Get in Shape this Summer: Cardio and Nutrition by Hugo Rivera

The Two Ideal Times For Aerobics

Another important point is that in order for aerobic exercise to be an optimally effective fat burner it needs to be performed at the appropriate times. There are two ideal times that aerobic exercise is most effective for burning fat.

The ideal time is first thing in the morning on an empty stomach after drinking 16 to 24 ounces of water in order to prevent dehydration.

When performed at this time Swedish studies suggest that you can burn up to 300 percent more body fat than at any other time in the day because your body does not have any glycogen (stored carbohydrates) in the system to burn. Therefore, it has to go directly into the fat stores in order to get the energy necessary to complete the activity.

The other time that aerobic exercise is effective would be immediately after a weight training session as your glycogen stores have already been depleted. Because of this, once you start doing your cardio, you will start burning fat as soon as you elevate your heart rate since it is the only fuel that will be available.

When aerobic exercise is not performed first thing in the morning or right after the weight training workout, make sure that you wait three hours after your last meal so that you have some depletion of your carbohydrate stores. Otherwise it would take your body approximately 20 to 30 minutes to start burning fat because that is how long it takes the body to deplete its glycogen stores and switch to a fat burning environment.

How Much Cardio?

For this program, the most you will be doing is three sessions lasting between 20 to 40 minutes each at the most. For Weeks 1 & 2, 20 minutes of aerobic exercise per session should be performed. For Weeks 3 & 4, perform 30 minutes of aerobic exercise, and for Weeks 5 & 6, perform 40 minutes. You can perform these sessions on Wednesday, Saturday and for the quickest results an optional one on Sunday as well.

What Type of Cardio?

Good forms of aerobic exercise include:

1. Riding a stationary bike.

2. Fast walking (this can be done on a treadmill).

3. Climbing on a stair stepper.

4. Swimming

5. Using an elliptical fitness rider or rowing machine.

6. Using any good cardio tapes or even jumping rope.

7. Or any other form of cardiovascular activity that raises your heartbeat to the fat burning zone.

Note: If you choose fast walking as your cardiovascular activity, ensure that you move your arms in order to get an enhanced aerobic effect.


Body Sculpting Nutrition

Keep in mind that without a good diet, your chances of achieving your fitness goals and getting your abs are slim and next to none. Therefore, make sure that you put an equal amount of emphasis in your nutrition program as you do in your training.

A great diet, is a diet that contains all of the macronutrients listed below in the right quantities and ratios:

Carbohydrates are the body’s main source of energy, and on a body sculpting diet they should come mainly from complex slow releasing sources such as oatmeal, grits, brown rice, sweat potatoes in combination with fibrous sources such as green beans and broccoli. Approximately 40% of your calories should come from carbohydrates.

Proteins, the building blocks for all tissues in the body, should come from chicken, turkey, tuna, and lean red meats. Approximately 40% of your calories should come from proteins.

Fats, which are used by the body to manufacture hormones, lubricate the joints, brain function and other essential items, should mainly come from monounsaturated and polyunsaturated sources. Canned extra virgin olive oil and flax seed oil should be the main sources of these. Approximately 20% of your calories should come from fats.

This sort of balanced approach to dieting seems to work best for the purposes of losing body fat while gaining some muscle. Depending on whether you want to mainly gain muscle and bulk up or mainly lose body fat, you will simply adjust your calories upwards or downwards accordingly.

For more information on this topic, please take a look at the Body Sculpting Bible for Men and Body Sculpting Bible for Women..


Final Thoughts

After six weeks of following this program in conjunction with a sensible diet program (such as the Body Sculpting Bible diet) you should be in considerably better shape. Note that the program changes every two weeks in order to prevent the body from adjusting to it providing you with the fastest results possible.

If you train at a commercial gym and have access to a more varied selection of exercises, then feel free to cycle the exercises as you wish in order for a more varied stimulus to the muscle in addition to prevent boredom.

Once you go through the full six weeks, just start over with week 1. Since you will grow stronger over these six weeks, once you start the program again, your weights should be heavier than the ones you used before when performing 12-15 reps.

If all you want is to firm up and lose fat, this routine will do the trick. Try it out and that lean summer body will be yours in no time.

Also read Get In Shape for Summer Part 1 — The Basics and Get In Shape for Summer Part 2 — The Workouts.


HUGO RIVERA is an ISSA Certified Personal Trainer, engineer and international best selling fitness author with over 20 years of bodybuilding experience. He is also the New York Times Guide to Bodybuilding and continues to educate others on how to use bodybuilding in order to achieve their goals. Hugo is the author of Hardgainers’ Bodybuilding Handbook as well as the co-author of the best selling Body Sculpting Bible for Men and Body Sculpting Bible for Women.