If you guys have never met anyone who lives and breathes fitness, we’d like to introduce you to Kira Stokes. Creator of The Stoked Method and trainer at her Stoked Series classes here in NYC, Kira is one of our favorite trainers around. Aside from exuding #ABGOALS and whipping our butts into shape on a regular basis, Kira is full of helpful knowledge when it comes to working out. We asked her to give us some tips on getting back into shape for summer, and here’s what she told us:
1. Find Your Baseline And Set New Goals:
New seasons (especially ones that involve less clothing) are a great time to check back in with your body and fitness level. Pick a series of simple bodyweight exercises that challenge all your major muscle group and set your baseline by performing them now, and again four to six weeks from now. For example:
a. How many push-ups you can do until failure.
b. How long you can hold a plank.
c. How may sit-ups you can perform in 60 seconds.
d. How many lunges you can complete with proper form in 60 seconds.
e. How long you can hold a wall-sit for until failure.
f. How long you can jump rope for or how fast you can run a mile.
Keeping tabs on your fitness with a goal of improving these numbers will help hold you accountable and motivated to stick to your routine.
2. Sweat It Out :
With the summer months approaching, it’s time to pick up the pace of your cardiovascular routine and “shock it to rock it”. Take a moment to assess whether you are truly challenging your heart during your workouts or just spinning your wheels. Steady state has its place in a routine, but your heart needs to be challenged just like every other muscle group to make an impact of your physique. If you are a runner, add a few sprints throughout the course of your mileage. If you typically hit the elliptical, every 8-10 minutes jump off the machine and add 3 minutes of jumping rope. The intensity of your cardiovascular routine is just if not more important than the length of time of your sweat session. Allow yourself to feel uncomfortable. That’s where change happens.
3. Make Every Second Count:
Turn your strength training into circuit training, or as I like to call it, High Intensity Training. Take your workouts up a notch by taking turning your rest time into active rest meaning, allowing the focus muscle group to rest but igniting other muscle groups. Implementing core work such as planks, sit-ups, hollow holds in between sets is a great use of your time. Another option is to sneak in some extra cardio by jumping rope, performing jumping jacks, mountain climbers, high knees – anything that increases your heart rate and keeps you engaged and energized. Every second and calorie burned counts.
4. Mind Your Muscle:
Try starting your workout by taking a moment to look in the mirror, set your intention and truly FEEL each muscle group; literally put your brain into each major muscle group and connect with them one by one – flex your triceps by straightening your arms, contract your biceps by curling, engage your glutes by squeezing your butt cheeks (like you have a check for a million dollars in between them and you have to hold it there), and so on and so forth. Once you’ve prepped your body in this manner, to put your brainpower into the focus muscle groups of each exercise you conquer. There is a massive difference between just passing through movement and truly minding your muscle. The latter produces results.
5. No Tech Zone:
Put down the phone and pick up your intensity. We are all guilty of checking Instagram, Facebook, and texts during our workouts. Before you know it, you’ve wasted 10 minutes of your workout and your mojo. Make your workout tech-free time, the one time throughout the course of your day where you disconnect with the world to 100% connect with your body, no distractions allowed. If you want footage of your workout (or in my case shoot a “#SMOTD – Stoked Move Of The Day”) or feel the need to take that gym selfie to prove your workout happened, plan ahead and leave and few minutes at the end of your workout for dedicated “tech-time”.
6. Eat Breakfast Like A King And Dinner Like A Pauper:
Consume the majority of your calories the first half of the day, and go light the second half. Fuel your body for activity, not for sleep.
7. Start Your Day With Warm Lemon Water:
Warmer weather is a great time to start this habit as in addition to the many digestive benefits, it’s quite refreshing! Make sure the water is purified and lukewarm and use fresh organic lemons, and drink first thing. Lemon water helps flush away toxins left from the digestive process – think of it as an anti-bloat agent. It also helps reduce inflammation, boosts energy and mood.
8. Get Your Protein Fix:
After killing it in the gym, it’s important your muscles are given the proper fuel to recover. Being prepared with a protein shake post-workout is a great way to ensure you’re on the right path to refueling properly – it’s a good habit to get into. Try not to think of this shake as a meal replacement, but rather re-fueling. Keep it simple – water, ice and a scoop or two of your desired protein powder (depending on your needs) will do the trick without loading on calories.
9. Fine Tune Those “Beach Muscles:”
Strength training should always be an integral part of your fitness regime, but it’s also important to zone in on areas where you may be showing a little more skin in the coming months. Working your muscles in a fine-tuning endurance fashion will round out your hard work with heavier weights – build it (strength training), burn it (cardio) and tone it! Think donkey kicks, booty band and core endurance work, shoulder and triceps exercises with light weights, high reps – toning exercises where you hone in on specific muscle groups and feel the burn (depleting muscles of oxygen). Barre classes such as Stoked C3BarreMAX are a great option for this kind of programming.
10. Get Outside:
Changing your workout environment sparks inspiration and motivation. When that change includes enjoying nature and some mood boosting Vitamin D, the opportunity for finding creativity and endless energy is everywhere!