When it comes to getting into shape, and maintaining a healthy diet, us women can all agree on one thing: It’s not easy.
And while he knows staying fit isn’t easy, Brian Calkins, personal fitness trainer and the president of HealthStyle Fitness, Inc. (HSF), is determined to make it more adventurous. He’s an instructor for Adventure Boot Camp, a franchise which is now the largest and most successful outdoor fitness program globally.
Adventure Boot Camp is one of many fitness programs provided at HSF, which is a private fitness studio that also offers one-on-one personal training. More recently, HSF began offering Adventure Boot Camp for Women to offer female-focused fitness instruction, nutritional counseling and motivational training.
The program lasts for four weeks and contains a rigorous one-hour workout starting at 5:30 a.m., and all the exercise is outdoors. It is designed to be fun but effective, as it gives you nutritional education along with the five-day-a-week exercise sessions and before and after evaluations so you can see your progress.
"There are many boot camps out there, and with any of them, you’ll likely see a positive change in your fitness level," says Calkins. "I’m partial to it, but I know that The Cincinnati Adventure Fitness Boot Camp is popular among women because it is a women-only, four-week, 20-session fitness program."
Calkins says women who participate usually see between a three and five percent decrease in body fat, lose five to twelve pounds and lose from one to three inches around their middle. But Calkins says he realizes Boot Camps aren’t for everyone, so here are some of his best tips for getting in shape for bikini season:
Apply the Right Nutrition
One of the most confusing aspects of losing weight is understanding the balance between eating the right foods and in the proper quantities. To keep energy high and blood glucose stable and allow your body to use fat as energy, eat small meals every 3 to 4 hours. Blend lean cuts of protein, whole grain carbohydrates and whole fruits and vegetables. Strive to have a small daily caloric deficit between 400 and 800 calories per day. If your deficit is too large, weight loss often backfires. Of course, eating more calories than you expend will add to your body fat stores. Be careful with what you drink…the average American drinks 450 calories each day, so simply replacing liquid calories with water could lead to a loss of nearly a pound per week!
Work All of Your Muscles Intensely
Focus on compound exercises like squats, presses and pulling movements that work multiple muscles groups to give you the best return for your time. An effective exercise session should not take more than an hour. With the right intensity level, you can even do 30-minute sessions from time to time. When working with your weights, shoot for muscle failure (feeling an intense burn in the muscle) on the final sets of each exercise. Remember, in order for the waist to be slim and the arms to look nice and toned, work them until you feel the burn!
Perform Cardio After Strength Training
Our bodies have two primary sources of energy: blood sugar and body fat. Strength training uses blood sugar and cardiovascular exercise can use either. If you perform your strength training prior to cardio, you’ll have less blood sugar available and more quickly use stored body fat to fuel your cardiovascular exercise. And when doing your cardio, if you can hold a conversation with the person next to you, you’re not working out hard enough. Go hard and reduce your time commitment. Remember, your time is already at a premium with all the other things you have to do to prepare for your special day, don’t waste time with long, unproductive exercise.
Too much stress leads to significant increases in the hormone cortisol, which in turn causes your body to store extra fat.