After New Year, people tend to stick to a pretty rigid fitness regime for around 3-4 weeks. However, once regular life starts settling in and we don’t feel so guilty about gorging throughout the Christmas period, our normal routine resumes.
This means that by the time we see summer on the horizon, we’re a lot further behind our goals than we’d like to be. Although we spend days upon days dreaming about lazing about in the sunshine, summer just seems to constantly creep up on us.
So, what’s the next step? Crash dieting, crazy workouts, and a large amount of depriving ourselves from things we enjoy. Yet, in actuality, the best idea is not to work harder, but to work smarter. It’s all well and good putting in loads of effort, but if you don’t have the right tools, then you’ll just end up spinning your wheels.
Now, we can’t discuss body composition without addressing the factors that influence it. Of course, exercise is a large contributing factor, and many people seem to think that they can easily outrun a bad diet, but that’s not the case. It’s a lot easier to not eat the calories in the first place than it is to try and burn them off later, so if you want the best results from your program, then you need to take into account what you’re eating as much as what you’re doing in the gym.
Two other large factors that people often neglect are sleep and stress. Sleep is the time our body dedicates to rest and recovery, so if this time is impeded, then your body isn’t going to be able to perform at its best. This also means that you’re not going to get the best results. Stress is similar as it can make you feel drained and tired as well as increasing cortisol which can cause a catabolic state, essentially causing less muscle and more fat. So, aim to get to bed around 10pm every night as an hour of sleeping before midnight is worth two hours after. As well as this, make sure to manage your stress levels using relaxation methods such as meditation and organising your time wisely.
Obviously, the ideal summer body depends on the person and isn’t a universally agreeable term. Some men want a ripped, toned physique whilst others are happier being a little chunkier if they look bigger and stronger. On the other hand, some women prefer a slimmer frame whilst others want large, muscular legs and a well-built upper body. Because of this, many people seem to think that they need to do different exercises when the truth is more about how you perform the exercises. The best exercises are still the best exercises, but the reps, sets, rest time, and tempos might change. As well as this, the amount of volume you do will also depend on the areas you want to emphasise. If you want larger shoulders, then there’s no point doing endless reps of barbell curls despite how good of an exercise it is. Prioritize the areas you want to build upon by placing them at the start of your session and doing more reps and sets.
When it comes to trying to lose fat for summer, the most amount of progress will be made with your diet whilst training should focus purely on growth in terms of size and strength. Becoming stronger allows for you to handle a heavier weight when doing more reps, causing a greater stimulus in the muscle and aiding with growth. Strength sets should predominantly be used for compound movements (movements that involve more than one joint) whilst volume work can be saved for the latter half of the session where your CNS is more fatigued. Aim for 4-8 reps for your strength sets and 10-20 reps for your volume work.
There’s a large amount of conflicting information on the internet in regards to what the best summer exercises are which can leave you confused and annoyed. However, the exercises below have all be hand-picked based upon their efficiency and effectiveness. These really are the best of the best, and if you don’t believe that, then you just need to try them for yourself. Once you’ve selected the exercises that are right for you, you have all the tools you need to sculpt your body in time for summer. All that’s left now is to stay consistent and dedicated to the process. Remember, results that are worth having aren’t made over night, so be patient and stick with it, and by the time that’s summer’s rolled around, you’ll have a body that you can be proud of.