Fall Fitness Plan
Now that school’s in session, it's time to get that body back
During summer, every day feels like a holiday. There’s so much fun to be had, but between parties, cookouts, graduations, birthdays, vacations, it is very hard to escape those extra calories. “During summer, people begin to regress from exercising and move towards a more relaxed style of living,” says Donovan Green, personal trainer to Dr. Oz and a fitness coach at Oxygen Fitness in New Canaan, a full service 3-level boutique fitness and wellness facility. As a result, many of us gain weight from overindulging. This means that the arrival of fall—and the need to fit into our jeans—comes as a shock. But take heart: there’s an easy way to get back on track.
Below is a simple weekly program designed by Green to jumpstart your fitness routine this season:
Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday:
Start with some cardio work. Run outside, take a spin class, go walking, or jump rope for 30-45 minutes with maximum effort. This means your heart rate will be elevated and you’ll feel winded.
Thursday and Friday:
Do the strength training routine below for 30-45 minutes. Keep in mind that weight-bearing exercises are crucial for building bone density, particularly for women. Be sure to keep your abs engaged during these moves:
Start with the lower body
Hold a dumbbell between 5-25 lbs. (based on your strength and ability) in each hand. Begin with your arms straight and down by your sides:
Reverse Lunges: 15 reps on each side. Step backwards to get into the lunge, then step forward to bring your feet back together.
Standard squats: 15 reps. With your feet hip distance apart, lower your seat and “sit back” as if you’re in a chair, then stand up.
Calf raises: 20 reps. Start with flat feet, raise up high onto your toes, then lower back down onto flat feet.
For the upper body
Lighten your dumbbell weights so they are between 5-12 pounds each.
Hammer curls: 12 reps, both arms together. With palms facing inward and elbows at a 90 degree angle in at your sides, bend at the arms and raise your hands up until they touch your shoulder, then bring arms back down to 90 degrees, like you’re using a hammer.
Tricep kickbacks: 12 reps, alternating your arms. Lean forward into a lunge position so that your chest is parallel to the floor. Bring your fist up to the side of your thigh. Extend your arm back behind you until it’s straight, then bring your fist in so it touches your shoulder, and extend back out.
Arnold presses: 12 reps, both arms together. With your palms at eye level, facing into you, press above your head until arms are straight, and while doing this turn your palms forward, so you see the back of your wrist. Lower your arms down so palms face into you.
Saturday and Sunday:
Rest. Allow your muscles to respond and heal for 48 hours.
While these exercises are great to jumpstart your metabolism and get you into the mindset of working out again, physical activity isn’t the only thing to focus on. “Besides exercise, nutrition is 80% of the picture,” explains Green. “People fail to get or stay in shape because they fail to eat properly,” he says. To refine your diet, Green suggests adding, not taking away, the following foods: whole grains like quinoa and bulgar wheat, legumes like beans which contain protein and fiber and keep your digestive tract healthy, green leafy vegetables like parsley, kale and spinach that are high in iron, and folic acid, zinc and minerals which strengthen the blood.
Also, beware of alcohol — it sneaks body fat into your system very fast. “If you break it down, there are 7 calories per gram of alcohol, and around 180-250 calories per glass,” notes Green. Try to minimize alcohol intake by replacing it with lemonade or seltzer. Booze isn’t the only culprit that can sabotage someone’s diet. When asked about how to handle sweets, Green simply says, “Minimize and control how much of this you eat instead of completely depriving yourself. If you try to quit altogether, you’re gonna lose.”