Your Summer Body Starts Now!

It’s often said that summer bodies are built in winter. Make use of the upcoming chilly months to gear up towards a confident beach reveal when the heat is back on.

Ceri Hannan, National Product Development Manager for Virgin Active South Africa says: “Winter can be a sluggish, rugged-up time for many, but a structured workout programme throughout the season will keep you healthy and motivated and will deliver great results come next summer.”

Hannan recommends high-intensity interval training (HIIT) as the most effective and time-efficient way to stay or to get into shape. HIIT workouts alternate between high-intensity periods of exercise and periods of low-intensity efforts or rest. Research suggest that 15 minutes of HIIT can be more effective for calorie burning than running for an hour. HIIT workouts also kick your body into repair mode, enabling you to burn calories long after your workout is over.

Hannan recommends this winter HIIT workout to start building that beach body:

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15 tricep dips with kick-ups:

A must for the arms, chest and shoulders. Start by sitting on the floor with the bench step behind you, putting both hands on the edge of the bench. Lift your body up off the floor and kick out with your one leg, while the other stays on the ground and then swop legs. As you kick out, lift your bum off the ground.

20 squat jumps:

Start by standing upright, facing a bench step. Bend down into a comfortable semi-squat position and then jump onto the bench step, landing in a squat position. Return to your original position in a slow and controlled manner.

20 gliding mountain climbers:

Start in a plank position on the floor. Make sure that your wrists are below your shoulders and your feet are on top of the gliders, hip-width apart. Glide your right knee toward your chest and then alternate with your left knee. Try to switch feet as quickly as possible.

15 kettlebell swings: 

Work your abs, hamstrings, gluts and hips in a single move. They’re quite difficult to get right, so be sure to stick to the following steps. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your knees slightly bent, looking straight ahead. Hold the kettlebell between your legs using both hands. Keep your lower back arched, bend your hips back to allow the kettlebell to fall back behind you through your legs. Use your hips and core to generate a ‘popping’ action to generate the momentum that will move the kettlebell forwards and upwards. Let the kettlebell swing back between your legs and repeat the movement pattern again.

Throw in a Grid class at least once a week: Virgin Active’s 30-minute Grid class ensures that you get the most effective workout in a short amount of time. The Grid uses your six core movements – push, pull, bend, lunge, twist and squat – and mixes them to blast 500 calories in one session. Sign up for the next Grid class at www.virginactive.co.za

Author: Pedro van Gaalen

When he’s not writing about sport or health and fitness, Pedro is probably out training for his next marathon or ultra-marathon. He’s worked as a fitness professional and as a marketing and comms expert. He now combines his passions in his role as managing editor at Fitness magazine.