Whether or not you’re one to make resolutions, January is the best time to get in shape. Summer is now only a short six months away! Bring on the bikinis and shorter than short-shorts – it’s time to look and feel great. In my past blogs, I’ve showed you how to tone up and strengthen your muscle groups. Now, it’s time for me to explain how cardio workouts can really get that six-pack and those toned legs to show.
You can do as many crunches as you want, but your sleek muscles won’t show through unless you burn the layer of fat covering it. That fat is made up of long term energy that has not been used and compensates by staying around your body. Remember that late night fast food run? Well, by eating that delicious burger and letting the 500+ calories sit, you maintain extra unhealthy energy until it has a reason to exit your body. By engaging in cardio activity – any workout that gets your heart racing and sweat pouring – you are finally burning that fat off and putting those calories to use.
So, what is cardio exercise? It includes (but is definitely not limited to) kickboxing, running, dancing, biking or swimming. For those of you who have a gym membership, I highly recommend looking into group fitness classes. It’s a great way to have a fitness expert provide a guaranteed calorie-burning workout and force 1 hour of exercise on you. You can even switch up your routine by taking a strength training class one day and then Zumba the next!
But for those of you who don’t want to trek all the way over to the campus gym in the brutal snow, I have good news! It’s easy to get your fitness on right in your dorm room. My favorite iPhone app is Nike Training Club. You can choose from 15 to 30 minute plyometric workouts that definitely get your heart pumping – it’s like having a personal trainer on your phone!
And for those of you who don’t have a gym membership or an iPhone app, you have me. Here are some easy ways to get rid of that super extra cheesy concoction from the campus diner.
1. Squat Jumps
Begin in a low squat. Keep your feet a little more than hip width apart, arms clasped in front. Make sure your knees do not surpass your ankles. Sit low into your heels and pretend you’re sitting into a chair.
It really is as fun as it looks! Go ahead and jump up from your squat position. Power through your legs and jump as high as you can. Keep arms up, legs off the ground and core tight. Land back softly on your feet and back into the original position. You should try continuous squat jumps for about 1-2 minutes to feel ultimate gluteal and quad burning.
2. Mountain Climbers
Begin with your hands directly under your shoulders. Extend one leg outwards and keep one leg bent in. Keep your back flat and refrain from sticking your booty into the air. I think I was admiring the tanbark in this picture, but keep your head up and looking forward for a bigger challenge.
Now it’s time to climb the mountain. Keeping your arms in place, switch your leg positioning by jumping into it. Some people like to start in a plank position, bring one leg in and back out, then switch. I love extra intensity, so I add the jump-push in between.
3. Other options not pictured: Jumping jacks, high knee jumps, jumping rope, or running in place. They’ll all get your heart pumping and your fat burning off. Put these workouts into your daily routine and you’ll be bikini ready in no time.
Summer, here we come!
Got a problem area you want to tackle? Need some workout ideas? Tweet your questions to @jackelynho. I’ve got your back. And front. And sides.