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Article written by Maya Vukovska

There are lucky guys who don’t freak out when the beach season approaches. They don’t need to take extra drastic and extra speedy measures to get in shape simply because they are always in shape. For the rest of us, though, getting the beach body can be a struggle. Or not? If you follow these 5 simple tips, you can get yourself in a shirtless shape quick.

1. Get that heart pumping

What’s the first thing that comes to your mind when someone mentions “aerobic exercise”? The Heavenly Bodies movie, that’s right, but also running, running, and more running. But let’s be honest here, running sucks. Even professional trainers do not recommend it as a part of the weekly routine, because over time, the multi-mile jogging results in major injuries.

Luckily, we can offer an alternative for a heavy-breathing exercise. At least for a couple of weeks forget about the car and the public transport, and walk. Just walk. And if your urban environment allows it, bike everywhere.

2. Steroids are not your friends

The internet is flooded with videos instructing how to get a ripped torso and jacked biceps in four weeks. Don’t fall for this crap! A lot of fitness routines are designed for guys who have Schwarzenegger as their idol and who won’t hesitate to use steroids. So, instead of risking certain heart surgery in the future just because you want fast and impressive results now, try something far less harmless--body weight exercises. Start with simple push-ups and squats, and gradually add more exercises that incorporate more and more muscle groups. You’ll soon realize that you don’t really have to hit the weight room to put your body into a sweating regime.

3. Give thanks to the planks

Are you skeptical when you hear them say that planks are a miraculous exercise? Don’t be. This simple exercise can help you build your core muscles, i.e. the ones in your midsection which are used in most forms of movements. By strengthening these muscles, you’ll improve your ability to exercise and will decrease the risk of injury in the back and spine. It’s important, though, that you do the planks the right way. Keep your body in a straight line from ears to toes, don’t let your stomach drop or your buttock rise up. And don’t forget to breathe! If you’re a beginner, hold the position for 10-15 seconds to start. Gradually, increase the duration by 10 seconds, and hopefully, in a couple of weeks, you’ll be able to hold the position for two and even more minutes.

4. If you can’t stay away from the weight rack…

Some gym nuts would spend hours in the weight room pushing themselves to the point of total exertion, thinking that’s the right way to build mass. Muscles, however, can get so overdeveloped that at some point they’ll start fighting themselves. That’s why, it’s vital that you stretch after each series of exercise. After a bench press, for example, do a tabletop stretch for 20-30 seconds. Your muscles will be grateful as you make them longer and leaner. And sexier, too, of course.

5. Find out what your body type is

There’re three basic body types. The endomorphs’ bodies are rounded and soft because their fat deposits are around the waist, hips and thighs. Their diet should be low in carbohydrates and fats--they need a lot of protein and veggies, and plenty of fluids (but not beer and bourbon).

The mesomorphs are heavy, with broad shoulders, powerful limbs and a slender waist. If you fall into this category, you’re very lucky, because mesomorphs are generally extremely successful in quick muscle building. Plus, their diet needn't be as strict as that of the mesomorphs. They can eat a lot of carbs--but preferably only during the day--and lots of good fats that from vegetables, nuts, seeds, and fish.

The ectomorphs are thin and fine-boned. They have low percentage of body fat and are relatively hard weight gainers. Their diet must be loaded with carbs because they need a calorie surplus to build muscle mass.

Know yourself and know your body. Follow these tips and you'll be beach-ready before you know it!

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