6 Week Workout Plan for the Perfect Beach Bod

6 Week Workout Plan for the Perfect Beach Bod

With the cold weather and dark evenings, maybe your mind is starting to turn towards getting some winter sun.

February and March are a great time to get away and head south for some much-needed UV rays and relaxation.

The downside of that is it comes hot on the heels of the Christmas period – a time when,unless you’ve got iron willpower, you’ll probably put on a couple of pounds and your body may not be in the best ‘beach-ready’ buffed and toned shape.

Not to worry.

We’ve got the perfect solution – a 6-week fitness plan to help you cut any excess fat into muscle and become a lean, mean sun-lounging machine.  

Nutrition Plan

Aim for somewhere between 1600 and 2000 calories, with plenty of protein.

Choose from:

Breakfast

  • A warm bowl of porridge oats with skimmed milk and blueberries, a scoop of protein powder
  • 2 Weetabix with skimmed milk, a scoop of protein powder, a sprinkle of nuts and seeds
  • 2 slices of wholegrain toast with 1 scrambled egg and sliced avocado
  • 2 slices of wholegrain toast spread with natural, unsalted and unsweetened peanut butter
  • Toasted sliced sweet potato with poached egg
  • Pancakes made with protein powder, with sliced banana on top
  • A protein smoothie

Mid-morning or pre-workout Snack

  • Any serving of fresh fruit (avoid dried fruit)
  • Two handfuls of unsalted raw nuts
  • Low fat cottage cheese mixed with chopped apple and walnuts
  • Low fat natural or Greek yoghurt with 5 strawberries
  • 2 Ryvita slices with two thin slices of cheddar cheese, sliced cucumber and sliced tomato
  • A small serving of hummus with wholemeal pitta bread

Lunch

  • Salad with fresh lettuce, cucumber, tomatoes, radishes, celery and a tin of four bean mix
  • Avocado and turkey sandwich on wholemeal bread
  • Salad with fresh lettuce, cucumber, salad onions, tuna and sweetcorn
  • 1 wholemeal pitta bread with a dip of extra virgin olive oil mixed with balsamic vinegar
  • Greek salad – lettuce, cucumber, tomatoes, 2 tbsp feta cheese, 2 tbsp black olives
  • Cheddar cheese and cranberry sauce sandwich on wholemeal bread
  • Vegetable soup with wholemeal croutons

Dinner

  • Any combination of pork, chicken, lamb or fish with two or three vegetable servings
  • Spanish omelette – 2 eggs, chopped potato, sliced courgette, 1 tbsp of grated cheese, mixed and fried in olive oil
  • Chicken breast or fish served with steamed couscous and broccoli
  • Beef stir fry – 100g of minced beef, cashew nuts, mixed stir fry veg and 100g of cooked egg noodles, mixed and fried in vegetable oil. Mix with 1 tbsp of soy sauce.

Drinks

  • Black coffee or tea (or serve with a small amount of skimmed milk)
  • Water – approximately 2 litres per day
  • Protein shake
  • Soda water mixed with fresh mint and sliced lime
  • Sparkling water with fresh strawberries - slice or mash two strawberries, add to the water and stir

The 6-week ‘ultimate cut and build’ plan

This workout and eating plan is finely balanced and tuned to get you the best cutting results possible over an 8-week timeframe, just in time for a well-deserved spring break. With a mixture of weight training and intense cardio exercises, you’ll get shredded in no time.

Aim to complete the workout at least 3 times a week with a rest day in between.

On the rest days, make sure to stay active with less intense exercise such as walking, light jogging or swimming.

Also, it’s recommended that you download the 10-day HIIT routine from this link and repeat this daily throughout the 6-week period.

Week 1 header showing a man doing barbell deadlift in black and white

Barbell Squats

Beginner
Bar + 20kg 2 sets of 10 reps
Intermediate
Bar + 35kg 2 sets of 12 reps
Advanced
Bar + 50kg or more 3 sets of 10 reps
  1. Choose a comfortable weight and stand up straight with the barbell resting behind your neck on top of your trapezius muscles.
  2. Keep your chest puffed up and head facing forward at all times, with feet hip-width apart.
  3. Begin to lower your body into a squat by bending your knees, staying aligned with your feet.
  4. Keep your back and torso as straight as possible as you squat and keep a firm grip on the bar.
  5. If you feel like you’re losing control of the motion or any discomfort in your knees, stand up immediately, reposition and try again.
  6. Once the back of your thighs touch your lower leg, pause for a moment, then drive your body back to standing, pushing through your heels.

Barbell Deadlift

Beginner
2 sets of 12 reps
Intermediate
2 sets of 15 reps
Advanced
3 sets of 12 reps
  1. Using the same weight as used for the squats, lay the bar on the ground in front of you.
  2. Stand with your feet under the centre of the bar, hip width apart.
  3. Bend at your hips and grip the bar at roughly shoulder width. An alternating grip is best, i.e. one hand palm facing you, the other palm facing away.
  4. Inhale deeply, lower your hips and bend your knees into a semi-squat position, until your shins touch the bar.
  5. Keep your head up and facing forward, exhale, and start to drive your body upwards through your heels to lift the weight.
  6. Once the bar reaches your knees, pull the bar backwards, driving your hips into the bar and contracting your shoulder blades together.
  7. Pause for a moment in this position, then lower the bar in a controlled motion by bending at your waist and knees gradually until the bar reaches the floor.

Barbell Lunges

Beginner
2 sets of 12 reps
Intermediate
2 sets of 15 reps
Advanced
3 sets of 12 reps
  1. Use a lower weight for the lunges (reduce by 10kg or more) and use a squat rack if available for extra safety.
  2. Using the rack, or a lifting partner, place the bar on your shoulders, behind your head, slightly below your neck.
  3. Keep your torso straight and head up and facing forward.
  4. Step forward on one leg, inhale and begin to bend both knees, until the rear one almost touches the floor. Don’t allow your front knee to go in front of your toes.
  5. Maintain your balance and keep a straight torso throughout the movement.
  6. Pause for a moment at the bottom of the motion, then exhale and push your body back up to standing, driving up through your front heel.
  7. Repeat for the required number of reps on the first leg, then swap position so your other leg is out in front and repeat the same number of reps to complete one full set.

Barbell Step Ups

Beginner
2 sets of 15 reps
Intermediate
3 sets of 12 reps
Advanced
3 sets of 15 reps
  1. Place a step platform in front of you and stand with the barbell behind your head, on top of your shoulders.
  2. Put your right foot on the platform and exhale as you step up onto it using your right hip, knee and heel to raise your body.
  3. Bring your left foot up onto the platform, pause for a moment, then step your left foot back and down to the ground. Keep your upper body as straight as possible throughout the motion, with head up and facing forward.
  4. Repeat for 10 reps, then immediately switch legs and repeat for another 10 reps to complete one set.

Box Jumps

3 sets of 10 reps

  1. Stand with a platform about a foot away from your feet, with hands down by your sides.
  2. Inhale and prepare to jump by bending your knees, but not further than your toes.
  3. Contract your core tightly.
  4. Exhale and swing both arms up and out in front of you as you leap with both legs simultaneously onto the platform.
  5. Land with your feet perfectly flat, roughly hip-width apart and with your knees bent as if you’re in a squat position.

Mountain Climbers

3 sets of 8 rep

  1. Start in a standard press-up position, palms and tips of your toes in contact with the floor, back and neck straight. Make sure your shoulders are directly above your hands.
  2. Tighten your core, exhale, then thrust your right knee forward until it’s under your pecs. The toes of your right foot should now be slightly raised above the floor.
  3. Return your right leg to the starting position.
  4. Now repeat the motion with your left leg, bringing it into your chest. That completes one rep.
  5. Repeat for 8 sets, rest momentarily then continue for the required number of sets.

Week 2 header showing a man doing pushups in black and white

Follow the giant sets and fat-burning exercises laid out here.

Don’t forget to also follow the 10-day HIIT routine here.

 

 Week 3 header showing a man doing kettle bell swings in black and white

Push-ups

Beginner
1 set of 15 push ups
Intermediate
2 or 3 sets of 15 push-ups
Advanced
3 or 4 sets of 15 push-ups

Burpees

Beginner
1 set of 12 reps
Intermediate
2-3 sets of 12 reps
Advanced
3-4 sets of 12 reps
  1. Start by standing straight with feet shoulder-width apart.
  2. With your weight focussed down on your heels, push back your hips, bend your knees and drop into a squat position.
  3. Put your hands down on the floor in front of you just in between your feet and shift your weight down into your palms.
  4. Leap your feet back and land in a straight plank position on the balls of your feet.
  5. Pause for a moment.
  6. Thrust your feet back in towards your hands, finishing in the original squat position.
  7. Lift your arms high above your head and thrust your body upwards through your heels, leaping into the air.
  8. Land with feet shoulder width apart and repeat for the required number of reps.

Two-arm Kettlebell Swings

Beginner
2 sets of 16 reps
Intermediate
3-4 sets of 16 reps
Advanced
5-6 sets of 16 reps
  1. Choose a kettlebell that you can lift comfortably and grip it over-hand (palms down) with both hands.
  2. Stand up straight, with legs roughly shoulder-width apart.
  3. Bend at the hips slightly then flex your knees as if you’re lowering into a squat.
  4. Arch your back slightly and head upright and facing forward.
  5. Exhale and let your arms swing between your legs.
  6. Then, in a sharp motion, swing the kettlebell up and out in front of you. Thrust your hips forward and rotate your shoulders with enough force to take the kettlebell directly above your hand with arms fully extended.
  7. Repeat for the required number of reps and sets.

Two-arm Kettlebell Row

Beginner
2 sets of 12 reps
Intermediate
3-4 sets of 12 reps
Advanced
5-6 sets of 12 reps
  1. Place two kettlebells on the floor just in front of you.
  2. Bend your knees and bend at the waist, but keep your back straight.
  3. Grab one kettlebell in each hand with an over-hand grip.
  4. Keeping your back and neck straight, pull the kettlebells up towards your chest, keeping your elbows tucked in.
  5. Keep going until the handles touch your chest, pause for a moment then lower them back to the floor.
  6. Maintaining the bent-over position with a straight back, repeat the motion for the required number of reps. Stand up straight and stretch your back, neck, and shoulders between each set.

Medicine Ball Slam

Beginner
2 sets of 12 reps
Intermediate
3 sets of 12 reps
Advanced
4 sets of 12 reps
  1. Select a medicine ball that is comfortable, not too heavy or too light.
  2. Start in a standing position holding the ball out in front of you.
  3. Press the ball up directly over your head until your arms are fully extended.
  4. Exhale and with all your might, slam the medicine ball down to the ground, dropping into a squat as you do so.
  5. Try to follow the motion of the ball with your body at the same pace.
  6. Catch the ball as it bounces back up, quickly rising to a stand with your arms above your head again.
  7. Repeat for the required number of sets.

 

Week 4 header showing a man doing planks in black and white

Ok, it’s time for some core strength training. Getting your core strong is so important for cutting down and turning fat into muscle. Plenty of crunches will help to tone up your midriff, so don’t neglect this week’s routine.

Follow the plank exercises described in this article.

Planks also make a great warm up so throw in a couple of planks before each workout.

Don’t forget to also follow the 10-day HIIT routine here.

 

Week 5 header showing a man doing bench press in black and white

Push Ups

Beginner
1 set of 18 push ups
Intermediate
2 or 3 sets of 18 push-ups
Advanced
3 or 4 sets of 18 push-ups

Pull-Ups

Beginner
1 set of 8 pull-ups
Intermediate
2-3 sets of 8 pull-ups
Advanced
3-4 sets of 8 pull-ups

Bench Press

Beginner
60-80kg - 2 sets of 8 reps
Intermediate
80-100kg - 3 sets of 8 reps
Advanced
100-140kg - 4 sets of 8 reps
  1. A spotting partner is recommended, especially if you’re using heavy weights. Alternatively, use a chest press machine.
  2. Lie flat on a bench with legs either side of the bench and eyes directly beneath the bar.
  3. Grab the bar with your hands slightly more than shoulder width apart (medium grip) with palms up.
  4. Straighten your arms and take the bar off the rack.
  5. Steadily lower the bar towards your chest in a diagonal straight line.
  6. When the bar nearly touches your chest, steadily push the bar back diagonally above your shoulders.
  7. Keep the motion controlled, don’t jerk the bar or lift your back off the bench to push it up, the power should come from your chest, shoulders and arms.

Barbell Bicep Curls

Beginner
40-50kg - 2 sets of 10 reps
Intermediate
50-70kg - 3 sets of 10 reps
Advanced
70-100kg - 4 sets of 10 reps
  1. Stand upright with a barbell held down at your waist with your hands shoulder-width apart. Your palms should be facing the front and elbows tucked in tightly to your sides.
  2. Keep your upper arms perfectly still and begin to curl the barbell upwards, exhaling and contracting your biceps as you do so.
  3. Keep going until your biceps are fully compressed and the barbell is level with your shoulders.
  4. Hold this position for a few seconds while tightening your biceps.
  5. Steadily lower the bar back down to your waist as you inhale.
  6. Repeat for the required number of reps.

Standing Barbell Triceps Extension

Beginner
30-40kg - 2 sets of 10 reps
Intermediate
40-50kg - 3 sets of 10 reps
Advanced
50-60kg - 4 sets of 10 reps
  1. Stand upright gripping a barbell shoulder-width apart with palms facing forward.
  2. Lift the barbell high above your head until your arms are fully extended and straight, with elbows tucked in.
  3. Without moving your elbows and keeping upper arms close to the side of your head, begin to lower the weight down towards the floor behind you, moving your lower arms in a semi-circular movement. Inhale as you do so.
  4. Keep going until your forearms touch your biceps.
  5. Hold this for a moment, exhale, then push the bar back up above your head using your triceps.
  6. Repeat for the required number of reps and sets.

 

Week 6 header with image of man skipping with rope in black in white

The final week of the ultimate cutting workout is going to be a tough one. There’s no doubt about it. This will include some of the toughest, but most effective fat burning exercises around that may leave you sore, but you’ll be happy when you see the results.

Yes, burpees again. They are the ultimate fat-burning exercise so you can’t get away from them, sorry! 

Burpees

Beginner
1 set of 20 reps
Intermediate
2-3 sets of 20 reps
Advanced
3-4 sets of 20 reps

Skipping rope

Beginner
3 sets of 2 minutes skipping
Intermediate
4 sets of 3 minutes skipping
Advanced
4-5 sets of 4 minutes skipping
  1. Stand with your arms as stationary as possible, hands by your hips holding the handles, with the rope behind you.
  2. Spin the rope up and over your head, by quickly rotating your wrists.
  3. Jump over the rope, lifting your feet off the ground only a small amount to allow the rope to pass.
  4. Land softly on the balls of your feet and repeat for the required amount of time.

Barbell Squats

Repeat the method from week 1, but increase the weight and number of reps and sets:


Beginner
Bar + 30kg - 2 sets of 12 reps
Intermediate
Bar + 40kg - 2 sets of 14 reps
Advanced
Bar + 60kg or more - 3 sets of 12 reps

Bear Crawl

Let’s finish with an unusual, but very powerful fat-burning and core sculpting exercise – the bear crawl.
Beginner
3 sets of 1-minute bear crawling
Intermediate
3 sets of 2-minute bear crawling
Advanced
3 sets of 3-minute bear crawling
  1. Start on your hands and knees, hands below shoulders, knees below hips, back straight.
  2. Make sure you’re on the balls of your feet, ready to move, and bring your knees up slightly off the ground at a 90-degree angle.
  3. Move your right arm and your left leg forward at the same time, without rocking from side to side, and keeping your knees off the ground.
  4. Repeat with the left arm and right leg, moving them forwards.
  5. Keep repeating the motion, alternating sides.
  6. Alternatively, move back to the starting position after each crawl forward, then repeat on the opposite side.
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