Summer Shape-Up Training: Look And Feel Your Best Regardless Of Fitness Level!

Want a challenging workout regardless of your fitness level? Here are 3 customized training routines to be your best this summer ... Just pick the level that fits you best and start feeling and looking better now. Try it!

Article Summary:
  • Everyone is at various stages and levels of fitness.
  • If your goal is fat loss, you'll want to make cardio your first priority.
  • Below is a workout program that will tailor to your fitness level.
  • Summer is approaching quickly and it's time to kick up the intensity in your workouts so you can look great at the beach, for summer competitions or just walking around town.

    For decades health clubs have experienced two times during the year when new memberships increase - in January at the start of the new year and late spring. New Year's resolutionists vow to make it "the year" that they will get in shape.

    The people who join clubs in late spring have thoughts and dreams of looking leaner and more fit for the warm months of summer. Short sleeves, tank-tops, halter-tops and shorts are right around the corner so let's get started.

    Summer Is Approaching Quickly And It's Time To Kick Up The Intensity In Your Workouts
    Enlarge Click Image To Enlarge.
    Summer Is Approaching Quickly And It's
    Time To Kick Up The Intensity In Your Workouts.

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    Where To Begin
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    Everyone is at various stages and levels of fitness. There isn't a one-size-fits-all workout for everyone. A high-intensity routine would nearly incapacitate a person who has only recently started exercises. A beginner's routine would not be a challenge for those who engage in frequent workouts and have been training and exercising consistently.

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    In order to reach a broad spectrum of people, I've written this article for all of you out there that want a challenging workout regardless of your fitness level. Pick the level that describes you best and follow that routine. It's as simple as that.

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    Beginner Level
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    This level is for people who have not exercised at all or have just started a routine and are still uncertain what to do. In order to gain muscle, lose fat and become more flexible you need to incorporate three different types of exercise - strength training, cardiovascular exercise and stretching. Deciding how much of each type you need depends on what your goals are.

    If you are carrying some excess baggage around your waist and hips, you'll want to make cardiovascular exercise or "cardio" your first priority. Cardio is any exercise that you can continually do over an extended amount of time. Walking, jogging, biking and rowing are examples of cardio.

    If You Are Carrying Some Excess Baggage, You'll Want To Make Cardio Your First Priority.
    Enlarge Click Image To Enlarge.
    If You Are Carrying Some Excess Baggage,
    You'll Want To Make Cardio Your First Priority.

    Your body uses large amounts of oxygen while performing this kind of exercise. Cardio is also called aerobic exercise because it means using or needing oxygen. Because of this whole aerobic process, the body burns fat more readily and it's a sure bet that cardio will help you sheds pounds of unwanted fat.

    Strength training is an anaerobic exercise and doesn't utilize oxygen for energy. You still need to breathe, of course, but you need to take many rest periods while strength training. Fat burning can still take place to a degree with anaerobic training, but it's not as efficient for burning off the fat like cardio is.

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    Strength training or weightlifting, allows you to tone your muscles or increase muscle mass. Toning, shaping and building work hand-in-hand with fat-burning cardio exercise to make your body look better and to become stronger.

    Stretching helps you to become more limber. If you can move easier, even simple tasks like tying your shoes can become much easier. More flexibility can cause less strain on the body and also help to prevent many injuries due to overreaching or simply bending over too quickly.

    Stretching Helps You To Become More Limber.
    Enlarge Click Image To Enlarge.
    Stretching Helps You To Become More Limber.

    The beginner's routine is to be performed on Monday, Wednesday and Friday or Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. The time taken will be slightly more than an hour. It doesn't matter what time during the day you work out. Whenever you can fit it in is the best time for you.

    dot Warm-Up: dot

      Begin with five minutes on the treadmill for a warm-up. Walk at a medium pace. Nothing taxing. This is just to get your blood flowing and raise your body temperature slightly. You might break a sweat; you might not.

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    dot Weight Training: dot

    dot Cardio: dot

      Finish off your workout with 25-30 minutes of cardio exercise. Pick any cardio exercise equipment you like. It doesn't matter which one just find one you like.

      If you prefer, you can go outside and walk or jog for 25-30 minutes. Whatever gets you moving is fine. Just do it!

    Pick Any Cardio Exercise Equipment You Like.
    Enlarge Click Image To Enlarge.
    Pick Any Cardio Exercise
    Equipment You Like.

    dot Stretching: dot

      After the cardio exercise, your body will be all warmed up and ready to stretch to cool down. Pick two or three stretching exercises from the many photo illustrations here on Bodybuilding.com.

      Do them slow and controlled for 15-to-30 seconds each. That's it. You're done! Follow this plan for six weeks before moving up to the intermediate plan.

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    Intermediate Level
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    At this point it's assumed you're familiar with most cardio exercises and have tried a variety of weight training exercises.

    The beginner routine required three workout days per week. We're going to bump it up to five days per week and incorporate a split routine versus the full-body workouts of the beginner routine.

    Time To Increase The Intensity.
    Enlarge Click Image To Enlarge.
    Time To Increase The Intensity.

    dot Cardio: dot

      Every morning set your alarm 25 minutes early and immediately take a 20-minute brisk walk. It's been debated that performing cardio before eating anything in the morning allows you to burn body fat more readily because glycogen (muscle energy sugars) levels are lowest in a fasted state and the body is forced to use stored body fat for energy. Many people swear by it. Give it a try!

      In addition to your daily walk, perform two 45 minute cardio sessions during the week. One session is performed on Tuesday and the other on Thursday.

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    dot Weight Training: dot

    dot Stretching: dot

      Stretch the muscles you worked for a few minutes after your weight-training workout. Pick two or three stretching exercises. Do them slow and controlled for 15-to-30 seconds each.

    Stretch The Muscles You Worked For A Few Minutes After Your Weight-Training Workout.
    Enlarge Click Image To Enlarge.
    Stretch The Muscles You Worked For A
    Few Minutes After Your Weight-Training Workout.

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    Advanced Level
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    To begin at this level you need to have at least six months to a year of training under your belt. You're on a regular training schedule, but want a challenging routine to really bring out muscle definition, separation and clarity. To burn off body fat, plenty of cardio needs to be performed.

    This routine is intense and shouldn't be followed year-round. Use it for six to eight weeks at a time. It works well for pre-contest training when you're trying to get ripped. (However, it is also surprisingly effective for gaining size when you're eating more calories too.)

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    dot Cardio: dot

      Like the intermediate routine, I suggest that every morning you set your alarm 25 minutes early and immediately take a 20-minute brisk walk.

      And if you didn't read the intermediate routine information, it's been debated that performing cardio before eating anything in the morning allows you to burn body fat more readily because glycogen (muscle energy sugars) levels are lowest in a fasted state and the body is forced to use stored body fat for energy.

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      In addition to the morning cardio, more intense cardio is to be performed five days per week along with two longer, slower cardio sessions on the weekend.

        Monday-Friday:

        • AM cardio on an empty stomach

        Monday, Tuesday & Friday:

        • 20 minutes of medium intensity cardio after weight training

        Wednesday:

        • 45 minutes of medium intensity cardio

        Thursday:

        • No cardio

        Saturday & Sunday:

        • 1 hour of slow-duration cardio

    dot Weight Training: dot

      For the first time I'm sharing a method of training that I've developed and have used periodically and effectively since I was in high school, which was more than 20 years ago. Since the current trend is to give training methods a cool name so it will catch on, here it is - "MM610."

      Each body part will be trained once per week on a 4-day split. The protocol will be high intensity with three exercises per large muscle groups and two exercises for smaller muscle groups.

      The first exercise includes the necessary warm-up sets and followed by three sets of six reps working sets. Three sets of eight reps are done on the second exercise with no warm-up sets.

    Stretch The Muscles You Worked For A Few Minutes After Your Weight-Training Workout.
    Enlarge Click Image To Enlarge.
    Author, Myron Mielke: "I've Been Using
    The MM610 Program For Over 20 Years."

    dot Stretching: dot

      Stretch for five to 10 minutes after each weight training workout.

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    Conclusion
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    There you have it - a complete customized training routine that will allow you to be your best this summer no matter what your level of fitness might be. Incorporate this training plan with Shannon Clark's nutrition and diet tips and you've got a one-two punch to get you ripped. Let me know how "MM610" works for you.