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It’s summertime once again and we’re sure just about everyone’s getting ready (and pumped up, to say the least!) for their much-awaited beach escapades. We live in a country where there are more than seven thousand islands in it so why not take advantage of them this season, right?
However, we’re also pretty sure that many are still trying to figure out how to lose weight fast in time for summer. What with all the binge-eating we did last Christmas season and maybe even after, it’s really not that surprising that most of us gained a bit of weight. With your planned beach getaway fast approaching, you’re probably thinking of ways to lose at least a few pounds as quickly as possible without consuming most of your free time, not to mention having to spend ridiculous amounts of your hard-earned money for those overpriced gym memberships.
Good thing, though, there are actually affordable and realistic ways to get fit and healthy before hitting the beach. Of course, it all starts with eating the right food. And by “right,” it doesn’t necessarily mean less, but eating in decent sizes and choosing the healthier options.
Do cardio exercises
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First up, let’s talk about one of the most important exercises when it comes to weight loss. Cardio exercise is basically all about raising your heart rate to a target heart rate zone where you can burn the most fats and calories. Aside from weight loss, benefits include making your heart and lungs stronger, building up your endurance. Think of it as an exercise that will help you last longer if you suddenly decide to go mountain biking around Boracay with your friends.
- Jumping jacks – start by standing with your legs straight and your arms at your side. Jump up parting your legs while swinging both your arms overhead. Jump up again and return to starting position. Do this in two sets of 10 to 20 repetitions (for beginners) and work your way up to as many as 150 to 200 (for more intensity) as you get the hang of it.
- Jump ropes – if this is your first time doing this, it actually requires a bit of practice to get the timing and rhythm down. Also, proper hand positioning and bounds are essential so that you’ll be able to get the full benefits of jumping rope. Try the basic jumps first and work your way up to different, more challenging variations.
- Jogging in place – the name pretty much sums up what this cardio is all about. Just make sure that you start with a light jog to warm up and don’t forget to move your arms as well. You can level up the intensity by lifting your legs higher and increasing the tempo as well. For quick results, do this for at least 10 minutes every other day.
Work on your abs and core muscles
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While cardio is all about strengthening your heart and lungs, working out your abs and core helps you achieve a stronger and sturdier foundation to better balance, posture, and an overall strong body. These abs and core workouts are perfect for condo living as they don’t require too much space. Note that you can perform these exercises for one minute with 30-second rest intervals. You can also intensify these by doing them longer with more reps.
- Crunches – to start, lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet planted firmly on the ground and hip-wide apart. Place your hands underneath your head, using them to support the weight of your head. Slowly lift your head, neck, and shoulders off the floor, hold that position for at least 3 seconds, then slowly go back down to original position. Make sure those abdominal muscles are pulled in while you do this for better results. Never use your hands to help you pull up your head to avoid straining your neck. Also, make sure to do the steps slowly as you feel your abdominal muscles contract to make this exercise more effective. Do this in 12 reps for starters then gradually do more as you get more comfortable with it.
- Push-ups – start with face-down, prone position on the floor. Plant both palms firmly on the ground with your hands approximately shoulder-width apart. Lift your body using your arms slowly then return to starting position. Do it in 3 sets of 10 reps for starters then work your way up to more repetitions as you continue building your strength.
- Planks – start by lying face down like in a push-up position. Make sure that your palms and feet are planted firmly on the ground and your back and head are straight. Push your body up with your arms and hold that position for 20 seconds then go back to starting position. Repeat at least three times a day. For quicker results, you can try out different variations and hold the planking position longer.
Build up your upper body
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As the name suggests, upper body exercises are going to be about strengthening your upper body muscle groups such as your shoulders, triceps, and biceps. Upper body exercises are not just about making your shoulders and arms look ripped, these will also allow you to lift heavier things longer.
- Burpees – your starting position is standing up with your feet about a foot apart and your hands relaxed to your sides. Lower your body into a squat and place your hands on the floor directly in front of you. Then jump your feet back for you to assume the planking position. Return to the previous position then jump up to the air with your hands reaching overhead. Return to starting position as you land back to the ground. This is going to be a bit challenging, especially for those who don’t really have an active lifestyle so you can just start off with just 5, then 10, until you reach 15 reps to complete one set.
- Tricep dips – you can do this exercise on the floor or with a chair/bench. Wherever you want to do it, the key to it is proper arm position; meaning, your hands should always be shoulder-width apart on the surface you are dipping from, with your arms straight. Start by bending your elbows slowly until your arms reach a 90-degree angle. Then return to the original position. Do 3 sets of 8 to 10 reps, depending on the intensity you prefer.
- Scapular Wall hold – Start with your back against the wall and your feet about six inches away. Bend your arms and push your elbows back against the wall. With your body in a nice straight line, drive off the wall with your elbows, push your chest out and squeeze and engage your shoulder blades and back. Engage your core as well and squeeze your glutes to make your body move in one motion. This workout is perfect if you’re someone who works from home.
- Row push-ups – Your starting position for a row push-up, should be the same as a push up after you’ve raised your chest from the floor. With your feet hip-width apart and your hands outside your chest (beginners can do this from their knees). Then perform a push-up, lowering your chest to the ground as your body moves as one unit. Once you’ve raised your body from the ground again, row one arm up raising it from the floor making sure to keep it tight to your body and engage your back. Lower the arm again and perform another push-up and raise your other hand this time to complete 1 rep. Do 3 sets of 8 to 10 reps, but you can reduce this depending on your strength level.
Strengthen your lower body
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- Squats – start with standing up with your feet slightly wider than your hips. Put your arms straight out right in front of your face, parallel to the ground while keeping your back straight. Breathe in then slowly bend your knees while pushing your butt back. Squat down as low as you can or until your hips are lower than your knees. Make sure that you keep your knees in line with your feet while you assume a squatting position. Try to stay in squatting position as long as you can then pull yourself back up to return to the original position. Do 3 sets of 10 to 15 reps every day for quick results.
- Lunges – start in a standing relaxed position with your feet hip-width apart. While keeping your head and back straight, take a big step forward using your right foot, hold this position for a bit, then push yourself back up to your starting position using your right foot. Repeat steps on your left foot. For beginners, do at least 15 lunges per leg then work your way up to 50 lunges per day.
- Bridges – lie down on your back with your knees bent while keeping your arms to your side. Start the move by lifting your hips up and make sure to squeeze your butt. Hold the bridge position for at least five seconds then return to the original position. Do at least 10 of these for three sets.
- Calf raises – assume a standing position on the edge of a step of a stair. Do a tip-toe as high as you can and hold the position for at least five seconds. Then return to the original position. Do three sets of 10 to 15 calf raises for starters.
- Leg lifts – in a lying position with your hands planted on the ground beside you, lift your legs off the floor and hold the position for at least 15 seconds. Repeat 3 sets of 10 leg lifts for better results.
End with a good stretch
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Stretching is an integral part of working out as it helps make your exercise routines safer and more effective. That’s because it helps reduce tightness in your muscles and improve your body’s overall flexibility. Make sure to do some stretching before and after working out.
- Runner’s stretch – it’s basically a lunge but with your fingertips reaching the floor. Repeat four times then switch legs.
- Standing side stretch – stand with your feet together and your hands clasped together straight above your head. Breathe out as you bend your body sideways and hold the position for five seconds.
- Bound angle – sit on the floor like in an Indian seat position but with the soles of your feet together. In that position, lean forward from your hips and place your palms on the floor. Hold this position as long as you can.
Keep in mind that the following are just the basics. You can always shift to more difficult variations of each exercise as you get more comfortable doing them. The best thing about these exercises is that you can do these at home, without the need for equipment, and at a minimal amount of time. Can you even imagine that there are a lot of ways to get fit in the convenience of your condo? Check ‘em out for yourself and get that summer beach bod you’ve always wanted.