As I write this post, pool season is just around the corner.
When you walk on that pool deck for the first time this year, you want to show off the best version of yourself, and try not to get injured in the process.
That extra fat you're carrying around from hibernating for the last few months isn't going to help you do that, unless you're just really set on winning the splash contest.
Here are three keys to getting your body ready for pool season.
Focus on Fat Loss First
If you want those muscles to pop when you're lathering on that sunscreen, you'll want to reduce your body fat percentage before anything else. No amount of lean muscle looks good if it's hidden by a layer of fat.
Fortunately, fat loss can actually happen pretty quickly by just making a few daily habit adjustments.
First, lean out your diet. Focus on eliminating sugars, alcohol, and carb heavy foods to reduce the number of calories your body is taking in. Drink water, coffee and tea if you can handle it. Drinks add up to a lot of calories and fat gain.
Then, switch to lean sources of protein such as eggs and egg whites, grilled chicken and steak, turkey, lean beef, etc. Add more veggies, nuts, and sweet potatoes, etc to your meals, and keep snacking healthy or to a minimum.
This will quickly eliminate several pounds of bloat and inflammation. Typically in about 2 weeks of this, you'll be 5-7 pounds lighter.
Check out our Fat Loss Cheat Sheet for a quick one-page guide of the nutrition tips above.
Second, add in physical activity to increase your calorie burn. In this step, we want to try to keep your body burning fat, and also prime it for more intense exercise and training.
If you're already pretty active, you can probably skip this step and just focus more on your nutrition.
Here are a few activities you can do:
- Jump rope for 15 minutes a few times a week. Do 40 seconds on, and 20 seconds off for intervals
- Go for a 20 minute walk a few times a week
- Do pushups, air squats, situps, pullups, and any other body weight exercise for 20 minutes, 3 times a week
- Mix in a high intensity battle rope workout
- Do 5 sets of 20-30 kettlebell swings
Check out these Cardio Products from the Active Living Store to help you:
- iPhone Running Armband
- Basic Adjustable Cable Speed Rope
- High Velocity Metal Bearing Speed Rope Kit
- Black 1.5" Home Gym Battle Ropes
- RQ8 Bluetooth Wireless Headphones
Make sure to continue your healthy eating whlie you work on adding in physical activity. Don't fall victim to feeling like you've earned the right to eat poorly. You can't outwork a poor diet.
Do this for a couple of weeks and then add the next step.
Check out our Fat Loss Cheat Sheet for a quick one-page guide of the training tips above.
Add Strength Training for Your Pool Muscles
Typically at the pool, you're going to be showing off your upper body, so it makes sense to focus a little bit more on areas like your arms, back, chest, and shoulders, aka your pool muscles.
As much as I hate to say it, isolation exercises like curls, lateral raises, butterflys, tricep extensions and lateral rows can all make your pool muscles pop.
Ideally, you have access to a few cable machines or dummbells to do these exercises, but if you don't, a resistance band set will do just fine. Resistance bands can actually be really beneficial for strength training because they keep your muscles under constant isolated tension.
You can also do body weight exercises such as pullups, chinups, and pushups to challenge these same muscle groups.
Feel free to add in a few compound exercises as well, such as 5 x 5 sets of squats (you can't always skip leg day), deadlifts, and bench presses.
If you're keeping your calories in check, you probably won't add much muscle to your frame, especially in just a few weeks, but the added strength training will go a long way to adding more definition to your body for pool season.
Check out these strength products from the Active Living Store to help you:
- Door mount chin up bar
- 11-piece resistance band set with travel case
- High tensile strength resistance bands for pullup assistance and strength training
- Adjustable weightlifting wrist wraps for wrist support
Increase Your Overall Body Mobility
The last thing you want to do when you're at the pool is hurt yourself when jumping off the diving board or playing with your kids. I've done the first once before, and will probably do the second at some point in my not so distant future, although I'll try my damndest not to. :)
Getting your body moving and adding a little bit more mobility to your frame can prevent embarrassing disasters like this from occurring. Aside from that, everything just feels better when you can move your body well.
While mobility training might sound a little bit "woo woo" and boring, it doesn't have to be. It can actually be kind of relaxing and fun!
Here are a few suggestions to get your body moving a little bit better:
- Taking a few weeks of yoga classes can actually be pretty fun, and a nice new challenge. Or you can use a website like DoYogaWithMe to guide your training for free.
- Getting a few massages can help loosen up tight muscles and knots that you didn't even know were there. Plus, they're super relaxing.
- Rolling out your muscles with a foam roller once in the morning and once at night can do wonders for overall body mobility
- Use a set of resistance bands for stretching. Kelly Starrett has a bunch of great videos on his Youtube Channel, or you can subscribe to his website for $10
Check out these Mobility Products from the Active Living Store to help you:
- Smooth High Density EVA Foam Roller
- Massaging Hollow High Density Foam Roller
- Latex Resistance Bands for Mobility Training
- First, get your nutrition under control to begin fat loss
- Then, add some light activity, and continue your good nutrition habits
- Then, add in strength training to increase your muscle definition
- Finally, add in mobility training to get your body moving well
Make sure to check out the gear in the Active Living store and share this post with the buttons on the left if you liked it.