Farmers may roll over the seasonal calendar in December, but with the the sunshine Mother Nature has been delivering across the country, I'm prepared to call it – summer is as good as here. People are smiling more. It's warm and sunny. It's Australia at its best.
Apart from flies, sunscreen and sand between your toes, we all know what summer really means - time to lose the spare tyre around the midriff. We're racing towards boardshort/budgie smuggler/bikini season. Are you ready?
OK, OK, I won't bust your chops for the warming wines and comfort food that got you through winter, because in six to eight weeks you can be ready for the silly season, followed by holidays at the beach. It's not as hard as you think. Look good, feel good, and increase your health. Here's how.
Ladies and gents alike love to behold toned arms. Guys? If you want to build some serious guns, Google 'hypertrophy training' – total time under tension for your biceps and triceps is what you're seeking. For the rest of us looking for tone, tailor the tuckshop arms with this simple workout: 150 jump-ropes (find one with weighted handles – Nike has a good one) straight into 15 push-ups, 15 bodyweight squats, 12 bicep curls into a shoulder press, and 15 tricep dips.
Rest between circuits, and perform it three, four or five times. Your arms will feel that lovely burn – that's how you build tone.
The health of your skin comes from the inside out. Replace sugary drinks with Earth's favourite elixir – water. Cut the processed foods and eat a clean, natural diet. With those simple steps, Mother Nature provides a detox without pills, powders or potions.
Consuming a can of cola and one energy drink per day adds up to almost 10,000 calories per month (+40,000 kilojoules) via too much sugar and additional chemicals. Get water in your system and your skin, eyes and face will glow with energy.
A lean tummy
Exercise will tone your abs, while your diet creates the window to see them. Here's a lean-up cardio session: 200 jump-ropes straight into 20 burpees, into a 100m sprint at 100 per cent effort. Walk back to the starting point and repeat three or four times.
Since you've already ditched the fizzy drinks, your abs will also love giving up that morning banana bread (600 calories/2500kjs) and nightly chocolate bar (260 calories/1100kjs) for good. That's another 27,000 calories (113,000kjs) saved per month.
A tighter back and bum
The masses are obsessed with abs, chest, and arms, while neglecting the posterior chain. Strengthen and tone your back and glutes by incorporating exercises such as squats, deadlifts, pull-ups (or lat pull-downs), and seated rows. For men, a strong, tighter back means a balanced body – your chest will naturally lift from its kyphotic posture caused by 9-to-5 desk jockeying.
Ladies, imagine if your back was toned and tighter? Try this now. In your chair, sit upright, and bring your shoulder blades together. Yup – your chest lifts. You've just achieved a boob job, without the $10,000 credit card bill. Thank me later.
You can't have a toned body without strong bones. Mother Nature provides us with the sun's rays that are loaded with Vitamin D – needed for the formation, growth and repair of bones, and to avoid the common cold. Walk in the sun, exercise in the sun, and relax in the sun because it's healthy. Just avoid the middle part of the day, eh?
Look, we all (me included) are not destined to grace the cover of a glossy magazine, so stay positive. Look good, feel good, and be positive. The pursuit of a perfect body is boring – but pursuing then maintaining a healthy, lean body is exciting.
Some of us will do it for vanity, while some of us will do it for healthy, long-term weight loss. Your reason is unimportant – your commitment to your health and your body is.
Don't have the time? No worries. Mother Nature is changing the clocks for us this weekend, too. Any other excuses can be flushed down your nearest toilet.
There's a few workout tips above with some lifestyle-changing advice – simple stuff, and it's not as hard as you think. Ladies, you can thank me with a hug. Gents, a firm handshake will do just fine. One last tip? Drink less alcohol during the week, so you can enjoy a few more weekend, post-beach drinks when we all deserve them.
Happy, healthy summer to us all.
What do you do to get your body into summer shape?