Welcome to my new blog here at DigitalMuscle.com!!! Here’s something to give you a jump start on getting your bikini bod ready for the Summer!
Spring is definitely here, and though it’s still pretty chilly in some parts of the country, those long, cold winter nights are slowly coming to an end. Summer is just around the corner, and that means the return of those teeny bikinis, short sundresses and cute warm-weather outfits that we love to wear.
What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you get a taste of warmer weather? “I have to get in shape,” right? Then you start thinking about how you can shed some pounds and tighten up.
This is my go-to regimen for losing five pounds fast. It’s a great way to jump-start your metabolism and get your shape-up-for-summer program going.
HIIT + Intervals + Circuit Training
There so are many approaches to getting in shape—fad workouts and diets included—that it’s hard to figure out what’s best for you. In my opinion, nothing beats an HIIT (high-intensity interval training) resistance-training circuit combined with HIIT cardio training. Here are some definitions of terms, in case you’re unfamiliar with them.
HIT, a.k.a. high-intensity training, pushes your body to its maximum effort to achieve muscle fatigue. The harder your muscles work, the more oxygen they require, which triggers the afterburn effect, where your body continues to consume oxygen and burn calories up to 48 hours after the workout.
High-intensity interval-style training alternates between short bursts of high-intensity effort and brief periods of active recovery. It is one of the best ways to encourage your body to keep burning calories after your workouts, which can raise your metabolic rate for up to four hours.
Circuit training is a method of performing weight training or other resistance work that maximizes the amount of work done in a short period of time; you target your entire body with little rest between sets.
Circuit training also increases the amount of oxygen that you use postworkout and so increases the number of calories that you burn throughout the day. By combining the three methods, you maximize fat burning and build lean muscle through shorter workouts—a huge benefit for those who don’t have time for three-hour gym sessions.
Here’s a workout that I would normally use when I want to jump-start my metabolism and drop a few pounds quickly.
The Drop-5-Pounds Routine
I normally do the following exercises in vertical-circuit-training. I do one set of an exercise then move to a set of the next exercise with little rest in between. After completing one rotation, I rest for a minute, and then repeat from the beginning.
The exception is the ab exercises. I do those after the circuit training and right before cardio.
Do five complete circuits of these movements. If you’re more of a beginner or coming back to the gym after a layoff, start with two or three circuits and work up.
Wide-stance squats (Smith machine or barbell)
Targets: legs, glutes
How many: 5 x 12-15 reps
- Take a wide stance, with your toes pointing out. The bar should run across your shoulders, resting on the upper portion your back.
- Grip the bar, and step outward. Draw your shoulders back, keep your abs tight, and slowly squat until your quads are parallel to the floor. Push upward and return to a standing position. Pause and repeat for the required number of reps.
- Maintain good posture throughout each squat, and do NOT arch your back.
Squat kettlebell swings or dumbbell swings
Targets: shoulders, legs, glutes
How many: 5 x 20-25 reps
- Stand, with your feet slightly wider than shoulder width, and place a kettle bell or dumbbell in front of you.
- Squat down, tighten your core, and grab the dumbbell with both hands, with your palms facing your body.
- Keeping your back straight, push your legs upward and swing the dumbbell upward from in-between your legs to eye level.
- Keeping a strong posture, lower the weight back to the floor and come up again in one smooth motion. Repeat for the required number of reps.
One-arm alternating dumbbell rows in plank position with pushups
Targets: chest, back, shoulders, abs
How many: 5 x 12-15 reps
- Get into position to do pushups, but instead of placing your hands on the floor, you grip a pair of dumbbells that are positioned on the floor. Extend your legs behind you with your feet shoulder width apart.
- Lower your body until your chest and hips almost touch the floor. Keep your head in alignment with your torso and hips. That’s the pushup.
- As you come up, lift your right arm to the side of your body, bending your elbow, and targeting your lats. Feel the muscles contract as you row, and then lower back down. Repeat with the left arm.
- When you’ve performed a dumbbell row on each side, repeat the sequence, doing a pushup followed by alternating dumbbell rows, for the required number of reps.
Squat and Presses
Targets: legs, glutes, shoulders
How many: 5 x 20-25 reps
- Hold one end of a dumbbell with both hands at shoulder height, with your feet slightly wider than shoulder width apart. Lower into a deep squat, with your quads slightly below parallel to the floor, and sit back slightly.
- Explode upward, pressing the dumbbell overhead. Pause and repeat for the listed number of reps.
- Make sure to maintain proper form throughout, and do NOT arch your back.
Triceps Dips supersetted with pushups (dip machine or bench)
Targets: chest, triceps
How many: 5 supersets
- Perform a set of 12 to 15 triceps dips using the dip machine or a bench.
- Follow immediately with 15 to 20 pushups.
A giant set of three exercises, 5 x 30-50 reps each
These exercises build all-around core strength, with an emphasis on the lower abs. Do one set of each, in turn, taking little rest between exercises, for one giant set.
Repeat for five giant sets.
- Lie on your back on the floor with your legs straight, and place your hands under your butt.
- Focus on your core, and tighten it.
- Do a leg lift, raising your legs until they’re completely vertical. Your body should form a 90-degree angle. That’s your starting position.
- Squeeze your your butt and lower abs, and use your hips to push your legs directly upward. Hold, and then slowly lower, immediately pulsing back up for the next rep.
- Lie on the floor with your legs fully extended and your arms at your sides, palms on the floor.
- Move your legs up so that your thighs are perpendicular to floor, with your feet together. That’s your starting position.
- Bring your legs toward your torso as you roll your pelvis backward, raising your hips off the floor and curling, or crunching, your abs. At the end of this movement your knees will be touching your chest.
- Hold the contraction, and then return to the starting position while keeping your core tight. Repeat for the designated number of reps.
- Lie on your back on the floor, and extend your arms behind your head.
- Keep your feet together and your toes pointed toward the ceiling.
- Holding your legs straight, lift them up, while at the same time raising your upper body off of the floor and reaching for your toes with your hands.
- Hold your abs and core tight, and squeeze your muscles as you reach for your toes.
- Slowly lower back to the starting position, and then repeat.
Final Shape-up Notes
In addition, to revving up your metabolism with HIIT training, don’t forget to up your water intake. If you’re not doing it already, now is the time to start drinking more. Getting in a gallon of water day is an ideal goal, but at the very least eight to 10 glasses a day will do wonders for your body. It will improve your mood, aid digestion, flush out toxins and help in weight loss by suppressing your appetite. Plus, when you drink a glass or two before each meal, it fills your stomach up and leads you to eat less. In addition, drinking lots of water helps increase the rate at which your body burns fat and promotes the breakdown and elimination of fat cells.
All of these exercises can be performed either at home, if you have the equipment, or, definitely, at your local gym. Keep in mind that it’s quality, not quantity, when it comes to exercise performance. Don’t be afraid to increase the weight—heavy lifting won’t get you bodybuilder big! The ideal is to use weights that are heavy enough force your body to work at its max while still performing the exercise correctly and with control. For the best results, you want to feel your muscle completely fatiguing by the next-to-last rep of an exercise. When you can get all the sets with the same weight and complete all the reps, it’s time to increase the weight to accommodate your new strength level.
The rest of the shape-up equation: Follow a balanced diet, include cardiovascular exercise in your program, and get enough sleep. Work hard in the gym, and enjoy the results.
As an IFBB bikini pro, a certified personal trainer, nutritionist, online coach, fitness model and TV host, Gigi Amurao blasted onto the competitive bikini scene in 2012. A lifelong athlete who excelled in collegiate lacrosse and gymnastics, she earned an MBA in marketing and an advanced certificate in sports and entertainment management and enjoyed a career in network advertising before finding her passion in helping others achieve their fitness goals. As a model, she’s appeared in Muscle & Fitness Hers, Inside Fitness, and Flex Magazine. DigitalMuscle.com is proud to feature Gigi here in her own featured blog!