Eight-Week Summer Slimdown.

Swimsuit season officially begins Memorial Day weekend. That's two months away. If you would like to drop 10 to 15 pounds and firm up the back side a little before you hit the beach this year, this plan is for you.
Part 1 | Part 2

Article Summary:
  • This Eight-Week Summer Slimdown isn't difficult to follow and is designed to work.
  • If you lose more than two pounds per week you risk losing muscle tissue.
  • Try a mix of cardio and interval training to boost your metabolism.

Swimsuit season officially begins Memorial Day weekend. That's two months away. If you would like to drop 10 to 15 pounds and firm up the back side a little before you hit the beach this year, this plan is for you.

This eight-week Summer Slimdown is designed to work. It's not difficult to follow, but you will need to make some adjustments in your lifestyle. Exercise and eating healthy food play a major role in this program. Getting accustomed to changes begins in week one. Are you ready? Good. Let's get started.

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How Much Should I Lose?
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Research has shown that it's generally considered safe to lose two pounds per week when on a weight-loss plan. Losing more than two pounds will put you at risk of losing muscle tissue, which you do not want to do for at least two reasons. Depriving yourself of too many calories and causing a loss of muscle tissue is not healthy.

The fancy or technical word for that is called starvation. Never follow a plan that boastfully claims you can lose more than two pounds per week. If you drop five pounds in one week but waste away three pounds of muscle in the process, what good is that? Fat loss should be the goal. Not muscle loss.

The second reason for keeping your muscle intact is that the more muscle you have, the more calories you burn during the day-even while you're resting. In other words, extra muscle speeds up your metabolism so you can eat more during the day without extra weight gain.

To effectively stimulate muscle toning, progressive resistance training should be implemented. That means you need to lift weights about three days per week. Train your upper body one day and rest the next.

The following day, train your lower body and abs. Rest another day and then repeat the cycle.

Keep your workouts between 30 and 45 minutes. Train at a quick pace with minimal rest in between sets. Pick two to three exercises per bodypart and perform about three sets of 10 to 12 repetitions. If you can do more than 12 reps, the weight is too light. Add weight. Don't baby yourself and just go through the motions. You want results, right?

If you want to firm up the back side, here are two suggestions. At the end of your lower body workout throw in two sets of 20 reps of lunges to the front and to the side. With both feet together, simply step forward-or to the side-about 24 inches with one foot and lunge forward.

Dumbbell Lunges
Dumbbell Lunges
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Dumbbell Lunges
Click Here For A Video Demonstration Of Dumbbell Lunges.

Push back to the starting position and then step out with the other leg. Repeat. You can also set the treadmill at a steep incline or walk up some hills to hit your "glutes." Believe me, you'll feel it!

For burning extra body fat, you'll need to do some cardio exercise also. I recommend getting up 20 to 30 minutes earlier than you normally would and go for a brisk walk. It could be outside or on a treadmill. Do some exercise you can do at home so you don't have to trek into the gym.

The important thing is to do this exercise first thing, even before you eat anything. Some research studies have shown that performing cardio exercise on an empty stomach in the morning helps the body to use its fat reserves due to not having food overnight.

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This is a good way to start your day on a positive note too. It gives you a few minutes to wake up and it's a great time to pray or meditate if you're one who's working on spiritual fitness also.

In addition to the early-morning cardio, on the alternate day of weight training, do 30 minutes of cardio work at a greater intensity. Interval training has been shown to burn body fat very effectively. Don't let the term scare you. Intervals mean you exercise at varying speeds. For example, if you like to run, begin with two minutes of walking to warm up.

From three to five minutes, jog slowly. When five minutes have past, run very fast for two minutes and then jog for a few minutes. Keep alternating between jogging and running. The last five minutes should be spent walking for a cool-down period. Intervals can be done with any cardio exercise by just varying the speeds during your workout.

One day of the weekend, do a longer, but leisurely, cardio session. Go for a long walk or hike on your favorite trail. Go with a friend or spouse. Try inline skating. If you like to bike ride, ride around the Antelope Valley and enjoy the spring air. Do something you enjoy and won't mind spending an hour or more doing.

Another important aspect of this plan is, of course, adjusting your food intake. Don't think of it as a diet. With this plan you're most likely going to be eating more often than you normally do so don't use the "D" word, okay?

The average American diet consists of two to three meals per day and a munchie snack mid-morning to help ward off hunger pangs. This is the most perfect eating plan - if you would like to add globs of fat over your entire body! It slows down the body's metabolism and does little to help tone or strengthen your muscles.

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Increasing Your Metabolism
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To increase the metabolism, smaller more frequent meals need to be eaten. Six meals per day is optimum, but this plan will start you off with five. We're not going to count calories. There are no points and we're not going to tally up grams of carbs.

This plan does, however, utilize portion sizes of protein foods and carbohydrates. A portion of protein or carbohydrate would be the size of a closed fist, which is roughly the size of a deck of cards.

Basically you will eat a portion of protein at each meal. Starchy carbohydrates will be cycled. Some days you will eat starches at every meal and some days you will eat them for only one or two meals. Eat as much salad or green leafy vegetables as you like. Eat a piece of fruit after your weight workouts to help in recovery.

Start drinking green tea. Not only is it loaded with healthy antioxidants, studies have shown that you can burn up to an extra 60 calories in a day just by drinking three to four cups per day.

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Once a week, have a cheat meal where you eat anything you want, including dessert. A sudden increase in calories can actually keep your metabolism in high gear because it throws off the body's natural tendencies to signal it's starving.

Eating low calories for too long will slow down your metabolism. The cheat meal is good for you psychologically also. You won't feel deprived.

Eat A Piece Of Fruit After Your Weight Workouts To Help In Recovery
+ Click To Enlarge.
Eat A Piece Of Fruit After Your Weight Workouts To Help In Recovery.

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Sample Meal Plan
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To make this program a little easier to understand, I've set up a sample week for you to follow. You can adjust the workouts to fit your schedule. The important thing is to follow it closely and stick with it.

Follow it for eight weeks and then take a day off, rest, relax and eat a few of your favorite foods on Memorial Day. Oh, and you can proudly answer the question everyone will be asking you at your Memorial Day gathering. "You look great! What have you been doing?"

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Day 1: Low-Carb Day
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20-minute Walk

Breakfast:

Mid-Morning:

Lunch:

Mid-Afternoon:

5:00 PM:

30-45 minutes of Weight Training (Upper Body)

  • 1 piece of Fruit after Workout

Dinner:

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Day 2: Low-Carb Day
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20-minute Walk

Breakfast:

Mid-Morning:

Lunch:

Mid-Afternoon:

5:00 PM:

30 minutes of Interval-Style Cardio

Dinner:

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Day 3: Medium-Carb Day
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20-minute Walk

Breakfast:

Mid-Morning:

Lunch:

Mid-Afternoon:

5:00 PM:

30-45 minutes of Weight Training (Lower Body)

  • 1 piece of Fruit after Workout

Dinner:

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Day 4: Low-Carb Day
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20-minute Walk

Breakfast:

Mid-Morning:

Lunch:

Mid-Afternoon:

5:00 PM:

30 minutes of Interval-Style Cardio

Dinner:

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Day 5: Low-Carb Day
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20-minute Walk

Breakfast:

Mid-Morning:

Lunch:

Mid-Afternoon:

5:00 PM:

30-45 minutes of Weight Training (Upper Body)

  • 1 piece of Fruit after Workout

Dinner:

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Day 6: High-Carb Day
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20-minute Walk

Breakfast:

Mid-Morning:

Lunch:

Mid-Afternoon:

5:00 Pm:

30 minutes of Interval-Style Cardio

Dinner:

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Day 7: Cheat Meal
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Eat one meal as a cheat meal and eat anything you want.

One-hour Cardio session doing any activity you enjoy.


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