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Get in Shape this Summer, with these Ideas

The time to put on a bathing suit and head for the beach is coming soon enough. The question is: Will you be ready? Personally, I have to admit last winter provided its fair share of discontent, and now there are a few extra poundsspilling out over the top of my boxer shorts. In fact, the very thought of walking around a crowded beach in my bathing suit is enough to make me break out in hives. Unless I keep my XL Gator T-shirt on at all times, somebody is likely to mistake me for a beached whale and stick a harpoon in my side.

Now, straight from his home office in West Palm Beach, Fla., here's Raphael's top-10 tips for a simply sizzlin' summer:
1. To lose fat and get trim, try alternating exercise activities during the week.
Sometimes I fall into the trap of doing the same exercise routine over and over. Of course, other times I go for weeks without doing any exercise other than sixteen-ounce curls. But anyway, the point is that Raphael recommends changing your exercise routine at least every 4-6 weeks.

2. We're all busy people, but the longer days and extra sunlight should keep us extra motivated.
Unless you make it a priority in your life, it is easy to feel like there just isn't enough time to exercise. However, during daylight savings time, you should take some advice from that popular 60s song and "let the sunshine in." When you find yourself really pressed for time, Raphael suggests trying three 10-minute workouts spread through the day. Believe it or not, three 10-minute bursts of activity can be just as effective as one 30-minute exercise session.

3. Take yourself off the beaten path.
As the poet said, sometimes taking the road less traveled can make all the difference. Yes, I realize that Robert Frost wasn't referring to exercise, but his advice still applies. Now that spring is in full bloom, why not go to a state park and hike on the weekends? You can alternate this with the strength training and cardio you complete at the gym or home during the week. Hiking and climbing burns a lot of calories and actually helps to boost your metabolism.

4. The Weighting Game.
If you really want a fit body for summer, Raphael recommends: (a) performing weight training two to three days per week for 30 brisk minutes, (b) doing cardiovascular exercise three to five days per week for 30 moderate minutes and (c) slightly reducing your intake of calories.

5. Don't be afraid to try something new outdoors.
Try a variety of outdoor recreational activities, and you'll be more likely to burn fat while having a great time. If you are adventurous enough to give it a whirl, Raphael recommends purchasing a pair of roller blades. "It may take you a few weeks to feel comfortable, but I guarantee you'll enjoy rollerblading in the sunshine and listening to great music on your head phones," Raphael says.

6. Spend a day at the park.
No, we're not talking about going to the ballpark, although that is also an important summer ritual. Raphael recommends finding a park near you with an exercise path. Such parks usually contain fitness stations that require you to complete push-ups, sit-ups and lunges. "Most of these courses only take 20 minutes to complete, but they can be repeated to extend exercise time."


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  3. Great Ideas ! Thanks for sharing ...