8 Weeks to Summer Workout Plan: Your Ultimate Guide to Fitness and Nutrition

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Picture this; your friends hit you up and they are going to the beach to soak up some rays and go for a dip. You’ve worked hard for the past 8 weeks and this is it. The big reveal nobody even knew was coming. People have commented here and there:

You look different, have you been hitting the gym?

Your meals look so healthy lately, it seems like you are really serious about getting into great shape!

You’ve pushed yourself for this and now they are going to see the result. 

You get to the beach, and you get down to your swimming attire. 

Whoa!” they exclaim, “Look at you! You look amazing! We knew you were working hard at this, but WOW!

And that could be you in 8 weeks. 

But, it won’t be easy. No matter the goal, there is always going to be a degree of personal sacrifice to achieve something great, and this is no exception. It doesn’t have to be complete suffering of course, but it does take acceptance of a certain level of discomfort that will have to be endured. 

And 8 weeks goes by in a blink. But, with the right plan, persistence, and committing to the work that needs to be done, you can achieve some incredible results in just 8 weeks. So let’s have a look at what it takes. 

Download Your 8 Weeks to Summer Workout Plan, Here!

Nutrition – How much does it matter?

We can work all day every day in the gym, but if we don’t have the cornerstones of a solid nutrition plan in place, then it can go unnoticed by most.

That isn’t to say that there is no benefit and that there will be no noticeable changes at all, but it won’t be as dramatic as it could be. And let’s be honest, we are going for dramatic here. A grand entrance!

Most of us when we think of a beach body, think of a reasonably lean physique, that looks strong and healthy, and maybe even like we are a force to be reckoned with. That may not be a bodybuilder, but perhaps an athletic build or just a body that looks capable of a challenge or any adventures that may call to us. 

A body like that needs to be fed for the qualities we want. And to achieve a level of leanness that shows all of that hard work, it may take some adjustments to lean down a bit, to perform well, and to support you feeling good, while also leaving a bit of room for fun. 

Calories Count

It starts with calories. Not enough and the struggle will be greater than it needs to be and at worst, detrimental to results. Too many and we make gains, but likely not where we want to. Either way, unless the goal is to stay the same, there always has to be a shifting of balance here.

Less than we burn if we want to get leaner. More than we do if we want to increase our size. Neither is right or wrong and will be up to the vision that you are trying to make a reality. It is but clay to a sculptor.

8 weeks is not a lot of time, so more so than a goal with a longer timeframe. Consistency is going to be necessary here. With shorter time frames there is less wiggle room, as there is less time to smooth out any bumps in the road.

This doesn’t mean we need to be a recluse, but it may mean some self sacrifice, and focusing more on the company than the menu when navigating social settings over the next 8 weeks. 

To start with, you will want to have an estimate of your own calorie and macronutrient requirements and what your targets would be for your goals. 

Not sure what your calories should be? No worries, use our free calculator.

Free Macro Calculator | Macros inc

If we are starting from a place of wanting to get leaner, then we are going to need to establish a deficit of calories, meaning we are burning more calories than we are consuming

This forces the body to turn to stored energy in the form of fat deposits as well as glycogen (stored carbohydrates) to cover the deficit in calories from food. Think of it like the body’s overdraft on a bank account. It is there to cover us when there isn’t enough funds in the account and a bill needs to be paid. 

The more we have to lose, the greater our overdraft, and the leaner our starting point the smaller our overdraft. Where we end up in 8 weeks will depend on three things.

  1. Our starting point or how much we have to lose. The less we have to lose, the slower fat loss should be.
  2. How aggressive our deficit is.
  3. How consistent we are in sticking to our deficit. 

Targeting fat stores is our aim when striving to get leaner. 

Let’s say we want to lose 8 pounds of bodyfat in 8 weeks. 1 pound of stored fat is equal to 3500 calories. So to lose 1 pound in a week we would need to consume 3500 calories less than we require over that week, and the body will then turn to those stores to make up for the deficit of dietary energy coming in. 

The simplest way to do this is to just eat 500 calories less per day than we need. However, how the deficit is distributed matters less than the deficit itself. Whether it is spread out over 4 days or 7, if we consume 3500 calories less than we need in a week, we will lose 1 pound of primarily stored fat, so long as we are consuming enough protein and resistance training which protect against muscle loss.

You can find an in depth guide for tracking macros here. For the purpose of this plan we will just touch on the most important points.

Protein Matters

Of the three macronutrients protein is the most important. Especially in the maintenance of lean mass, as well as promoting muscle gain. Unlike carbohydrates and fat, protein is the only macronutrient that we have no storage capacity for, and therefore we must rely entirely upon our dietary intake of protein to meet our daily requirements.

We can store carbohydrates as glycogen in the muscles and liver, and fat within adipose tissue, and these can be utilized when dietary intake of either is below our needs. Whereas protein needs are satisfied entirely by how much we consume in a day and if we don’t consume enough, we break down lean mass to free up amino acids for various uses. 

So, if you want to build muscle, and definitely if you don’t want to lose muscle, you want to make sure that protein is a priority. 

Fats and Carbohydrates

When it comes to carbohydrates and fats, we have a bit more flexibility. 

For most people unless they are participating in sports or very strenuous activity daily, making sure to be perfect with carbohydrate and fat intake is not really necessary. Even with intense, heavy strength training, simply eating a reasonable amount of carbohydrates every day, will more than cover your daily needs for performance and recovery.

As long as you are within your calorie and protein targets, carbohydrate and fat intake can fluctuate and the final outcome as far as fat loss, will be the same. 

However, when it comes to health, how you’re feeling day to day, managing those hunger pangs and energy dips, and how we incorporate carbohydrates and fats into our diet, does make a difference. If any of those things are a concern, then choosing mainly whole, minimally processed, nutrient-dense foods, such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains, is going to be your best bet at supporting all of the above. 

That does not mean that you can’t or shouldn’t enjoy indulgent treats, just that if you want to feel and perform your best, you don’t want the majority of your calories coming from them. It is not that these foods are bad, they are not. It is more that they are deficient in many vitamins and minerals, and while we don’t want to exclude any foods, we do want to include foods that do supply those nutrients.

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Download our macro-friendly cookbook, here.

While 8 weeks is not a long time when aiming for lofty goals, it can be when it comes to trying to stick to the plan to get there. We don’t want you saying no to life in the meantime, and that means being able to enjoy time with friends and loved ones.

So then, how do we navigate social settings while staying on track? It definitely doesn’t require carrying around a cooler of tupperware containers or a gallon jug of water. Just a bit of awareness and presence, and sometimes a little forethought.

Managing Social Situations

It definitely helps if you have advance notice and the ability to make adjustments in other parts of your day to accommodate for the unknown when it comes to meals out.

For example, if you’ve been invited over to your parents house for dinner on the weekend, you can plan your other meals that day to focus on a decent amount of protein, and more filling, lower calorie foods, such as fruits and vegetables, to leave a bit more room to enjoy the dinner and balance out the overall calorie intake for the day.

What might that look like in practice? It can be as simple as something like:

  • Meal 1: A breakfast bowl consisting of, one whole egg, two egg whites, a mix of vegetables, such as, onion, mushrooms, peppers, tomato, spinach, etc, with seasoning of your choice, and a light drizzle of chipotle sauce.
  • Meal 2: A protein shake and mixed fruit bowl, or perhaps a 0% Greek yogurt, with a scoop of vanilla protein powder mixed in, over a mixed fruit bowl.
  • Meal 3: Mom’s famous Spaghetti, with a salad you brought for everyone, and a glass of wine.

And if you want more of Mom’s famous Spaghetti, you can always ask for a plate to take home. After all, Mom probably loves sending you home with food and the fact that you love it so much you asked for some to go!

If you randomly get invited out with friends and decide to go, that can be fairly easily navigated as well. 

Keep it Simple

Simple dishes are always the easiest to modify and tailor for your needs or goals. Things that typically consist of something like a grilled protein, seasonal vegetables, and a starchy carb like a pasta, potato or rice.

You can control calories a little easier, by asking them to hold the starchy carb, double the vegetables and steam them rather than sauteing them. 

Food Volume

This keeps your overall volume of food similar, while swapping out the more calorie dense starchy carb with lower calorie, fibrous veggies, and eliminates the oil in sauteing. If you ask for any sauces to be on the side, this also allows you more control of the amount that goes on as well, and you can still get the flavor, without a lot of the extra calories if the dish normally piles on the sauces

Low Calorie Alcohol

If you do decide to have a drink, spirits with low or no-calorie mixers will still allow you to partake without many added calories from sugary mixers or higher calorie beers such as IPA’s. Just be aware that alcohol itself is calorie dense at 7 kcals per gram, and can also influence our behavior and decisions as our inhibitions drop.

But as you can see, it is possible to balance goals and a social life!

Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate

Hydration is another aspect of nutrition that should not be neglected. Even mild dehydration can cause a decrease in both cognitive and physical performance and can be mistaken for hunger at times. This doesn’t have to be complicated though either. 

The easiest way to tell if our hydration is adequate, is to just pay attention to urine color. With the exception of the very first time you go each day, it should be very pale yellow to almost clear. If that is the case, then you are doing great! 

Of course during exercise or activities that promote sweating, or when in hotter environments, we may need a little more fluids, so keep that in mind and remember to drink a little more around these conditions. 

Most fluids, with the exception of alcohol and some fluids with diuretic properties, such as dandelion tea, will contribute to hydration. So there is a wide range of ways to get your fluids in, such as plain or carbonated water, tea, coffee, sodas, juice, milk, plant based milk, and even the water contained within vegetables and fruits can help with fluid intake. So don’t feel you are limited to only water if you have other preferences. 

Following the basic principles in this guide and using our Macro Calculator is a great place to get started on the road to your goals. We’ve also got an awesome community on Facebook full of like-minded individuals.

Everything You Need To Know About Training

Any plan that is going to get you beach-ready, has to involve training! This one is no exception. To get the most out of training though and see the results you want, we can’t talk about training without having a discussion around how to get the most out of it, and to see continued progress.

8 week to summer workout plan

Download Your 8 Weeks to Summer Workout Plan, Here!

Training can be a very complicated topic, but it doesn’t have to be. Whole books have been written on the simple principles of it, and they all essentially come back to the same conclusion. Our bodies adapt to the demands we place on it. 

So if we want a kickin’ bod’, we have to train and eat in the ways required to see that result! Luckily it doesn’t take training 7 days a week or spitting out anything that tastes good to get great results, contrary to popular belief.

Before we get into the details, let’s get a couple terms out of the way so you aren’t left trying to make sense of initials when interpreting the program.

Reps: 

Short for repetitions, this is the number of times you perform an exercise through it’s full range.

So using a dumbbell bicep curl as an example, starting with your arm in a relaxed position at your sides, palms facing forward, you would curl the dumbbell up from the elbow, drawing your palms towards your biceps then once you reach the top, reversing the motion and under control, lower the weight back to the starting position. 

That would be 1 repetition. You would then repeat this for the number of reps designated for this exercise. Once you complete the minimum number of reps, you have completed one set. 

Sets: 

The number of times you complete a grouping of reps for an exercise, taking a rest between each set, to allow muscles to recover sufficiently to perform the next set.

Rest: 

This is a period following the completion of each set, where you are not performing an exercise, in order to allow the body to perform the work required of the next set.

Many people neglect this period and try to rush through their workouts, but research shows that longer rest periods of up to 2-3 minutes, and in some cases longer, result in an increased number of reps performed in the next set, and more consistency of effort set to set.

This equates to more volume, and that equates to superior strength and muscle gain. Do not neglect your rest periods if you want the best results. Setting a timer can be useful, and the time can pass a little quicker as well as helping to keep body temperature up and increasing total calories burned by pacing near your work station. 

RIR: 

Repetitions in reserve. This is the number of repetitions you should feel you could still have performed at the end of a set of reps. (Think of it as miles left in your cars gas tank)

So if an exercise is prescribed an RIR rating of 2-3, this means that you should feel as though you could have completed another 2-3 repetitions, before you were unable to perform any more. 

Why would you not train to failure on every set? 

I’m glad you asked! What a great question! Well much like failing to take adequate rest between sets, training to failure on every set, actually reduces the number of repetitions you can complete on subsequent sets, which can reduce your total volume, and actually result in inferior results. I know that isn’t what you’re here for. Right?! 

Typically more complicated movements such as multi-joint movements (or compound movements as they’re sometimes called), like Barbell Squats, Deadlifts, Barbell Bench Press, etc, we leave a bit more reps in the take for the sake of safety, as these movements carry more risk of injury when taken to failure.

For lighter, single joint movements, or machine movements, where the machine has safety failsafes it is a bit easier to push a little further and get closer to proximity of failure, but still not necessary to take an exercise to complete failure.

Progress with Progressive Overload

With those terms aside, the biggest principle we want to focus on is Progressive Overload. This sounds very technical but it really just means “more work over time”. This can be achieved in many ways, and does not just mean increasing weight lifted.

Our bodies adapt to the work we put it through, and increasing the total volume of work performed is the main factor, and of course that work should be challenging us in some form. 

8 Weeks to Summer Workout Plan

Now, if you have downloaded our plan, you will have noticed that on weeks 1-4 of the program, there are 3 sets of each movement, and then in weeks 5-8, some movements increase to 4 sets, while most of the rep ranges increase.

This alone, even if the weights never changed, would increase the volume of work you are doing per session and per week. And regardless of whether or not weights were increased, as long as they were still a challenge, you would be progressing in both strength and muscle size. 

People are hasty to add weight to the bar, often before they are truly ready, and in doing so, they may sacrifice technical form, and open themselves up to injury. Especially when training on your own, personal safety should be a priority and weights should only increase when it can be done safely. 

Rep Ranges without any Changes?

Accompanying each movement, you will see there are rep ranges. 8-12, 12-15, 15-20, and so on. Those rep ranges stay the same for the first 4 weeks, then increase in the next 4 and stay the same for those 4. 

The idea is to select a weight for each movement, that challenges you to reach the lower end of those ranges for all sets, at the start of each 4 week block. From there, the goal is to be able to perform at least 1 more rep per set, each session. 

Once you can perform all sets at the higher end of each rep range, and only then, you can increase the weight to the next increment. So if you are using dumbbells, you would go up to the next increment, for example if you were using 35 pound dumbbells for a dumbbell bench press, you would increase to 40. Then, once you can reach the high end of the rep range for all sets, you may increase again. Rinse and repeat. 

On the final 4 weeks, the only changes are an increase in some sets, and all rep ranges. So before you add weight going into week 5, complete each session before deciding whether it is necessary yet, as by default, there will be a fairly significant increase in total volume, simply by adding those sets and reps. 

Wait, my exercises are still the same?

The movements themselves remain the same for the full 8 weeks. This is by design. People tend to change movements too frequently, due to the false notion that you have to “confuse the muscle”. You do not. 

In fact, doing so can actually slow your ability to track and make progress. If you are swapping out exercises too frequently, it is hard to know if you are actually progressing in strength, due to the fact that you aren’t recording an exercise long enough to see whether you are improving in your ability to handle higher loads, or perform more reps with the same load, both of which are indicators of improvement. 

Practice makes perfect

Not only that but you aren’t performing the movement enough to become truly proficient at it, and therefore increase your ability to perform that movement well. Because practice makes perfect. 

The better you get at an exercise, the higher your ability to perform that movement will be, and the more effectively you will be able to add load and volume. If you are just getting good at an exercise and then you switch it out either due to the need for excitement, or the idea that you should, you are robbing yourself of gains in strength and muscle growth. 

Consistency, not novelty

While you should enjoy your training, constantly seeking novelty may be what keeps you from reaching your ultimate goals. Instead the focus should be on selecting the program and movements that are going to achieve the results you want. 

Olympic lifters perform the same few movements, for years, never rotating them out of their training and become world class lifters in doing so, because they become the best in the world at that specific movement. 

They make progress year after year, not by changing movements, but by prioritizing structured increases in training volume and structured lower activity periods to facilitate rest and recovery, which is another crucial factor to progress. They do add in complementary, lighter movements that may rotate, but overall, their training looks very much the same for years.

Now, a word on cardio. Okay, maybe a bit more than a word. 

The most successful programs from both a health and results standpoint incorporate a mix of both resistance training and cardiovascular training. From a health point of view, looking great doesn’t mean too much if you can’t jog across a parking lot without keeling over. You don’t just want to look good, you want to perform great too. 

You are sedentary.

Yes – even you.

Most of us have fairly sedentary jobs and spend a lot of hours immobile at a desk, and then relax by chilling with a good book or chipping away at our Netflix list. So we don’t tend to burn a lot of calories or get a lot of physical activity. 

This makes purposeful movement all the more important to take care of our tickers and to stay ahead of the battle of the bulge. The nice thing is, unless we are aiming for a specific goal such as being able to run or conditioning for a sport, simply finding an activity you enjoy and getting in some sustained moderate intensity movement is all that we really need to do.

That may mean getting outside and going for a brisk walk with a friend.  Playing frisbee at the park with your kids. Watching a couple of episodes of one of those shows on your Netflix list while pedaling away on a stationary bicycle. Heck, doing laps around the mall while window shopping and people watching! It all counts. 

Doing something you actually enjoy and can consistently make the time for is what is going to drive results more than choosing something that feels terrible, you will find every excuse to avoid, and dread the thought of. 

Cardio for Health

Interspersed between the training days on the program, we have some cardio days built in, along with some ab work (y’know, for the beach), and although they are labeled as cardio, the main thing is making time to get in some regular activity on these days, and if you can, challenging yourself a bit with the pace of whatever activity it is that you choose to fill this time with. 

Splitting up the training and cardio, and placing the ab work on the cardio days, makes the schedule a little more manageable, by keeping the time commitment per session a little shorter. However, if it is easier for you to do fewer, but longer sessions each week, you can absolutely combine the two cardio and ab days, with your upper and lower body days, to condense everything and free up time if needed on the days between. 

There is no right or wrong here. So long as you maintain the same amount of training volume, how it is distributed across the week won’t change the end result.

On the days of the week where you don’t have training or cardio, simply aiming to get in some sort of active rest, and move a bit on your days off, can help immensely in keeping on track and achieving a bit more caloric burn. It might be a good time to tackle chores around the house, like spring cleaning the garage, and closets! It checks tasks off your to-do list while aiding your goals, and health, and it feels good to be productive, rather than toiling on a treadmill feeling like you have other stuff to do. 

On the road to getting ready for summer, simplicity and consistency is key! Let’s see what you can achieve in just 8 weeks.

8 week to summer workout plan

Download Your 8 Weeks to Summer Workout Plan, Here!

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