So the sun has been shining and there’s more to come. If you’ve got some seaside or holiday time lined up there’s still time to get a beach-ready body to be proud of. With a bit of effort you can have a body that turns heads for all the right reasons, and not the wrong ones.
Whilst there are all sorts of muscle-specific exercises you can do, and all sorts of magical quick-fix remedies and advice on the internet, still the route to getting a ripped and fit body involves reducing your overall body fat percentage through diet and regular exercise. Having said that, here are a few pointers and exercise-specific tips to help you look less like Humpty Dumpty, and a bit more like Popeye; just in time for getting into your Speedos.
Loose the moobs
Moobs otherwise known as man boobs are a result of the male chest becoming enlarged, technically known as gynecomastia. In the majority of cases, moobs are a result of obesity and excess body fat, although in some cases they may result from an inherited trait, excessive alcohol use, use of certain drugs, particularly anabolic steroids, or the result of dramatic weight loss causing the excess skin left behind to sag. The bad news is that there’s no magical exercise or quick fix to get rid of them, and the only true way to get rid of the excess fat from the chest area is to lose weight overall through diet and exercise. However, the good news is that your weight loss efforts can be complimented by chest strength building exercises to build up muscle tone and improve overall appearance.
To firm up your chest area, you’ll need to incorporate a mixture of cardio exercise and strength work; by toning your upper body you’ll end up standing straighter which in itself will reduce appearance of breasts. Exercises which will strengthen the chest muscles include incline chest press and plank walk-ups (start from plank position and lift your whole body up by moving arms up to push-up position and walking arms one step back before lowering body back into traditional plank position).
In addition to eating less and more healthily, try eating six small meals each day instead of the usual three. This will boost your metabolism and the fat burning process. Some research also suggests that incorporating turmeric into your diet on a regular basis can aid weight loss as it reduces insulin resistance and is an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory in nature. Some also believe it concentrates fat burning to the chest area so is worth a try if moobs are your problem area.
Get a six-pack
A six pack refers to the way in which abdominal muscles, when they’re toned and not covered in any stomach fat, can appear to be in six segments, and achieving a six pack often a sought after goal when it comes down to male body sculpting. However, achieving a well defined set of abs isn’t going to happen overnight, and even the most toned abs will be invisible to all if they’re covered in a layer of fat. Losing excess body fat through diet and exercise is the first step; and building up muscle strength is the second. Exercises such as sit ups and crunches will work the abdominal muscle group. For added work you can hold weights whilst doing sit-ups or do them on an incline bench. Other abdominal specific exercises include the leg lift, jack-knife sit-ups, static plank, and pull ups on a bar work the abdominal muscle group as well as the arms. Win-win if you can do it!
Bulk up your arms
Well defined, strong looking arms are a must for the prefect beach body, or in fact any situation where you’ll be stripping off and wearing less. Maybe it goes back to the hunter gatherer days, but strong arms equal strong man, and strong arms are a great way of showing off overall strength in an instant. In contrast, to the man boobs problem, there are specific exercises that you can do to build up that particular muscle group. Add the following exercises to your routine and you’ll be popping out of your T-shirt.... at the sleeves and not at the belly. Standing dumbbell curls work triceps and biceps. Beginners should aim for 3 sets of 8 reps. They involve standing with your feet shoulder width apart holding a pair of dumbbells by your side, and keeping your palms facing outwards as your curl the dumbbells up towards your shoulders, moving the lower part of your arm only. Once they’re at chest level push them up over your head and then return to the starting position. Dumbbell curls done on a bench at an incline of 45 degrees are also a great way of building arm muscle.
Chin-ups or pull-ups on a bar will work the biceps and beginners should aim for 3 sets of 6 reps. Use a fixed bar to pull yourself up until your chin is higher than the bar, then lower yourself back down slowly. If you’re not used to exercise you may find this one quite hard, but keep on at it because the more strength work you do, you’ll keep getting stronger. Tricep dumbbell extensions are another good arm exercise and beginners should aim for 3 sets of 8 reps. This involves holding the dumbbells over your head with wrists facing inwards. Lower the dumbbells behind your head so that elbows are pointing in the air. Reverse the action back to the starting point.
Although it may be tempting just to work purely on your arms, it’s important to remember to build up all the muscle groups at the same time, so don’t use it as an excuse not to do a decent amount of cardio or ignore other important areas such as your core strength, and legs. Huge arms look a bit strange if the rest of the body is relatively small and weak. And as with any strength work, recovery time is essential to allow for muscle repair and growth. If you’re not sure what weights to start with, it needs to be enough that it feels pretty hard going towards the end of the first set, and by the end of the last set should feel quite a struggle to lift. Once you’ve mastered that weight you can progress by either increasing the weight, or the number of reps and sets.
Getting a fit, muscular and well defined body is going to take work, knowledge and patience. Eating less calories and a healthy, well-balanced diet, doing regular cardio exercise combined with strength work to build core muscles, as well as specific muscle groups, will pay off in the end. But if you’re worried that the summer will be gone by the time you reach your goals, don’t let that put you off. Any exercise that you do will benefit your body in some way or another. Add to that the feel good hormones you get after a workout, you’ll be surprised at how much your body confidence will increase, so even if you don’t quite look like David Beckham, you might feel like you’re not far off, and that confidence will go a long way to how you carry yourself, as well as how you are perceived by others.