Top 5 Shape Up Tips from Personal Trainer Dana Cooklish

Small healthy changes repeated over and over again are what will change our bodies in time for summer.

Dana is a well known ACSM certified personal trainer in Charlotte, North Carolina as well as a registered nurse. Aside from her credentials, she is striking and has one of the most amazing bodies around (she’s the campaign model for the uber-popular Flex & Fit aerial yoga & wellness centers in Charlotte and Chicago).

Dana Cooklish, model and trainer, shares her Top 5 Summer Shape Up Tips

Dana Cooklish, model and trainer, shares her Top 5 Summer Shape Up Tips. Photo courtesy of Josh Kitchen

Here she shares her Top 5 Tips (and our Summer Shape Up Tips 14-19) for getting a hot bod in time for beach weather.

1. Squats– simple movement but extremely effective. They are great for lifting the booty while toning your quads, hamstrings, and inner thighs. For a standard squat, stand with your feet shoulder distance apart feet pointed out slightly. Lower yourself by bending your hips and knees while maintaining a flat back. Keep your chest out and shoulders back and down. The bottom of the squat will be when the angle of your upper leg and calf is slightly less than 90 degrees. Push through your heels to come up. Be sure your knees are in line with your toes, but never going beyond your toes. Aim for 20 reps 4 times with minimal rest between sets. Go as quick as you can while maintaining a deep squat and proper form. For more of a challenge add weight. Try to hold at least 10lb dumbbells in each hand. When you can complete all your sets easily it’s time to bump up the weight your holding.

Remember to increase the weight when the squats become too easy with your current weight.

Remember to increase the weight when the squats become too easy with your current weight. Photo courtesy of Josh Kitchen.

2. Planks– the best core exercise you can do. To get into a plank start with your hands on the floor and step your feet back until your legs are fully extended. Your shoulder should be in line with your wrist. Pull your stomach in and try to keep your body in a straight line. Be sure not to dip your hips down or raise your butt up. Keep everything tight while you continue to breath. Aim to hold plank for 60 seconds with a 20 second rest 4 times. For more of a challenge you can do plank punches. Punch straight forward alternating arms for the full 60 seconds. There are so many plank variations that you can get creative with. Plank jacks, 1 leg plank, side plank, etc.

3. Burpees– one of the best all around exercises. Great for cardio and toning your upper and lower body. Start in a standing position, put your hands on the floor and jump your feet back to a plank, do a push-up, jump your feet back to your hands, then jump up as high as you can. Aim for 20 reps 4 times. You could do your squats in between sets! I wanted to contribute because I use Chelsea’s Color Collection wrap bracelet (ivy and silver) to count my burpee sets. I’ve actually worked up to 8 beads when getting ready for summer.

4. Cut out processed food. Abs are made in the kitchen. Stay away from the chip and cookie isle!

5. Cut out alcohol. Or at least limit it to a couple of drinks a week. Stay away from sugary mixed drinks. Most people drink without thinking about the amount of calories they are consuming. Wine is the better choice since it does contain antioxidants.

Look for more tips from our guest authors including certified wellness coach, Susan Rahaim, self-development author, Kimberly Novosel, Dietician Grace Derocha and Stott Pilates Instructor, Jessica Heinz.

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