LOCKDOWN weight has been easy enough to hide during the winter months, but summer is fast approaching.
You may be worrying about getting your summer body ready – but getting rippling abs can be harder than it looks, and mean giving up your favourite treats.
Luckily for you, queen of home workouts Courtney Black wants you to know it's not a necessity before taking to the beach, and you can be ready for a bikini without ditching the chocolate.
The 24-year-old influencer, who hit the fitness world by storm last year and now boasts an impressive 839k followers, launches her latest online venture, The Warrior Warehouse Bootcamp tour, today.
Courtney aims to use the global platform, which will consist of live events throughout the year, to help women reach their body goals and learn to be confident in themselves.
The killer workout sessions follow the same die-hard approach as the East Londoner’s 28-day plan app, which already boasts over 65,000 “warriors" and has since been released in book form, The Pocket PT.
However, joining one session isn’t the cure all for a year of lockdown indulgences – so Courtney has spilled her tips for getting summer ready without having to make too many sacrifices.
“Of course you don’t have to look a certain way to be beach ready – every body is a beach body, but I’d encourage everyone to try exercise for summer,” Courtney tells The Sun Online.
“People laying on the beach and posing for a picture won’t look the same as when they’re relaxed sipping on their Pina Colada. Everyone’s skin folds and moves, and we have to love what we see with that.
“You don’t need a six pack, muscular legs or a trendy big bum – think of getting beach body ready as more chasing feeling amazing in ourselves, confident about our bodies and looking physically strong.”
Courtney knows only too well the dangers of over working to meet the standards of celebrities, who naturally look “flawless on social media” without always showing their less flattering angles.
Having developed an eating disorder in her teens, she cut down excessively on calories, avoided food and worked out for hours on end.
When it comes to her clients wanting to get the bikini body of their dreams, the Pocket PT star therefore encourages us to find a healthy balance.
“For so many years, women have been told to eat 800 calories on an intense pre-summer diet and I was dragged into thinking that – I even tried to burn those calories off,” she explains.
“Diet culture will tell you calories are bad, but you need calories to move and breathe and do everyday things. Your body needs that fuel to train and to help you look better than ever.
“Women have been taught that holding fat on our bellies, which we need to bear children and happens due to our anatomy, is something to get rid of – but it’s not always healthy to get rid of it and most women will have it.
“Naturally there will be ones that don’t, but remember you can’t believe everything you see online."
The star admits to "editing" photographs on social media in the past until she looked "completely different", but wants women to understand there's no "achievement" in pretending.
“Trying to look like someone else will have you demonising yourself and hating yourself which will rid you of your confidence," she adds.
"Even with the best body in the world, confidence is key to looking and feeling good. Without it, you won't feel good in a bikini anyway."
Unfortunately, a balanced and healthy diet can't get thrown out the window when working towards the summer six pack.
Courtney suggests carefully managing your diet as well as upping your exercise – while factoring in the things you love to stop you from getting "bored".
“Abs in particular are as much about diet as they are the exercise, so if your goal this summer is set on losing weight, you will need to simply eat less and move more,” she continues.
“You just need to be in a slight – and it really can be slight – deficit. Do as many crunches and sit ups as you like, but if you’re not focusing that with your diet, it won’t work.”
Courtney insists that doesn’t mean cutting out your favourite foods – so luckily we can keep the wine – just be “actively cautious and aware of your body’s needs”.
When it comes to the hard work, it doesn’t have to be as crazy, intense and fast as Courtney’s live sessions, especially for those who are starting out for the first time.
“Being a beginner can be stressful, and I have a lot of women who stick on one of my workouts and tell me it’s too crazy – and while of course they can be tricky, they are meant for everyone,” Courtney continues.
Providing a low impact alternative to those not wanting to “jump around like a lunatic”, the PT explains that taking the easier option doesn’t mean you won’t get a sweat on and see results.
“You are not failing me by taking a little break here and there and putting me on pause,” she jokes, encouraging her followers to finish the workout no matter what.
“Even if you stop ten times the first time, next time you’ll take less breaks and see an improvement," she concludes.
“It’s not worth beating yourself up if you’re starting slower or struggling. My clients should know that it’s total normal and part of the process.
“It might not be every day, but just tell yourself to do a little bit here and there and build up slowly. You will only fail if you quit.”
CB's Bikini Body Blast
It's the Pocket PT here! If you're looking to tone down for summer, I’d go for a series of full-body workouts that hit as many different areas of your body as possible and combine upper and lower body work.
You won’t need to train for long as it’s high intensity and will have you sweating in no time.
You might be thinking, 'where's the abs part?' While this session isn't dedicated to core, you’ll be engaging it throughout and working towards than summer body.
Squat to shoulder press: 3 sets of 12 reps. Stand with feet wider than shoulder-width, resting the weights on shoulders. Squat low, keeping your core engaged and chest up. As you come up, press the weights above your head until your arms are straight. Lower them back down slowly.
Deadlift to high pull: 3 sets of 12 reps. Holding a weight in each hand, chest up and feet hip-width apart, lower the weights by bending at the waist and pushing your hips back, keeping your legs straight but knees slightly bent. Lift your chest up and push through your glutes, and as you stand up straight, lift your arms up and bringing your elbows to your ears. Lower back to neutral. Repeat.
Curtsey lunge and bicep curl: 3 sets of 20 reps. Holding a weight in each hand, curtsey – stepping one leg back and to the side, bending both knees as you lunge. At the same time, curl the weights up to your chest. Repeat, switching legs each time you lunge.
Sit up and chest press: 3 sets of 20 reps. Holding a weight to your chest with one hand on either end, lie on the floor with your knees up. Sit up bringing your chin towards your knees while simultaneously raising the weight up and outwards into the air in front of you before lowering back down slowly. Repeat.
Crunches: 3 sets of 20 reps. Lie back on the mat, your hands by the side of your head. Keep your eyes and your head up at all times, avoiding putting your chin on your chest. Squeeze your tummy muscles so your shoulders come up off the floor. Hold the position at the top for two seconds, before slowly lowering back down.
Plank: Hold in a high plank position with your feet together for 30 seconds before taking a 20 second break. Repeat three times.
Courtney Black's Warrior Warehouse Bootcamp Tour on Saturday 1st May are available to purchase now on LIVENow for £10.
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