4 essential fitness tips to get you ready for summer


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So many of us feel the fever of the sun and warmer weather and want to get a jump-start on our summer beach bodies. With so much fitness information swirling around us, how do we know what to do?

I see clients of all different ages and fitness levels, and there are a few basic tips and principles that help everyone make their workouts — and day-to-day lives — more efficient. Here are four of my favorites. If you follow them, you’re sure to experience more benefit from your fitness life.

1. Think about your abs all of the time

Connecting with your core can be very difficult, but it’s one of the most important aspects of exercising correctly. Without engaging your core muscles, you’re in danger of hurting your back and using different muscles than those you wish to target. Having a strong core will not only help you move more efficiently in your everyday life, but it will also help you look great in a bikini this summer.

Try these tips:

  • Always think of actively engaging your abdominal muscles while you do everything in your fitness workout. For example, while you lunge — pull in.
  • Try not to push your ab muscles out but rather pull them in toward the spine. Don’t just focus on your six-pack but pay close attention to your deep lower abs.
  • Use opportunities in your everyday life to remember to pull your abs up and into your spine — even while crossing the street!

2. Use the mirror (or feedback from others)

Sometimes we believe we’re doing an exercise correctly only to find out that we are horribly wrong. Correct form is so important for avoiding injury and targeting the right muscles.

But how do we fix this? Good instructors can watch everyone in their classes and give great feedback — but not all instructors are that capable. Take matters into your own hands and try to monitor yourself. Look at yourself in the mirror. See if your feet, knees and hips are lined up correctly. Listen to the cues your instructor is giving and check to see if those cues match what you’re doing.  If not, play with the ways you can adjust yourself. Once you are working correctly, pay close attention to the way your body feels. Over time, you’ll do all of this automatically without a mirror.

3. Pay attention to posture

Believe it or not, poor posture can restrict your breathing and leave you feeling tired and cloudy. It can also limit the movement of your joints and muscles and lead to problems like painful nerve impingement and even injury. Proper posture is necessary to attack your fitness routine correctly — and it has the added perk of making you seem more confident and in control.

Here are some basic posture tips:

  • Stand with your shoulders rolled back and your chest slightly lifted.
  • Pull your abdominals into your spine, but don’t restrict your breathing or the movement of your rib cage.
  • Don’t let your pelvis tip forward — but don’t tuck it under either. Feel your abdominals supporting you with your pelvic spine long and balanced.
  • Try to reduce tension in your extremities. Aim for free and direct movement without forcing it.
  • Check yourself in the mirror! Does everything look open, lifted, and balanced?

4. Listen to your body

Ignoring the signals your body sends you can lead to exhaustion, burnout, and injury. We all want to hit the gym hard to get quick results, but too much enthusiasm and intensity can work against us. You want to test the limits of your muscles, but back off any time you feel a sharp pain — or a snapping sensation in your joints. Don’t go as hard in your workouts if you’re exhausted or famished since this can lead to sloppy form and injury. (Try eating a small snack!) And pay attention to what your body loves to do. Chances are you’ll want to continue engaging in that kind of exercise for a long time and even make it a part of your long-term fitness lifestyle.


Mahri Relin is the owner and founder of Body Conceptions. She is a former trainer for Tracy Anderson Method, and creative director for FlyBarre. Mahri is also a NASM Certified Personal Trainer and Corrective Exercise Specialist, in addition to a AFPA Pre/Post Natal Exercise Specialist. She also holds a masters in Clinical Psychology. Through her Body Conceptions method, Mahri has helped men and women — from youth to pregnancy, menopause, and beyond.