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Nicole Rakowski

Nicole Rakowski

Nicole Rakowski, an accomplished entrepreneur and fitness expert, has risen to prominence at the young age of 31. As the co-founder, Chief Fitness Officer, and Strategic Industry Expert of Fitsentive, she has been recognized for her exceptional contributions in the fitness industry, earning a coveted spot on NYC Journal's Top 40 Under 40 list in 2024.

Rakowski's innovative approach to wellness has revolutionized how individuals engage with fitness through Fitsentive, a cutting-edge fitness app. Beyond her entrepreneurial success, she is a competitive athlete, and published cover model. As an internationally renowned keynote speaker and TED Talk presenter, she is a source of inspiration for aspiring entrepreneurs worldwide.

Despite facing adversity in 2017, Rakowski's resilience propelled her to success. Pursuing a PhD in Health Management at McMaster University, she continues to push boundaries in her field. Committed to promoting health and wellness, she actively shapes government policies and advocates for mental health awareness.

Follow Nicole on Instagram @rakowskinicole

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Too Late to Get Shredded for Summer

Getting shredded for the summer may seem like a daunting task, especially as the warmer months approach. However, it is never too late to start working towards your summer body. In fact, the timing may just be perfect! As the temperature rises, many individuals find themselves re-motivated to focus on their fitness goals. While this can be an exciting time, it can also be overwhelming for some. Fortunately, there are several tips and strategies that can help you get ready for summer in a timely manner without stressing out.

One common source of stress when it comes to preparing for summer is the belief that one will not be ready in time or will not be lean enough for the season. It is important to recognize that these feelings are normal and that you are not alone in experiencing them. Rather than worrying excessively, try to embrace the journey towards a healthier lifestyle and maintain a positive mindset throughout the process.

Here are some tips towards a healthier lifestyle for the summer!

Tip #1: Avoid Setting a Strict End Date

While you may find deadlines motivating, in many cases, they can lead to unnecessary stress. It’s essential to view this journey as a positive and enjoyable experience in which you are making sustainable changes to your daily routine for the betterment of your health and well-being.

Instead of focusing on a fixed end date, shift your perspective towards building lifelong habits that contribute to your overall fitness and health. This approach not only alleviates the pressure of an impending deadline but also fosters a more relaxed and enjoyable process. Celebrate small victories along the way, such as improved stamina, increased strength, or better dietary choices. These incremental successes can keep you motivated and focused on the bigger picture. Moreover, remember that fitness is a journey, not a destination.

Tip #2: Avoid Making Drastic Diet Changes

Sudden, extreme alterations to your eating habits are more likely to trigger binge-eating behaviors. Instead, focus on gradually cleaning up your diet and making healthier choices. Remember that food is meant to fuel your body, not serve as a form of therapy. By approaching dietary changes with a balanced and mindful mindset, you are more likely to achieve long-term success.

One effective strategy is to start by identifying and eliminating processed foods and sugary snacks from your daily meals. Replace these with whole foods, such as fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains. This gradual shift not only helps in adapting to healthier eating habits but also ensures your body receives the necessary nutrients to support your fitness goals. Additionally, consider planning your meals and snacks ahead of time. Meal prepping can reduce the temptation to make unhealthy food choices when you’re hungry and pressed for time.

Tip #3: Stay Hydrated

Ensuring you are well-hydrated is also crucial for achieving a healthier you. Drinking plenty of water has numerous benefits, including improved digestion, enhanced recovery after exercise, and increased feelings of fullness. Hydration is key to supporting your body as you make changes to your eating habits and engage in physical activity. If you struggle to stay hydrated, consider incorporating a supplement like PVL’s PRO H20 product into your routine to help maintain optimal hydration levels.

Hydration has always been a critical aspect of fitness and health, dating back to the early days of physical culture. In the 19th century, pioneers like Eugen Sandow emphasized the importance of proper hydration to maintain muscle function and overall health. Fast forward to the mid-20th century, bodybuilders like Arnold Schwarzenegger and Frank Zane continued to highlight hydration's role in achieving peak physical condition. Today, the emphasis on staying hydrated is backed by extensive research, underscoring its necessity in supporting not just physical performance but also overall well-being.

Tip #4: Don’t Forget Cardiovascular Exercise

Incorporating low-impact cardio into your fitness routine can also be beneficial for fat loss. A study by Willis et al. (2012) found that low-impact cardio exercises, such as walking and cycling, can effectively help in burning fat without putting excessive stress on the joints. This type of cardio can be especially useful for individuals who are just starting their fitness journey or those with existing joint issues.

By incorporating low-impact cardio exercises into your routine, you can effectively burn off fat and improve your overall fitness level without risking injury or excessive strain on your body. Remember to consult with a fitness professional or healthcare provider before starting any new exercise regimen to ensure that it is safe and appropriate for your individual needs.

One question I get asked at least once a day is “what should my heart rate be when trying to burn fat?” I tell my clients that the optimal heart rate for fat loss is between 60-70% of maximum heart rate. This range has been proven to be the most effective for burning fat while still maintaining cardiovascular fitness. There are also individualized heart rate zones based on factors such as age, fitness level, and overall health.

Hall of Fame Bodybuilder and four-time Mr. Olympia Champion Jay Cutler once said, “Understanding your heart rate zones is crucial for optimizing fat loss. Training in the right zone ensures you're burning fat efficiently and not just working harder without results.”

Understanding your fat-burning heart rate is essential in achieving your fitness goals, especially when aiming to get shredded for the summer. To determine your target heart rate, you can calculate your maximum heart rate by subtracting your age from 220. For instance, if you are 30 years old, your maximum heart rate would be 190 beats per minute. This number represents the highest rate at which your heart should beat during exercise.

The American Heart Association recommends a target heart rate range of 50% to 70% of your maximum heart rate for moderate exercise and 70% to 85% for vigorous intensity. Starting at the lower end of your target heart rate zone is advisable when beginning an exercise regimen, gradually increasing intensity as your body and heart become more conditioned.

Maintaining a moderate-to-vigorous exercise intensity can help you enter the fat-burning heart rate zone, facilitating fat loss. Incorporating strength training into your routine can also boost your metabolic rate, leading to increased calorie burn even at rest. By consistently working out at an appropriate intensity level, you can enhance cardiovascular health and promote fat loss as well.

It is important to distinguish between a fat-burning heart rate and a cardio heart rate to understand how to push yourself effectively during various exercises. Different heart rate zones are based on percentages of your maximum heart rate and can help optimize your cardiovascular health. These zones include the lower-intensity zone (50% to 60% of max heart rate), the fat-burning zone (60% to 70% of max heart rate), and the aerobic (cardio) zone (70% to 80% of max heart rate). Each zone offers unique benefits and can aid in achieving your summer body goals.

Ultimately, staying consistent, dedicated, and motivated throughout your fitness journey is key to preparing your body for the summer season. By incorporating these tips and strategies into your routine, you can effectively work towards your fitness goals and enjoy the transformation that lies ahead. Remember to embrace the process, make sustainable changes, and find enjoyment in becoming a healthier version of yourself. Start your journey today and reap the rewards of your hard work.

Tip #5: Enjoy The Process

Lastly, it is important to find enjoyment in the process of becoming a healthier version of yourself. While phrases like "enjoy the process" may seem cliché, they hold true. Research has shown that individuals are more likely to adhere to a fitness routine when they find activities that they genuinely enjoy. Remember that burning calories can occur in various forms, not just in the gym. Explore different physical activities and hobbies that keep you motivated and engaged.

Remember that while achieving a shredded physique for summer may seem like a daunting task, it is never too late to start working towards your fitness goals. By following these tips and strategies, you can effectively prepare your body for the summer season in a timely manner without feeling overwhelmed. Embrace the journey towards becoming a healthier version of yourself and maintain a positive mindset throughout the process. Remember that consistency, dedication, and enjoyment are key components of achieving your summer body goals. Get started today and enjoy the transformation that awaits you!

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