Top 6 Ways to Exercise to Help Prepare for Bikini and Speedo Season

If you’re like me (Michelle), you may have struggled with weight for YEARS! I’ve lost and gained, and lost and gained. It has been a viscous cycle! Obesity has reached epidemic proportions in the US. More than 42% of the country is considered overweight or obese. We sit so much of our days for work. We don’t take time to really learn how to eat effectively to maintain a healthy body weight. And…truth be told. Most of us just do not exercise or if we do, we don’t exercise appropriately. We either don’t like it (like some I know), or spend too much time on one form of exercise. Anyone remember spending HOURS on the elliptical trainer or stair master in the 80s and 90s? We all thought that more cardio was the way to drop pounds and inches, but in reality, the scale probably didn’t budge too much! 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), it is recommended that just to maintain an appropriate weight, we need to exercise 150 minutes each week. While that may seem like a ton of time, it equates to roughly 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise 5 days a week. That could be a brisk walk with the dogs, going for a bike ride with the family, raking leaves, shoveling snow. More intense exercise would include activities like running, jogging, or swimming laps. 

Dr. Brian spent his undergraduate years studying exercise science and has some tried-and-true favorites ways to exercise. Check out his top 6 ways to exercise as you design your “Best You” exercise plan to get you ready for not just bikini or speedo season, but to live your best, most vibrant life!

1. Strength Training

Let’s MOVE HEAVY THINGS!! This is one of Dr. B’s favorite forms of exercise! It focuses on moving heavy things in order to build muscle strength and endurance. Typically, strength training can be done using weights, kettle bells, resistance bands, and even body weight exercises (think unweighted squats or push-ups). As muscles continue to develop, they require more energy to repair after a workout, thus increasing metabolism. Some of our favorite strength training exercises are squats, push-ups, deadlift, and bench press. 

2. Cardiovascular Exercise

We all KNOW this one…. running (or jogging), jumping rope, rowing, cycling. This is the form of exercise that really gets your heart pumping and helps to build cardiovascular strength and endurance. These are generally great ways to engage large muscle groups and enhance overall fitness. They can be done practically anywhere. 

3. Swimming

While technically a form of cardiovascular exercise, this is a full-body, low-impact workout that engages various muscle groups. It’s particularly beneficial for those with joint issues. There are several different strokes that at time engage different muscle groups making it a versatile exercise. 

4. Walking

Again, another form of cardiovascular exercise, but this is s super simple, yet very effective exercise that can be adapted to different fitness levels. Whether you going for a brisk walk alone or with a friend (maybe even your doggo) or you’re trekking through a trail with hills and valleys, this exercise also helps to build cardiovascular health and strengthen leg muscles. One way to kick this exercise up a notch is to practice rucking. What’s rucking? Well, it’s walking or hiking with a loaded rucksack (backpack). Rucking can provide not just physical benefits, but social (done with a group) benefits as well. It’s accessible to most people and is a sustainable activity that can easily be integrated into daily routines. 

5. High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

This one can be so much fun! It involves short bursts of intense, vigorous exercise alternated with brief periods of rest or low-intensity activity. Many local gyms and fitness centers offer different HIIT classes that provide a great social aspect to this type of workout. This type of training can elevate the heart rate quickly, thus increasing caloric burn and improving overall fitness. HIIT workouts often include exercises like burpees (NOT my favorite), squat jumps, lunges, and high knees. The intense nature of HIIT can also contribute to the “afterburn effect,” which is where the body continues to burn calories after the workout is completed. 

6. Circuit Training

This form of exercise combines elements of both cardiovascular and strength training in a structured sequence. In a circuit, you move through a series of exercises designed to target different muscle groups with minimal rest in between. This not only helps with burning calories, but it also improves muscle strength and endurance. A circuit may include a mix of body weight exercise, resistance training (moving heavy things), and cardiovascular exercises. Because circuit training is so dynamic, it keeps your heart rate elevated which in turn provides both strength and cardiovascular benefits within a single workout session….it can be fast and fun!

Incorporating a mix of these exercises into a well-rounded fitness routine can enhance the overall benefits for weight loss and contribute to improved physical and mental well-being. They can also be adapted to meet you where you are in your fitness journey. Whether you’re an advanced runner or body builder to the mom or dad just starting to work toward better health, each of these exercises can be modified to be beneficial where you currently are on your journey. As with any exercise program, it’s best to consult with trusted and credentialed healthcare professionals or fitness experts, especially if you have other health challenges that may impact your fitness pursuits. Dr. Brian is a FANTASTIC resource for this and is able to guide you through your journey toward better health!

Thanks for Reading