12 steps to a fantastic beach body
By Ellen Tordesillas, VERA Files
Video by Mario Ignacio
You have your plane tickets. You have made the hotel reservations.
You are all set for fun in the beach. But, is your body ready for it?
Three physical fitness personal trainers – Angie M. Miranda and Jensen G. Centeno of Fitness First, Mall of Asia, and Christian S. Cerezo, formerly of Fitness First Southmall and now a freelance PT, say it’s never too late to start getting in shape.
Centeno says the lure of the summer breeze is a good excuse to start going to the gym. Or to those who regularly workout, intensify one’s exercise regimen.
The three share tips, that coupled with proper diet, will help you achieve the body worth a second glance when on the beach. In the video, they show several variations to the basic exercises like lunge or squat in order to give options, depending on one’s capability to perform the activity.Miranda demonstrates variations of lunge and squat to work on the legs, buttocks, and arms.
To do a lunge, position one leg forward with knee bent and foot flat on the ground while the other leg is positioned behind. Do it alternately.
To do a squat, start from a standing position. Move the hips back and bend the knees and hips to lower the torso and accompanying weight, then return to the upright position.
Centeno shows several variations of planking, including the spiderman push up. The most common is the front plank which is done holding a push-up position with the body’s weight borne on forearms, elbows, and toes. The plank does wonders to the abdominal muscles, back, and shoulders.
Centeno also demonstrates crunch to tone the abdominal muscles. To do a crunch, lie down face up with knees bent. Curl the shoulders towards the pelvis. You may place your hands behind or beside the neck or crossed over the chest.She also does the leg raise to work on the lower abdominal muscle. To do a leg raise, lie down on your back with your legs stretched out in front of you. Slowly raise your legs keeping your toes pointed. Slowly lower your legs to about an inch off the floor. Slowly raise your legs back up to the ceiling.
For added fun, Miranda and Centeno, who are both nurses, perform wood chop and sit up with the use of a medicine ball.
Wood chop, inspired by the farmhand’s act of chopping wood, works on abdominals, lower back, quads, and shoulders. To do wood chop, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your knees in line with your feet. Hold the weight (you can use a dumbbell or other kinds of weight) with both hands on the side of the thigh, then twist your torso to the side. Lift the weight up and across your body with straight arms. For those who want to push further, Centeno adds burpee, a four-step squat thrust.
Sit up begins in a lying position with the arms stretched out straight behind your head. Simultaneously flex at the hips and curl the abs to raise the legs and torso off the floor. Bring the hands to meet the feet.
Repetition is the key to effective exercise. Miranda and Centeno suggest that the exercises be done 10 to 15 times in three sets.
Cerezo, who is a physical therapist, demonstrates Bicep Curl, Shoulder Press, Bent Over Row, Bench Press and Triceps Kickback, which target the upper body.
Bicep Curl. It can be done with either barbell or dumbbell. Holding a dumbbell in each hand, stand with your feet as wide apart as your hips. Let your arms hang down at your sides with your palms forward. Curl both arms upward up to shoulders. Slowly lower the dumbbells back to your sides.
Shoulder Press. Position dumbbells to each side of shoulders with elbows pointing towards the floor. Press dumbbells upward until arms are extended overhead. Lower to sides of shoulders and repeat.
Bent Over Row. Using a barbell, bend knees slightly and bend over bar with back straight. Pull bar to upper waist. Return until arms are extended and shoulders are stretched downward.
Bench Press. Lower the weight (barbell or dumbbell) to your chest. Press it back up until your arms are locked.Triceps Kickback. Holding a dumbbell in each hand with the palms facing your torso, bend your knees slightly and bring your torso forward, by bending at the waist, while keeping the back straight until it is almost parallel to the floor.
Bring your arms back so that they are straight by your side, also parallel to the floor. Inhale as you bend your elbows bringing the dumbbells forward to your shoulder. Exhale as you straighten your arms back up.
Cerezo recommends to do each of the five exercises eight times in drop sets – a technique of doing the exercise in three sets continuously using a lighter weight for each successive set. Example: start with 15 lbs, then 10 lbs, and lastly, 5 lbs.
For a more effective workout, it’s best to get a personal trainer to design and closely supervise your exercise program.
Cerezo says discipline and focus are important in keeping fit. “Set a goal and focus on achieving that goal even if it’s just shedding off a few pounds in a period of time,” he says.
Miranda says one should make it a habit to work out four to five times a week. Centeno adds that time spent in the gym “nurtures the passion for fitness.”
Once you are out there under the sun, Cerezo says, “Forget about weight, shape or size. Just enjoy. Feel good and you will look good.”
Miranda stresses that keeping fit should not end when summer is gone. “Continue the habit of working out to maintain good health,” she says.
(VERA Files is put out by veteran journalists taking a deeper look at current issues. Vera is Latin for “true.”)
(Miranda and Centeno’s exercises were shot at Fitness First MOA while that of Cerezo were done at Doc and Dex Smart Body Gym at BF Resort, Las Piñas.)
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