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It's Never Too Late (Or Early) To Get Summer Fit!

by NAOMI TAKATA SHEPHERD

If you’re anything like us, summer means relaxing, watching and then rewatching "Game of Thrones," eating California burritos, and maybe having one too many rum and cokes. So despite our best efforts to get in shape for the summer and stay in shape, we may have slacked a little. Or at least gotten a late jump on the whole fitness thing for the season.

But we’re trying our best to encourage healthy lifestyles both for ourselves and our readers, regardless of the time of year, so we’ve put together a quick workout that you can change up and requires minimal equipment. What type of workout, you ask? HIIT (aka high-intensity interval training). Or Tabata. You’ve probably heard of it. We’ve tested it for the past couple of months and we’ve seen results we can report we’re happy with.

For this workout, we suggest creating a set of exercise flashcards that you can tailor to your own preferences or set out randomly for a workout surprise (sort of like Settlers of Catan, but you’re guaranteed to break a sweat and it won’t take three hours).

Our workout will be easiest to do with a Tabata App on your phone, which will allow you to keep track of your intervals easily. The idea behind this workout is that you have a pair of exercises picked out that you alternate between for four reps of twenty seconds each. Your goal is to do the exercises quickly, but as always, don’t forget that good form is important to avoid injury.

EQUIPMENT:

  • You

  • Phone with a HIIT or Tabata Timer App

  • 2 Weights (We stick with 3lb or 5lb) (optional)

  • Yoga Mat (optional)

  • Elastic Workout Band (optional)

  • Medicine Ball (8lb or 10lb) (optional)

THE PATTERN:

  • Exercise 1 - for 20 seconds

  • Break - 10 seconds

  • Exercise 2 - for 20 seconds

  • Repeat this sequence a total of 4x

  • Break - 30 seconds

  • Move on to a new pair of exercises

 
 

EXERCISES: Hover over the routine for a description of each exercise, or if you're on mobile, scroll to the bottom for a list!

Once you get really good, the whole workout can be a total of eight pairs of exercises. We’ve given you seventeen exercises, but you can always add more to choose from! We usually start with easier reps that require quick movements, like Side Slides or Toe Touches, to get us warmed up before moving onto some of the more challenging exercises, like Jump Squats.

Please remember, as with any new workout, take it in moderation. If anything does not feel good for you (aside from the usual strain of working out), modify these exercises and workout to suit your ability. If you’re unsure if you’ve got your form down and need a little extra instruction, try looking up videos of these exercises!

On a personal note, yours truly is still recovering from accident-related injuries and I have to modify this workout by sticking to four or five pairs of exercises, and sometimes, I forego weights altogether. I try to do this workout three to four times a week, but it depends on my pain levels. At the end, I like to finish my workout with a few yoga poses like downward dog, pigeon, mermaid, and triangle, to make sure my muscles get a release and I won’t be as sore the next day.

Good luck and remember Daenerys Targaryen and Jon Snow's a...abs are within your reach!

EXERCISE DESCRIPTIONS:

  • Sumo Squat Crunch - Start with your legs out in a wide squat and your arms in a “sit up” position behind your head. Straighten your right leg while bringing your left knee up towards your left elbow. Crunch your left side torso towards your left knee. Return to a squat and alternate sides.
  • Knee Ups - Run in place while bringing your knees up high.
  • Side Slides - These should be done in a crouch, knees bent, not extended past your toes. Crab slide from side to side using what space is available.
  • Plank + Leg Raises - Assume the plank position and raise one foot off the ground, alternating legs. To modify, you can do this on your elbows.
  • Trap Rows - Stand with your knees slightly bent, hold your weights with palms facing backward and arms straight, use a “rowing” motion to raise your elbows in line with your shoulders. Be sure to squeeze your shoulder blades together as you bring the weights up.
  • Squats - These can be completed with your feet stationary and your arms above your head, or you can do jump squats. Make sure your knees do not extend past your toes.
  • Punches - You can do these with or without weights. Keep your knees slightly bent. Start with your right fist punching straight out and your left cutting up. Alternate with each set of reps.
  • Toe Touches - You can do these quick toe touches with or without a step, remember these can be a great warm up to start your workout.
  • Lunges - Step forward with one leg and lower your hips until both of your knees are bent at a 90-degree angle. Alternate sides. To make it more challenging, try jump lunges.
  • Russian Twists - Sit with your legs bent and your feet off the ground. Twist your body to the right and to the left, alternating. Hold a weight or medicine ball if you’d like.
  • Brazilian Lunges - Start in a lunge position and then raise your back foot, bending your knee and then straightening it. Keep this foot off the ground for the full set as you alternate between bending and straightening it. Alternate sides with each set.
  • Side Planks + Leg Raises - Assume the side plank position and scissor your top leg so your legs form a “V.” To modify, prop yourself up on your elbow instead of fully extending your grounded arm. Alternate sides with each set.
  • Bicep Curls - Stand with your knees slightly bent. Hold your weights with your palms facing forward and elbows tucked close to your torso. Curl using weights or no weights, making sure to contract your biceps.
  • Leg V’s - Lie on your back with your legs up at 90-degree angle to your body. Keep this angle while lowering your legs into a “V” position, repeat. You can use an elastic band around your thighs to make this more challenging.
  • Step Ups - Use a step or staircase for this exercise. Step up onto the step and then back down quickly. This is a way to start your workout.
  • Downward Dog + Leg Raises - Assume downward dog, alternate raising your left and right leg to align with your torso.
  • Jumping Jacks - Please tell me you learned how to do these in grade school.

Photographer: Glen Cheriton

Naomi Takata Shepherd owns a small business, writes, designs, and directs film projects while working as a substitute teacher in the Bay Area. Her business, 6 Degrees of Hapa, is Naomi’s way of contributing to the diverse and ever-changing Hapa community. To see more of Naomi's work, check out @6degreesofhapa and her portfolio.