The Beach Body Plan Part 3Summer is less than two weeks away and if you’ve been keep up with the past two weeks’ “Jacked” posts you know the blog is on a mission to make you crush worthy for the season that involves showing lots of skin as the temperatures heat up. Let’s be honest: getting ripped and in shape is a process that should take place year-round. You should be training for your summer body in the winter when you may feel the least motivated and putting the final touches on your shirtless, arm-bursting, ripped torso, muscular body by the spring. No worries if you’ve been lax and busy with keeping up with the drama on American Idol and So You Think You Can Dance–this week has even more tips and tricks you can try to get the body worth showing off during the hottest months of the year.

1. Add smoothies to your meal plans. If you’re taking multi-vitamins or dozens of other supplements and pills to help pump you up, consider switching to no-sugar added smoothies. Smoothies, despite the cheap versions that are loaded with sugar and sold at places like McDonalds, are easy to make and an easy way for you to get all the vitamins and minerals you need. Use real fruits and vegetables together to make a powerhouse smoothie that will meet many of your health needs. Use natural sweeteners such as fruits instead of loading up on sugars or preservatives. You should also start your day with a smoothie as a healthy one will give you some much needed “brain food” to keep you powered and sharp all day long.

2. Eat open-faced sandwiches. You’ve heard it all before – carbs are the Devil. But like Lady GaGa’s love song to Judas, we’re all attracted to and fall victim to those things that are bad for us. So, compromise. Anytime you eat a sandwich, if you must eat bread then take the lid off. Most of the fat and bad carbs (the stuff that after consumed can go straight to the gut and obliterate those lovely abs you’ve worked so hard for) comes from the bread more so than the meat. The easiest way you can lose weight and get lean is by ditching bread all together. Sounds drastic, which is why eating open-faced sandwiches is the best option. You will cut down on your carbohydrate and calorie consumption while still enjoying your bread and buns.

3. Get real and be realistic. If you’re reading this and it’s close to or beyond June 21 and you look like Jack Black or Zach Galafanakis, do not expect to do any of these tips or the tips in the previous Beach Body Plan posts and suddenly slim down to look like Ryan Reynolds anytime soon. Fitness and getting healthy takes time. It takes work. It takes patience. It may take a month or two on any workout or nutrition plan before you see even the slightest hint of change in your body. Set realistic goals for yourself and work toward them. Track your progress, as well as your failures, so that seeing the wins and the losses are easily identified and observed. Just because you aren’t beach-body ready by the start of summer doesn’t mean with a little work and effort you can’t get there by the end of the season.

4. Perfect your workout playlist. Music is key to a great workout, we all know that. The music you listen to during your workout should motivate you and keep you moving throughout your workout. Take a little time to make an awesome playlist for your workout. Even go so far as to make a different playlist for each day you workout, with different themes or different genres, so that you won’t get bored with hearing the same music over and over. If you’re planning on doing vigorous cardio, load your playlist with upbeat, bass pumping, rump-shaking music. A good playlist can make your workout awesome and fulfilling just as a bad playlist can make your workout slow and unproductive. Choose your music wisely.

5. Step (and workout) to the beat. Working out is a lot like dancing: it’s all about finding your rhythm and keeping up with the beat. If you think about it, a lot of the moves you do in the gym involve a rhythm and if you can’t find that groove, you won’t see any big gains from your workouts. Whether it’s the rhythm of how you squat and rise during a barbell lift or how fast you do a dumbbell curl, you need to find the rhythm of your moves and stick to them. This will help you focus on the moves you’re doing and increase your gains.

Add these moves to your workout this week:
1. Kneeling barbell shoulder press:
Get on your knees (shoulder-width apart); grab your barbell and rest it shoulder-height. Keep your gazed fixed ahead of you as you fully extend your arms overhead, thrusting the bar over you. Slowly lower the bar back down to your shoulders. Repeat this move 20 times.

2. Bicycle crunch: Lie on your back and places your hands behind your head. Touch your left elbow to your right knee and repeat the move on the opposite side; that’s one rep. Do this 20 times.

3. Horizontal back row: Get underneath a stationary barbell and bend your knees 45-degrees. Set your hands shoulder-width apart and grasp the bar with an underhand grip. Pull yourself up to the bar until your chest nearly touches the bar. Lower yourself back to the starting position. Be sure to keep your back straight throughout this move.

Check out parts 1 and 2 of The Beach Body Plan series and stay tuned next week for the final installment.

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