Consider this your last warning. There are only 30-odd days and counting until your holiday, which means that there are little more than 20 gym visits at best. Despite the plans you laid on New Year’s Day, you’re facing the uncomfortable prospect of being forced to take your sofa physique on holiday.
The good news is that this is plenty of time to change your figure. To look hot to globetrot at the last minute, follow the below principles and priority some brawn while losing only your excess baggage. Then come July, you’ll be fully ready to take your shirt off and make an impact on the beach.
Simply take four or five compound exercises – squats, deadlifts, chin-ups, rows, bench and military presses – and perform them in a circuit. Aim for 8-10 reps with no to little rest between each exercise (30-seconds tops), and only a minute between circuits. Your heart and lungs will be pumping along with the iron, thereby stoking your metabolic furnace.
“Strongman training is amazing for muscle-building and fat-burning,” says Tim Walker, a London-based personal trainer. If your gym doesn’t have the necessary hardware, try loaded carries such as farmer’s walks: hold heavy dumbbells or kettlebells by your sides and walk until your grip gives up.
Far too many gym-goers plod away on the treadmill, going nowhere slowly. Instead, do sprints for 15-30 seconds – ideally outside, where you can go flat out, recovering for a minute or two between maximal efforts by walking back. Repeat this for 10 to 30 minutes in total (not including warm-up).
While this might feel painful, and surprisingly quick, the afterburn will leave you burning calories long after your workout – at a much higher rate than after conventional steady-state cardio. If you don’t want to head outside, this theory can also be applied in the gym with high-intensity bursts on the rowing machine, static bike or battle ropes.
In anticipation of the sun coming out, you’ll likely dedicate more time than usual to polishing the biceps. But it’s your triceps – on the underside of your biceps – that constitute two-thirds of your total arm mass. So if you want to strain your sleeves, then prioritise your tris as you’ll need them for big compound moves such as bench and military presses. Close-grip benches, dips and push-ups will all help with definition, as will the classic rope press-down when done properly: upper arms pinned, shoulders down.
The final element to looking your very best this summer doesn’t involve the gym – try meditating for 10-20 minutes first thing every morning, using a guided app such as Headspace or Calm. And get some sleep, which is vital for recovery and overall wellness.
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