Summer countdown: get fit & tone up

Today, I’m going to share three do’s and three don’ts to help you reach your body beautiful goals. Let’s start by setting some realistic expectations. With the summer months fast approaching, many people feel pressured to shift extra pounds quickly. Unfortunately, many people also then become despondent because extra weight doesn’t magically disappear as fast as they would want. The ‘get thin quick’ frenzy is often started with great intentions, but if it isn’t accompanied by realistic goals then it doesn’t have much chance of success.

As a personal trainer this ‘get thin quick’ frenzy brings mixed emotions.  Part of me is excited to help people jump on the path to a healthy, active lifestyle. The other part of me feels concern about how misunderstood nutrition and fitness are by the general population. I hate to see people begin a new routine with enthusiasm only to abandon it before they see results, so let’s make sure everyone understands what an achievable ‘get thin quick’ plan could look like.

Everyone should feel body confident and with  weeks until summer there is plenty of time for you to make a few lifestyle changes that will deliver visible results. Let me help you by giving you three simple do’s and don’ts to help you start achieving your summer fitness goals.

DO start now

There is no better time than today to get started with a positive approach to fitness and nutrition. Of course, you need to check with your medical provider to ensure you are healthy once you get the all clear, you should get started immediately because wishing and daydreaming about having a perfect body in time for summer isn’t going to get you any closer to your goal! A simple walk or bike ride is a perfect place to start. And then make sure you’re at least a little bit active the next day and the day after next too.

DO take a slow and progressive approach

Jumping into a fitness routine that is too difficult may achieve two things; you may either quit because your body is sore from the sudden increase in activity or you could sustain an injury that derails your carefully laid fitness plans. So, take it one day at a time and choose activities that you enjoy.

Aiming to complete at least 30 minutes of activity each day is a great starting point and the great news is that almost every exercise can be modified to fit your current fitness level.

DO set realistic goals and develop a long-term plan

If you want to get thin and show off ‘6 pack abs’ by summer then you need to already have a reasonably low body-fat percentage. Starting a consistent exercise routine will help you firm up all over and work towards a ‘6 pack’ one day even if you don’t manage washboard abs by this June!

Setting an achievable goal will help you stick with your fitness plan, so work towards bringing your body fat down by a percentage point or two and then keep up momentum.  And remember; feeling active and healthy is a far more satisfying goal than just aiming for a tummy that ripples with muscles.

I believe that the key to success with fitness is making exercise fun and achievable.  It’s also important to avoid the pitfall of doing too much too soon so let’s look at my top three don’ts that could block your summer body success:

DON’T opt for a radical diet or crazed fitness routine

The promise of rapid weight-loss and an incredibly toned physique will tempt many people to try an extreme diet or go from the couch straight into a high-impact fitness routine. In my opinion, this approach is one of the main causes of the yo-yo effect in diet and exercise and often leads to weight-gain rather than weight-loss.

People may experience initial rapid weight-loss but because they can’t possibly sustain extreme plans for a prolonged period, many people find themselves overeating and slumping back on the couch in a short amount of time.

DON’T weigh yourself every day

Weight alone is not a true indicator of a successful training program. Jumping on the scale too often may make you feel disappointed and tempted to quit. Instead of focusing on exact weight-loss, consider measuring other success factors.  It’s often rewarding to aim for improved heart rate at a set intensity level or increased strength – judged by lifting an increased amount of weight. Measuring body fat and body measurements such as waist, hip and arm inches may provide you with a little extra motivation that your hard work really is paying off.

DON’T workout without a plan

If you are setting your own workouts without the help of a trainer, you should still attempt to make a fitness plan. In order for your body to change, your workout must change too as you adapt to your new increased activity. In simple terms: as you get fitter and your workout seems easier, you should increase your intensity or duration as this will push your body to improve. This approach follows the simple principle of adaptation and a fitness journal will help you track your progress.

Nutritional support for the 24-hour athlete


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Get your heart fit

Lifestyle Focus

To my delight, I see that the media is moving away from promoting traditional, restrictive diets and quick-fix exercise programs. Instead, they are embracing the idea of overall wellness and healthy lifestyle plans. I love that the focus is shifting towards the big picture of healthy aging and simple functional fitness, with old school, time-tested exercises and activities that involve the entire family. This approach, in my opinion, helps people to maintain a healthy body composition long term.

Fusion Fitness

Many trainers know that a well-rounded fitness plan that includes elements of cardiovascular fitness, strength training, endurance and flexibility is the key to getting great results. It will be exciting to see how fitness professionals combine these elements into fun programs going forward. In the recent past, there were lots of new “fusion” style classes and programs being developed that combined multiple elements of fitness programming into 20-45 minute classes––such as yoga-strength, Pilates-yoga, cardio with strength, cycling with yoga, etc. The currently popular combo of two formats (Pilates + Boxing = Pillowing) may well expand to three or more combined formats. However it shapes up, this fusion approach is exciting and sure to continue into the New Year.

Practical Approach

The back-to-basics of functional body weight training has helped many people get into great shape this year. The introduction of High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) style workouts have been a huge success for people who have a busy schedule, and need to maximize their workout time with little or no equipment. The idea of simple, back-to-basics fitness routines will continue, as these workouts can be done almost anywhere in a short amount of time.

Race Crazy

Races such as community 5k’s, mud runs, obstacle course races and triathlons will continue to attract new fitness enthusiasts in the New Year. These events are becoming more affordable, and many come with no-fee preparation groups to help you train for your next event. Signing up for a race is a great way to help you stay dedicated and motivated towards improving your fitness level.

Online Fitness

For most people, gone are the days of heading to the gym for an hour, three days a week and working out a different muscle group. Life is just too busy and people don’t have the patience for such time commitments. The average exerciser wants to spend a short amount of time and maximize their efforts with high intensity bouts on most days of the week. People are starting to place their focus on a daily routine of 20-30 minutes.

Regardless of the fitness trend you choose to follow in the New Year, understand that the best health and wellness results come from combining your exercise routine with a balanced nutrition plan. Set new exercise goals for the future and get into the best shape ever.

Stay on top of your heart


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