Champneys Blog

Ways to get into great shape for summer

Wouldn’t it be awesome to hit the beach feeling fit, energetic and confident in your body this summer?

Summer may seem a long way away, but now is the time to start preparing your body for the season or for an upcoming holiday on the beach.

There is still time to make this happen and here we asked some of the top fitness instructors and bloggers to share their tips about how you can get super-fit in time for the beach season as well as suggesting some spa, body and beauty treatments that will help.

Exercise and food tips

Plan your approach

Julia Buckley, who runs the website Julia Buckley Fitness, says it is vital for you to have an exercise plan that you stick to.

She says, “Most people don’t stick with exercise because they don’t have a plan. Doing identical daily workouts or wandering into the gym and doing “whatever” doesn’t get great results.

“You need a route map to get you to where you want to be. I usually recommend 12-week programs because I recommend reassessing your progress and goals every three months. If you’re following a well-devised plan, your body can change a lot in just a few months. If you’re not, it probably won’t.”

Eat lots of vegetables, protein and healthy fats

Champneys’ expert fitness instructor Becky Uterhark says it is important to eat the right foods as this plays a huge role in your health, strength and wellbeing.

She says, “Health, strength and wellbeing are the results from 70 per cent of what goes in your body and 30 per cent of what exercise you do.

“Make sure you're eating enough food, it's so old school to think 'if I miss breakfast and just eat at lunch and dinner, I'll lose weight' IT'S NOT TRUE! Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, lunch and dinner are also an important time to get your colourful veggies, protein and essential fats. And please remember to snack. It's all about making the healthier choices, cutting down on refined sugar and unnecessary 'junk foods'”.

Jennipher Walters, who owns the site Fit Bottomed Girls, also says eating the right foods is essential.

She added, “First, for meals, really focus on making sure that you're getting lots of veggies and that every meal has some protein and healthy fats to help you feel full and energized.

“Also, try to be really mindful of your true hunger and fullness levels as you go about your day. Try to really slow down and savour your meals.”

Julia Buckley also says that while it is important to train hard, it is just as important to eat protein to help your body recover.

She says, “When you train hard, in effect you damage your muscles. That’s how we improve and make progress - the muscle fibres rebuild and become stronger as a result.

“Your body needs nutrients (especially protein) to make these repairs and improvements which enable you to get fitter and keep torching fat."

Champneys’ Senior Nutritionist, Becki Douglas, explains what the different types of foods you should try to eat are.

“Vegetable carbohydrate substitutes can be a great tool for those wanting to cut down the calories and maximise the nutritional value of their meal. Try courgette lasagne sheets, cauliflower couscous, broccoli rice and even ‘’squaffles’’ (butternut squash waffles!)”


Go to the gym in the morning

Working out in winter is that little bit harder with the dark nights and mornings making it harder to leave your bed, but Carly Rowena, a well-known fitness blogger and personal trainer, says you should head to the gym in the morning.

She said in an article about winter workouts, “If you’re struggling to find the motivation to venture to the gym after work switch it over to the morning, it will seem hard the first two times but then the benefits of getting to bed earlier the night before, feel good endorphins and time to yourself in the evenings will make it worth it.

“Plus you’re far more likely to eat better the rest of the day as you know how hard you’ve already worked instead of eating everything in sight with the mind-set that you’ll sweat it out later.”


Mix your workouts up

Sometimes workouts can feel more like a job than fun, so it is important to vary your workouts up.

Champneys’ Becky Uterhark says, “As we come in to spring the layers of clothing become less and skin starts to see the daylight, this is the time we think 'maybe I should have started my work out a little sooner'.

“So don't delay, just get going and create new active and healthy habits to help you feel more confident this summer. Aim for full body, functional exercises that engage the core and work muscles in all directions. Use your body weight and free weights to help to build muscle, which will in turn, burn calories faster than fat does.

“Try to get a balance of cardio vascular exercise and weight training (which includes your own body weight) to challenge the body and be pushed out of your comfort zone.”

Fit Bottomed Girls’ Jennipher Walters, agrees, “For workouts, mix things up and add in a HIIT session a couple of times a week and don't be afraid to pick up the heavier weights. Muscle is your friend! Lastly, do it for you - not the swimsuit.

“Focus on how great you FEEL when you take care of yourself. How great you look on the beach is just a perk to how much energy you have.”

Julia Buckley agrees as varying your training will help keep it exciting.

She says, “Vary your training. This helps keep boredom at bay and reduces your risk of injuries which are often caused by too much repetition of the same movements.

“It also maximises results by ensuring all your different muscles get fired up and that your body doesn’t get comfortable with one type of exercise.”


Stay hydrated

Another important consideration you need to think of is staying hydrated throughout the day, especially if you are going through a fitness program.

The Senior Nutritionist at Champneys, Becki Douglas, said, “As summer approaches and the weather warms up, staying hydrated is vital to help regulate appetite and maximise the body’s fat burning capacity. Aim for at least 2 litres of water daily (NOT including tea and coffee).

“Herbal and fruit teas are fine however as these are free from stimulants and diuretic chemicals that can actually dehydrate us. To make water more appealing try using an infuser bottle and add flavours such as fresh citrus fruits, mint leaves, muddled berries or fresh ginger.”

Workout at home

If you are put off joining the gym as there are too many people or you are a bit shy, then you can start your own gym at home.

Carly Rowena, says, “Don’t fancy joining the hordes of newbies in the gym? Make some room in your bedroom, living room or even your back garden and have some fun creating your own workouts. Kids are always running around using their bodies, find your inner child and go crazy.”

There are lots of ways you can do exercise at home and here are some we suggest:

•Use a step for tricep dips
•A bath towel can be used for a bent-over row or for a resisted push up
•A wall sit is a great way to tone your legs and your core


Exercise hard

Anyone can go to the gym, but if you really want to lose weight and get in great shape for the summer months then you need to work hard.

Fitness instructor Julia Buckley, adds, “I’m always urging my clients to ‘go harder, not longer’. For maximum fat-burning, body-sculpting results, forget steady types of exercise that you can maintain for long periods. You need varied, intense workouts that leave you totally spent, ideally in less than an hour.

“Trundling along at a comfortable pace for ever longer durations or distances may suit some people’s goals, but when folks come to me wanting results in fat loss and body shape changes it’s time to say goodbye to their comfort zone.

“Step it up and work at an intensity that truly challenges you. That’s when changes will happen.”


Keep a diary

It is important not to just set an end goal, it is much more beneficial to have smaller targets that run alongside your ultimate aim.

Julia Buckley, adds, “My clients all keep training journals where they record the weights used and reps for every training session – try it. That way you can see at a glance how you performed previously and use that information to set yourself session targets.

“No one hits all of their session goals every time, but there’s usually at least one move that you make progress in. You’ll probably find you push yourself that bit more when you do this, plus you get to feel like a winner every time you train!”


Foods to avoid

Now that we know what foods we should eat, it is important to know what foods we should avoid and here Becki Douglas, our senior nutritionist, says the types of foods you should dodge.

“Try to banish the ‘beige’ and get some colour into your diet! Eliminate refined carbohydrates like white bread, pasta and cereals and minimise processed sugar. These nutritionally deplete foods, are low in fibre, vitamins and minerals and can actually act as ‘anti-nutrients’ which means they leach other vital nutrients from our system. They’re high in calories but low in satiety value so we have to eat a lot of them to feel full. This is counterproductive to weight management.

“Refined carbohydrates also cause unbalanced blood sugar levels which can in turn make us feel tired and groggy and leave us craving more sugary quick fix foods.

“Instead, maximise your intake of plant based foods like brightly coloured fruits & vegetables, whole grains, pulses, nuts and seeds. Alcohol, caffeine and sugary drinks should be minimised and you should be flushing your system with plenty of water, diluted vegetable based juices and herbal teas.”


Go heavy to lose weight

If your aim is to lose weight then it is important to lift heavy weights for low repetitions rather than doing lots of repetitions using light weights.

Lifting heavier weights will improve your metabolism and make you stronger, while light weights with high repetitions is something you should do to improve your endurance.

Julia Buckley adds, “You’re stronger than you think. Don’t ever tell yourself your weak and you can’t pick up weights. You can and you’ll be amazed at the difference it makes.

“The muscle tissue you add to your body will speed up your metabolic rate and make fat loss easier along with giving you a sexier, sculpted shape to be revealed as you strip back the fat. Strength training helps women and men get leaner, stronger and healthier. So pick up those dumbbells, put your plans into practice and start shaping up for summer now.”


Attend classes

At Champneys we offer a variety of different fitness classes and they are a great way to not only get fit, but to meet new friends.

With all the different classes available you may find that there are too many to choose from. However, if you are looking to get into great shape then there are a few that will really benefit you.

Becky Uterhark, who takes a number of our classes as part of our fitness services, adds, “I would suggest getting yourself to Body Sculpt for whole body toning, Pilates for core strength, HIIT classes for your cardio and strength and Zumba for summer party vibes.”


Recommended recovery treatments

While working out hard will help you get in great shape for summer, it is also important to give your body time to rest and recuperate.

This is why during your training program you should consider going to luxurious day spas to help you recover physically and mentally. Here we take you through some treatments that will help you recover from a hard gym session.

Sport massage
According to an article on Men’s Fitness, research has proven that a massage after a workout helps your muscles recover faster.

Here at Champneys we have a selection of massage treatments and our sports massage is the perfect remedy to relieve muscle pain and tightness.

Our experts will give you a firm-handed, deep tissue massage, which is perfect before or after exercise.

Aromatherapy associates inner strength body massage
This all over body massage involves deeply nourishing oil and wax and includes face and scalp massages, steam inhalation and a foot cleanse.

This massage will not only help your muscles recover, but will relax your mind and soul.

Elemis freestyle deep tissue massage
The deep tissue massage we offer at Champneys is a dynamic blend of oils being applied to the pressure points on your body through a firm massage.

This massage will help sooth aching muscles and will reduce tension in these muscles as your therapist applies relaxing deep pressure.