KEEP YOUR SUMMER SHRED SIZZLING HOT!
with Evogen Athlete Lauren Findley
Ah, Summertime: this season is marked by suntanned skin, days spent lounging on the beach or by the pool, and family barbecues complete with all of your favorite foods. And then, for some select individuals, like myself, it includes the homestretch of contest prep. Many competitors spend months prepping for their 5 minutes of fame on stage. My big day was June 11, 2016. The real question is: What happens when it's over? We all know that maintaining a svelte, fitness-model look year-round is unattainable. Therefore, I've decided to share all of my tips on how to keep it tight, whether you're a competitor or just someone looking to keep fitness incorporated in your lifestyle.
TIP 1: STAY IN THE GYM While summertime can be busy, with vacations and other warm weather adventures, it is important to stay on track when it comes to the gym. Of course, taking a day here and there to rejuvenate is recommended, but make sure to get right back into your routine without taking too much time off. Here's the workout split I've been using since my contest prep ended. Monday - Chest/Triceps Tuesday - Shoulders/Abs/Cardio Wednesday - Glutes/Hamstrings Thursday - Back/Biceps/Cardio Friday - Shoulders/Abs Saturday - Active Rest Day (light cardio & abs) Sunday - Quad Focused Leg Day
TIP 2: KEEP YOUR DIET IN LINE Now, this can be especially tricky in the summer. The trick to maintaining an elite physique year round is to stay on a schedule. Enjoy yourself once in awhile, but maintain a routine of healthy eating. Also, make sure you're staying hydrated! Hot summer days call for lots of water. Here's an example of a full day of eating for me as I transition into my off season: Meal 1: 4 egg whites, 1 yolk, 1 cup oats or Ezekiel bread, 1/2 cup berries Meal 2: 4-6oz lean protein source, 5oz greens Meal 3: 1 1/2 scoop protein shake with 1/2 a banana and 1 tbsp. natural peanut butter Meal 4: 4-6oz lean protein source, 5oz greens Meal 5: (pre-workout) 4-6oz lean protein source, 1 cup brown rice or sweet potato Meal 6: (post-workout) 4-6oz lean protein source, 5oz greens, Conveniently, Tip 2 transitions perfectly into my next tip!
TIP 3: CHEAT SMART Cheat meals can either help you or hurt you (this is especially true in the world of competitors). When utilized, a cheat meal can replenish your otherwise depleted body, and provide the spike that it needs to recharge the metabolism. Here are some ways to make the most out of your cheat meal:
- Schedule your cheat around an intense workout! By doing this, you will be using the extra calories as a source of energy to hit an awesome leg workout or power through shoulder day.
- Protein, protein, protein! Skip the ice cream on Cheat Meal Day. Instead, go for something rich in both carbs and protein, like a cheeseburger. That way, you're still getting the important protein needed to sustain your elite physique.
- Know when to stop! Do not use a cheat meal as an excuse to completely binge and eat until you cannot move. Pace yourselves, ya'll.
TIP 4: CARDIO IS YOUR FRIEND As you can see in the workout split provided, I still incorporate cardio into my post show routine. I've heard so many people say, "I'm not doing any cardio, I'm bulking" or "It's off season." I think it's essential to incorporate cardio year round, because it's important for cardiovascular health and avoiding unnecessary weight gain. I like to add running and circuit training into my workout routines. Being a former collegiate runner, I have always loved running and being outside. By doing something that you are passionate about, it will make it seem less like work and more like fun. Here are a few examples of my favorite cardio circuits that can be performed almost anywhere:
- Walking lunges (20) + jumping lunges (30)
- Step-ups with kickback (10) + bench taps (30) + burpee with push ups (30)
- Box jumps (10) + mtn. climber kickbacks (30)
TIP 5: KEEPING UP WITH CORE Also mentioned in the workout split, training abs is super important. Abs, like every other body part, are muscles! They need to be trained just like biceps, calves, or glutes. Although the ever popular phrase "abs are made in the kitchen" may hold some truth, they're really made in the gym! Here are some of my all-time favorite ab workouts that keep my tummy tight, both on and off prep:
- Hanging leg raises (4 sets, AMRAP)
- Cable rope crunches (4 sets, 15-20 reps)
- Ab wheel (4 sets, 15-20 reps)
- Decline crunch with plate (4 sets, 20 reps)