The summertime is upon us and we are still trying to recuperate our bodies from all the halwas and barfis of the season gone by.
But no woman, no cry. I’ve come up with the perfect plan for you to get back that bikini-body that we all craving for this summer. This is my personal workout routine that I’ve been following religiously for the past two years. This routine is as simple as it gets with a variety of easy, at-home exercises and movements targeting specific parts of your body. It has worked wonders for me so far, and I’m sure it will do the same for you if you put in the effort! Start with performing 2-3 sets of each and slowly increase the sets over time:
1. STRETCHING, WARM UPS & COOL DOWNS:
The importance of stretching pre- and post- workout cannot be understated. Stretching loosens your muscles, making you more flexible and less prone to DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness), and also warms them up, giving you a proper head-start.
A few basic stretching exercises I do are:
a) Neck & shoulder stretch: This stretch relieves the neck and shoulder tension you get after sitting in front of your desktop for hours on end. Clasp your hands at the back of your head, pressing down your head towards your thighs with your chin to your chest. Hold for a few seconds and release. You can also clasp your hands behind your backside, gently tugging at each hand one by one.
b) Side Stretch: Stand upright with your feet close together. Now lace your fingers together and raise them above your head. Stretch out as far as you can, lengthening your arms, legs and back. Now slowly bend to your right side and hold for 3-4 seconds. Return to the upright position and repeat the bend to your left side.
c) Hamstring stretch: Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet and palms resting on the floor. Now slowly start straightening out one leg and lifting it up as far above you as you can. Hold in position for a few seconds and then slowly bring the leg down to its start position. Repeat with the other leg.
These exercises work just as well after your workout as a way to cool you down and relieve you of any soreness, and also let you maintain an overall good posture.
Cardio eats away at the fat and revs up your metabolism like nothing else, so the rate of fat-burning in your body is still high for hours after your workout. Some basic cardio exercises I regularly do are Running, Jump-rope, Jumping Jacks, and High Knees. These exercises don’t require any equipment and can be done without stepping out of the house.
For those of you who have just started working out or those returning to it after a long break, start with low-impact cardio exercises with short intervals. For regulars, you can increase or decrease the intensity of the work-out based on your level of stamina and endurance.
3. SQUATS & LUNGES:
My favourite! These exercises are the ultimate toners for your behind and will lift your spirits unlike anything else (once you’re done with your sets of course).
For squats, stand straight with your feet shoulder width apart from each other. Raise your arms in front of you parallel to the ground. Now slowly start bending your knees to a 90 degree angle with your hips moving backwards and keeping your back straight and heels grounded. Hold for 5 seconds and then slowly get back to the starting posture. Repeat until your glutes…hurt.
For lunges, get back into the standing position. Put your hands on the side of your hips. Now take a wide step forward with your right leg forming a 90 degree angle behind you at your left knee. Hold for a few seconds, and then slowly return to the starting position. Keep your back straight at all times.
Although most beginners can hardly pull off even one push-up, with the correct technique, you can master it over time and with practice.
If you are a beginner, you can start with counter push-ups, which use a waist-high countertop, like the edge of a kitchen counter, a table/desk, or even against a plain blank wall. Stand upright two to three feet away from the counter and put your hands out shoulder width apart. Reach for the wall or counter and place your palms on it. Lower your body towards the counter using your arms and keeping you back and butt flat. Hold for 2 seconds, and then push your body back to the start position using your arms.
Once you’ve gotten the hang of counter push-ups, you can start with the regular push-ups by simply replacing the counter with the floor and making sure you’re body stays straight and parallel to the floor.
A plank is a sure shot way to keep your core bulletproof. What I find really interesting is that planks are actually derived from Yoga as one of its foundational poses. This exercise works out about every muscle in your body.
Get into the floor-push up position. Now without lowering your body as you would do for a push-up, keep your body static, suck in your belly, keeping your back and the rest of the body straight, and hold for 20 seconds, making sure your body is always parallel to the ground. Increase the amount of time you hold the pose for as you build up your core. This exercise targets your arms, shoulders, back, and core. Practicing it regularly improves your overall posture.
Before you begin with your workouts, make sure you drink plenty of water. Keep some Gatorade on hand if you’re planning not to stop till you drop.
Equally important are your lifestyle choices, including your diet and sleep pattern. After all, you are what you eat, and your sanity is best kept in-check in dreamland. Jokes apart, good food habits and a regular sleep schedule factor in majorly when it comes to building and maintaining a good figure and routine this summer.
Go on and crank it up!
Outfit Details: Leggings, Tank & Sports Bra: Pretty Secrets, Shoes: Nike.
Photographer: Ankita Ambavale