Virgin Active’s Master Trainer Tom Atkinson has come up with a series of tips that’ll help you lose some unwanted flab and tone up. Not only that, but these guidelines will help improve your metabolism, utilise fat stores, increase testosterone production and leave you feeling great.

What should the first part of my routine be?

Putting a routine together isn’t always straight forward but also isn’t rocket science. Try not to let your workout last much longer than an hour and don’t get caught up chit chatting – you’re there to work out. If you don’t know how to do an exercise, look it up online to get an idea of the movement then ask a Virgin Active Personal Trainer to help and demonstrate then observe your technique. The most important thing to do before attempting any activity in the gym is to warm up.

So I should do the stretches I used to do at the start of my school sports classes?

At school you probably stood around counting to seven whilst stretching out your quads. That is known as static stretching, and in most cases you should never do that before working out. Instead, always make sure that you do a dynamic warm up – this way you guarantee you’ll get all your body fully mobile and activated before the work out. Dynamic stretches include bodyweight lunges, walkouts going from standing into press-ups, fire hydrants, striders, jumping jacks and squats. These all take less than a minute to look up and watch how to perform but will have you ready to hit the gym hard.

Okay, I’m limbered up. It’s now time for the treadmill, right?

Your cardiovascular training is best saved for the latter stages of your session (more on that in part 3 of this summer fit series). The first exercises you should perform are your heavy, taxing compound lifts – this will be when you’re at your peak strength, rather than trying to lift weights after tiring yourself out on the cross trainer. Start with one or two compound lifts either on their own or as a superset (one after the other, such as squats straight into bench/dumbbell press, or deadlifts followed by an overhead press). Lifts, such as the squat, deadlift, bench press and overhead press are great for your summer body. Not only will these give you the size and shape that you want, but adding strength training to your routine will increase the testosterone and growth hormone production that is key for both fat loss and building some nice muscle.

Check back for part 2 when Tom will tell you about getting the beach body arms and abs.

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