6 Reasons To Shape Up For Summer

A heavy winter doesn't have to leave your motivation on ice. Reignite your passion for fitness and carve your summer body now! Warm weather's right around the corner.

Quick, do a digit check. Are all your fingers and toes accounted for, or have a few succumbed to the cold? I can tell you that this has been a brutally chilly winter for most of the upper Midwest, and my region isn't alone. Records have been shattered all across the United States for cold, ice cover, and snow totals. Right now it seems impossible to imagine warmer days.

But, make no mistake, summer is coming. Soon it will be time to crawl out of our cozy hibernation nests, peel off the polar fleece we've been donning like battle gear, and reveal our pasty, dry skin to the warm basking glow of a spring sun. Finally, Vitamin D in its glorious, non-supplement form! You can almost feel it.

So what's your game plan? Hot chocolate and blankets are just what the doctor ordered for frigid nights, but if you've gotten used to skipping the gym and hoarding comfort food, it's time to change things up. Reignite your fire for fitness and get your head back in the game.

Here are a few reminders about why you should get going with your training and diet again. After all, spring and summer are going to be here in the blink of an eye.


Wedding Season's Upon Us

June is a major month of note. Not only does it signal the first day of summer, Father's Day, and the oh-so-notable Flag Day, but it's also the most popular month for weddings. If you're among those getting laced up in white, hitting a training program now will help you head down the aisle with extra confidence and, depending on your goals, an extra layer of lean muscle.

"Try a new lifting routine or kick up your cardio with high intensity interval training on a Stairmill."

Use that save-the-date stuck to your fridge to inspire you to push forward, even if your new fit body is not for your own wedding. Try a new lifting routine or kick up your cardio with high intensity interval training on a Stairmill. Start with one minute at level 8, or 30-45 seconds at level 10, followed by brief rest periods for a total of 20 minutes. Shock your system into growth by trying German Volume Training (GVT), which pushes you to do 10 sets of 10 reps on one exercise. The more you ramp up your training routine now, the faster you'll see results.


Smaller Clothes Are Coming

"Picture yourself running in shorts and a tank top. How does that make you feel?"

I promise I'm not poking fun at your winter weight. With warm weather around the corner, it's just a matter of time until layers start coming off. Whether you're ready for it or not, the time for that teeny-weenie bikini is fast approaching.

As you look out your window at the snow-covered ground, sunbathing on the beach might sound like a far-off dream. So take a step back. Picture yourself running in shorts and a tank top. How does that make you feel? Awesome, or anxious? If you're not feeling great, remember that winter is the perfect time to get in gear. You might be more apt to don a cute new sports bra or running shorts when you're feeling fit. Be the first one in your town to hit the ground running and looking mid-summer awesome when it's only April.

Set a concrete goal. Sign up for a local event, 5K, 10K, or an obstacle race. Start training for strength and endurance now. Alternatively, have you ever thought about competing in a physique competition? Start taking a peek at local and regional competitions that are happening this year. Competitions that are 16 or 20 weeks out will give you a hard deadline while putting extra training gas in your tank.

If you've never felt comfortable wearing shorts, work hard so that this is the year to feel great in them. If you're self-conscious about your skinny arms, make this the year of the muscle shirt. Plan jogs outside or go rollerblading for the first time in years. Grab some friends to set a pace for yourself and make it a cardio get-together. The more positive people you have around you to cheer you on, the more successful you'll be.

2014 should be your year to shine, not cover up!


Spring Break Is Upon Us

Got a winter getaway trip planned? Time to get your butt in gear! You don't want to have to worry about the pounds you've packed on while you pack luggage. If you're planning on site-seeing, start now with 30-minute walks on the treadmill and tinker with the incline to mimic being outside. If you're planning on snorkeling, get in the pool at your gym three days each week and push yourself for a calorie-burning, lap-swimming workout. Changing your cardio workout styles can not only lean you out, it can also prepare you for the vacation activities you've spent so much time saving up for. Don't let it go to waste, and don't forget the sunscreen!

"Get in the pool at your gym three days each week and push yourself for a calorie-burning, lap-swimming workout."

Spring Is The Season Of Love

Are you single? Why not utilize your time now to find your best and most confident version of yourself? Nothing is more attractive than someone who is strong, confident, disciplined, and goal-oriented. Put your best foot forward by buckling down on your training and diet routine. Already got someone special? Plan couples workouts and get to the gym together. Not only can you push each other, you can get in and out of the gym in a blink by supersetting exercises. One person can do sets of squats while the other person does kettlebell swings, then you can switch. Low-rest, high-intensity workouts will strengthen your bodies and the health of your relationship.


Your Friends Need You

Many people have already fallen off the wagon for their 2014 goals in your life. Why not give them a boost by leading the way?

Working in groups or having someone to keep you accountable for your goals often creates a solid emotional boost to the recommitment of goals. Be the catalyst in the lives of people around you by electrifying your social group with your enthusiasm to get back on the wagon.

"Working in groups or having someone to keep you accountable for your goals often creates a solid emotional boost to the recommitment of goals."

Try a hip-hop dance class with your friends if you've always been curious. Find a training program online, or hire a trainer to bring you through a group workout. Set up a circuit routine the gets everyone involved—think biceps curls, planks, step-ups, and Swiss ball hamstring curls. Follow it with 5-10 minutes of hard incline cardio. If you're a competitor, get together with a friend who shares your passion, and increase accountability by practicing posing and stage routines.


You Owe It To Yourself

Yes, winter can be brutal and can make the idea of training debilitating. When it's 0-15 degrees outside, you don't care much to venture outside the house. I get it. I live in Minnesota, where 2014 brought 44 nights below zero already, twice as many as we normally get in a year! Even so, you owe it to yourself to follow through on the goals you set—no matter the weather.

Give yourself the power and momentum to push forward and start your spring and summer seasons with the body and health you've always dreamed of having. Find inspirational members on BodySpace and ask them questions about how they got to where they are. Go to a big fitness expo or competition and talk to the people in the world of fitness. How do they keep their own fire aflame?

Follow your favorite athletes through social media and read inspirational books like "You Are a Badass," by Jen Sincero, which is one of my personal favorites. Education and inspiration are crucial to your success. The motivation to keep going is available everywhere when you look for it and are open to it.

You're just as worthy of your efforts now as you ever were. 2014 has barely started. It's way too soon to give up on yourself. Start now or start again and make it the best year of your life!

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