Summer is soon approaching! It’s the time of year we swap our long pants for shorts and our baggy sweaters for tank tops.
For some of us, this can be a daunting task. All the extra hot chocolate and yummy winter treats we enjoyed over the colder months may leave us feeling a little soft and less than motivated. However, the increased hours of daylight and warmer weather are gentle reminders that winter is over. Getting fit for summer is not only about toning up for sitting poolside, but feeling confident, refreshed, and glowing from the inside out for the upcoming season.
March is the perfect time to start fresh and get ready for summer, and we are here to help. Over the next three months, we have put together monthly workouts and our best tips and tricks to feel great this summer.
This month we have created a full-body circuit workout and cardiovascular plan to kick-start your health and fitness goals. The workout requires nothing but a couple of dumbbells or a resistance band. It can be done anywhere in less than 20 minutes.
March strength training and full-body circuit
It’s best to aim for at least three days a week of resistance training. You do not need a lot of equipment, and can do most workouts anywhere. Even five minutes of bodyweight exercises, like squats or lunges throughout the day, can make a big difference in your overall strength and physique.
Pro tip: Do this circuit three to five times. Move from one exercise to the next with no rest.
Stationary lunges with lat reach
- Stand with feet hip-width apart.
- Step one foot forward into a lunge, bending the back knee toward the ground.
- Place your arms in a “W” position, engaging the lats by pulling your shoulder blades down your back.
- Stand up out of the lunge without moving your feet, then extend your arms overhead.
- Repeat 10 times, then switch legs.
Step it up!
Try adding dumbbells to each hand to increase the intensity.
Standing bicep curls
- Stand with your feet hip-width apart, knees soft and core engaged.
- Hold a resistance band or dumbbells in each hand with your palms facing up.
- Without moving the upper arm, bend your elbow and bring your hands in toward your body.
- Keep your core engaged and avoid rocking back and forth through the movement.
- Repeat 15 times.
Side plank leg raises
- Start in a modified side plank position, with your supporting arm extended and bottom knee on the floor.
- Extend your top leg long and point your toe.
- Lower and lift the top leg while keeping your core engaged. Only your leg should be moving.
- Repeat 10 times on each side.
Step it up!
Try this movement in a full side plank position with your bottom knee off the ground.
- Lie on your back with your legs extended, hips bent at 90 degrees, feet flexed, heels toward the ceiling.
- Lift your hips off the floor, using your lower abs to create the movement. Lift your hips a few inches and hold briefly at the top.
- Bring the hips back to the floor. Next, keep your legs straight and lower the legs 30 degrees, keeping the abdominals engaged by drawing the bellybutton in. Do not let your lower back arch off the floor.
- Repeat 15-20 times.
Squat with kick
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, toes slightly turned out.
- Sit back into a squat as if you are going to sit down in a chair.
- Explosively stand back up, kicking your right foot forward.
- Sit back into a squat and repeat with left foot.
- Continue for 20 repetitions, alternating legs.
Step it up!
Try holding dumbbells on your shoulders for extra resistance.
- Lie on your back with your head lightly supported with your hands, elbows out to the side.
- Curl up into a crunch bringing one knee toward your chest, extending the other leg. Slightly rotate your opposite elbow toward the knee.
- Switch sides by bringing your other knee toward your chest and rotating your torso to bring your elbow toward the opposite side.
- Be careful not to simply lift your head up with your hands, instead use your abdominals to create the movement. Keep the neck long and shoulders down away from your ears.
- Continue for 20 repetitions.
March cardio routine
It’s best to include cardiovascular exercise in your weekly workout routine. Going outside for a walk, jog, bike ride, or swim is a great way to get your heart rate up and torch calories for optimal weight loss. Cardiovascular exercise is also important for disease prevention and overall conditioning as you age.
Aim for at least 30 minutes of cardiovascular activity three times per week. This can be done on alternate days of your strength training routine or the same day of your circuit workouts. You want to work at an intensity that gets your heart rate elevated, but that you can sustain for 30-45 minutes. Once you feel comfortable at this level, you can begin to increase the intensity and add interval training, which we will talk about next month!
If you have joint problems or pain with activities such as jogging or stair climbing, opt for low-impact exercises such as swimming.
This month’s circuit workout targets the muscles of the legs, abdominals, back, arms, and glutes. It is the perfect full-body workout for those who need a simple, do-anywhere routine. Combining this with cardio exercise, you will not only increase your strength and endurance, but be on your way to reaching your summer weight loss goals.
The focus this month is to get back into a consistent routine and wake up your muscles out of winter hibernation. Set small and attainable goals for yourself and acknowledge your successes and struggles. Plan time in your day to complete your workouts and find accountability in a partner or friend. Above all, have fun!
In fitness and good health,