gone.
Step 2: Keep Your Motivation Strong
Without the right motivation, it’s impossible to stay on track. It is tough, if not impossible, to power through a longer term nutrition and exercise program on willpower alone.
With that said, having a few things in place will help you stay the course even when the going gets tough and everyone else is out having a good time. Or when you’re tired and don’t feel like cooking a healthy meal or going to the gym.
What am I alluding to? Having really strong reasons, in writing, why you want to achieve this goal. Because when you’re facing obstacles, you are going to need to be able to refocus on why you’re doing this and why making healthy choices is ultimately worth it.
Take a few minutes to sit down and think about the real reasons you want to flaunt a tight, toned summer body this upcoming season. Dig deep.
Maybe you have an upcoming family get together, a high school reunion, a wedding… or maybe your own wedding? Maybe you just want to be a good example to your kids or even be around longer and able to play ball, run around, or go hiking with them?
Whatever your motivation, put it in writing to reflect upon when you’re faced with hard choices or temptations.
Step 3: Set a Deadline and Progress Points
“Summer bodies are made in winter.”
Take a look at your goal. Let’s say you’ve decided to lose one to two pounds of fat per week. Take a calendar and map out progress points along the way. This will help you make sure you’re staying on track. It may seem like you have a lot of time, but that time will slip by before you know it. Adhering to this easy plan now will help you avoid crash dieting and risk losing valuable muscle, right before that summer beach vacation.
Take this time to set up rewards, too! Listing a reward at every progress point will help keep you motivated as you strive toward hitting that goal. Your rewards don’t have to be big—they could be something like a pedicure or even a massage when you reach your first goal.
Step 4: Record Your Starting Stats
Now that you’ve mapped out your next two months, you’ll want to get a baseline. This is where your starting stats come into play. How will you know how far you’ve come if you don’t document your beginning? As uncomfortable as it may be, it’s important to take your beginning measurements. Include as many stats as you want—the more the better. You can measure and record any of the following:
- Weight— yes, this may be a good time to get on that dreaded scale.
- Body Fat— this is an important measurement because it’s different than just scale weight. (You can use skin-fold calipers or get your body fat measured by a pro.) Some scales will also give you approximate body fat values. The readings are dependent on your level of hydration, so it’s important to always weigh and measure yourself under the same circumstances. For example, every Sunday morning, before drinking your coffee. If you have someone else help you with measurements, try to always use the same person, again at the same time of day. This type of consistency will help ensure the most accurate and reliable readings as you move forward through the next eight weeks.
- Measurements— using a measuring tape is another great way to keep track of progress. Sometimes, when the scale seems to be stuck, you’ll take your measurements and realize you’ve lost inches. Success!
- Photos— another really useful way to track changes is to take before and after photos. Take a front, side, and back photo so you can see the changes as you go along. While your first series of photos may not be all that fun to take or to look at, I guarantee that future photos as you stick to your nutrition and exercise program are going to become more and more thrilling. And, in the end, it will be remarkable to see all your progress. Believe us when we tell you that judging from the experience of many, if you don’t take before pictures, you will absolutely regret it once you get in great shape.
- Clothing— try on a piece of clothing that’s tight on you right now. It will be downright fun later on to try on this same clothing and prove to yourself, without a shadow of a doubt, that you’ve made some serious progress!
Step 5: Ready to Go!
Okay, you’re prepped and ready. You have done all your homework, and you’re set to take the next step. I’ve broken this down for you into a solid nutrition plan that will get you great results in the next couple of months.
Summer Workout Plan Step 2: Nutrition
If you’re not familiar with calorie counts and macronutrients, never fear—I’ve made this easy for you. All you really need to make some great progress in the weight-loss department is a specific form of intermittent fasting called time-restricted feeding (TRF). I know… the word “fasting” sounds downright scary and definitely not fun, but, when you fast in the way we recommend, it’s not a huge adjustment to your daily lifestyle, and you may even start to enjoy it.
TRF is simple and can be very effective for many people. Though it’s worth noting that intermittent fasting is NOT for everyone. For example, pregnant and nursing moms; kids and teenagers; those with issues with foods; as well as those who struggle with blood sugar issues and those who need to physically perform at high levels.
The basic premise is to keep all of your eating within a specified window of time. So, instead of snacking all day long, you take advantage of the fact that when you’re not eating, digesting, and using food for energy, you’re pretty much burning off body fat.
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How does this work?
Try to keep your meals within a 6- to 8-hour period of time. So, if you had your first meal at noon, you’d have a second healthy meal around 3:00 pm and your last meal between 6:00 and 8:00 pm. If you get hungry in between, it’s fine to add a healthy snack. Again, this will allow your body to really focus on burning off body fat, without you having to obsess over calories.
So, what are the “rules” for this kind of diet? They are pretty simple:
- Contain your meals to a specified feeding window of 6 – 8 hours
- Control your carbs (< 40% of total calories)
- Eat meals consisting of a healthy protein source and lots of veggies
- Add a complex carbohydrate to one of your meals daily
- Have 3 meals a day within your feeding window
- Add up to two small healthy snacks if needed
- Ditch the junk food
- Drink a minimum of 8 glasses of water every day
- Avoid artificial sweeteners and processed foods
- Stick to the plan 6 days a week, and …
- Take one day a week off
- Enjoy your easy weight loss
To help remembering the rules, please feel free to save (right-click) or share this image:
What are the portion sizes? For the purpose of making things easy and not having you obsess over counting calories and macronutrients, you can follow these few simple rules:
- Protein—aim for a portion the size of your palm. This should equate to roughly 20 – 30 grams of protein. Choose organic, pasture-raised, and grass-fed options.
- Healthy fats—stick to a portion the size of your thumb. Healthy fats consist of foods like raw nuts, seeds, nut butters, olive oil, avocado, coconut oil, etc.
- Veggies—you have free rein here, so fill up on delicious fibrous veggies like greens, celery, cauliflower, broccoli, and more.
- Smart carbs—these are foods like fruits, sweet potatoes, brown rice, quinoa, and oatmeal. Add these to one meal per day.
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We know plate management can be challenging to understand and remember. That is why we created this image (please feel free to share, print or save).
If you’re a whiz in the kitchen and would like to whip up something delicious, you can get inspiration from the Healthy Recipes shared by our team.
If you have additional questions, and aren’t sure how to proceed, you can always check out our easy-to-follow, foolproof intermittent fasting diet plan.
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With these 5 steps to get your mind and body prepped and ready to go, combined with this easy-to-follow nutrition plan, you’re well on your way to accomplishing your goals of enjoying a leaner, tighter summer bod. Now it’s time to add the final component to the summer workout plan: fitness.
Summer Workout Plan Step 3: Fitness
Time to Commit to Fitness
With summertime just months away, you’re going to have to buckle down to get the most from your workout plan. In order to make serious changes to your body, it’s going to require some work, and that may mean stepping out of your comfort zone. Make no mistake about it, you can get that body that you’re dreaming about; you’re just going to have to commit to doing some hard work to get it.
To avoid the temptation of skipping workouts, use these strategies to stay motivated, on track, and accountable.
- Get a workout partner. When you’re flying solo and there is no place you “have” to be and no one to meet, it can be easy to put workouts on the back burner, or worse, blow them off completely. Don’t let this happen to you and your plan. Get a partner, and you’ll find yourself getting in that workout more often than not. A workout partner can also provide you much needed social support. S/he can help keep you going when things get tough, and when things are going well, s/he can give you the pat on the back you deserve.
- Set appointments for yourself. Schedule your workouts like you would any other important appointment. Write them down in your planner or on your calendar. You’ve committed to making changes, and you are committed to doing what it takes. For that, step number one is showing up.
- Hire a coach. We all need accountability, and a coach or trainer can be the perfect person for the job. When you don’t have to answer to anyone, it’s easy to make excuses. When accountability is in place, however, you get things done; you have to, or you suffer the consequences.
- Set a deadline. One of the worst things for achieving a goal is procrastination. One of the best things is a deadline. When you have a deadline, time is finite, which initiates a sense of urgency. How many times have you nailed a project, job, or task because the impending deadline lit a fire under you?
- Give yourself incentive. When you have a specific date or event toward which you are working, it will be harder and less tempting to skip workouts. Plan on rewarding yourself at the end of the journey with a little something special. This can also work very well alongside the big deadline to help keep you motivated, even when the going gets tough. You can book a photoshoot, go on a beach vacation or celebrate a milestone birthday in style.
Weeks 1 & 2: Get the Body Moving
Depending on your level of fitness, begin by doing 3 – 5 cardio sessions per week. For maximal fat loss over the next eight weeks, work your way up to 5 (or more) cardio workouts per week.
At least 3 days a week, preferably spread throughout the week, do a 20- to 30-minute session of aerobic exercise. Start with a 5- to 10-minute walk to warm up your muscles. Then, choose from one of the following activities or something else that you enjoy:
- Light 20-minute jog
- Group exercise class
- 30-minute bicycle ride
- 30-minute swim
- 30-minute brisk walk
In order to really ramp up your progress and make some real changes in your physique, we’re going to include some weight training in your program. During your first week, aim for 2 full-body workouts, preferably separated by a day of cardio.
You’ll want to work the main large muscle groups (chest, back, and legs) first and follow with the smaller muscles (shoulders, triceps, biceps, abdominals and calves).
Full Body Workout
Do 12-15 repetitions of each exercise, repeat.
Chest, Back and Legs
You can do these on your knees if you’re not able to perform a conventional pushup. Begin in a plank position with your arms positioned straight below you, about shoulder-width apart. Lower your body by bending your elbows while keeping your back and hips in a straight line.
Lat Pulldown—If you have access to gym equipment, you can do these on a machine. You can also substitute with pullups (assisted or unassisted), if you prefer.
Squats—You can do these at the gym with a barbell or simply do bodyweight squats. With your feet about shoulder-width apart, “sit” back until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Return to the standing position by pushing your heels through the floor and squeezing your leg and glute muscles.
Shoulders, Triceps, Biceps, Calves, and Abdominals
Using a machine, an upright bench, or standing, start with your palms facing forward and holding dumbbells at ear height. Press the weight upward at a slight angle so that weights touch together at the top of the movement. Lower back to starting position with a controlled motion and repeat.
Triceps Pushdown—Using a cable system, stand straight, place hands on bar, palms down with your arms parallel to the floor. Press the bar straight down and allow it to come back up to parallel with a controlled movement.
Biceps Curl—With a dumbbell in each hand, palms forward, and your elbows at your side, raise each dumbbell by bending your elbow while keeping it pinned to your side. Lower the weight under control and repeat.
Calves—With a dumbbell in each hand, stand on your toes for a count of 10 and then lower. Repeat 3 times for one full set.
Plank—Hold this position for 20 – 30 seconds.
Weeks 3-5: Time to Push
Ramp up your cardio to 45 minutes at least 3 times a week.
It’s time to split your weight workouts into Upper- and Lower-Body workouts. You’ll still be doing two weight lifting workouts a week, but they will be a little more intense than they were.
Upper Body Workout
Do 10 – 12 repetitions of each exercise, repeat. Since you’re doing fewer repetitions, it’s time to increase the weight!
Chest, Back, Shoulders, Biceps, and Triceps
Lie on your back on a bench with your arms straight out and above you and a dumbbell in each hand. Lower the dumbbells to your chest under control and press back up to the starting position.
Lat Pulldown— If you have access to gym equipment, you can do these on a machine. You can also substitute with pullups (assisted or unassisted), if you prefer.
Shoulder Press— Using a machine, an upright bench, or standing, start with your palms facing forward and holding dumbbells at ear height. Press the weight upward at a slight angle so that weights touch together at the top of the movement. Lower back to starting position with a controlled motion and repeat.
Bicep Curl— With a dumbbell in each hand, palms forward, and your elbows at your side, raise each dumbbell by bending your elbow while keeping it pinned to your side. Lower the weight under control and repeat.
Tricep Pushdown— Using a cable system, stand straight, place hands on bar, palms down with your arms parallel to the floor. Press the bar straight down and allow it to come back up to parallel with a controlled movement.
Lower Body Workout
Do 10 – 12 repetitions of each exercise, repeat. Since you’re doing fewer repetitions, it’s time to increase the weight!
Legs, Abdominals, and Calves
With a dumbbell in each hand, palms facing your body, step forward with your right leg. Bend at the knee with a forward motion until your thigh is parallel to the floor and your leg forms a right angle. Push off through your heel to return to starting position. Repeat with the left leg to complete one repetition. To make things a bit tougher, try lunging on to a slightly elevated surface, such as an aerobic step or a weight plate.
Calves— With a dumbbell in each hand, stand on your toes for a count of 10 and then lower. Repeat 3 times for one full set.
Crunches— Lie on the floor on your back with your knees bent. With your arms lightly touching the sides of your head, raise your upper body toward the ceiling and hold for a count of three. Return to start and repeat.
Plank— Hold this position for 30-60 seconds.
Weeks 6-8: HIIT it Hard
Now it’s time for the final push. Instead of 45 minutes of traditional cardio, these last few weeks you’re really going to push the envelope with 3 high-intensity interval training (HIIT) workouts.
Basically, the premise of this quick, yet highly effective workout is that you’ll be doing 30 seconds of all-out effort followed by 90 seconds of “rest.”
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After a 2-minute warm up walk, run for 30 seconds, followed by a 90-second walk. Repeat this sequence 8 times and finish with a 2-minute cool down walk. If running is not your cup of tea, you can perform HIIT on a bicycle, stair stepping machine, or rowing machine.
Continue to split your weight workouts into Upper- and Lower-Body workouts. You’ll be lifting weight 3 days a week, and you’ll follow an every-other-day split. You’ll do the same workouts you did last week. When you’re able to perform 12 reps on an exercise, make sure you bump up the weight. Your weekly routine will look like this, and again, it’s a good idea to take a day off between weight workouts:
Your 8-Week Workout Plan is Complete
And, there you have it. Your Summer Body Workout Plan completely laid out for you. Now, all you have to commit to it, get started, stick to it, and give it your best effort, and you’ll be well on your way to that lean, toned, shapely summer body that you desire!
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