You had planned to have started that green smoothie habit, the 10,000 steps daily and the booty-blasting beach workout to reach your goal of slimming down and toning up. But it’s July and…you haven’t. It turns out it’s not too late for those of us who feel like we’ve been summer slackers, according to noted fitness coach Nick Tumminello. The author of “Strength Training for Fat Loss” and the popular blog at PerformanceU.net, Tumminello is a regular contributor to major fitness magazines and websites and founded Performance University, which provides practical fitness education for fitness professionals worldwide.

Tumminello says it starts with your goal. To jump-start your plan to lose weight and get fit, ditch the numbers for a different goal: behavioral change. The results, he explains, are more likely to follow: “Eating clean – eating whole, unprocessed foods – will naturally lead you to eat less bread, crackers, pasta, cake and cookies. The byproduct of that behavior is consuming nutrient-dense food that’s naturally lower in calories.”

WEIGHT-LOSS REBOOT IN THREE STEPS:

01

Aim to change one behavior at a time, and don’t start with behaviors that are complex. Breakfast is one example he gives as challenging to change. “Say you’re a busy, working parent, and you don’t like eating breakfast – but you’ve read that you must, to lose weight. Not only that, you have to eat a certain kind of food, maybe eggs or oatmeal, which require preparation, and that’s different from your usual morning coffee.
“You also have to buy the new foods – so you have to change your shopping habits. It turns out that it takes a lot to change your breakfast routine. Most people stick with this kind of change for a few weeks at best.”

02

If you’re going to stick with a change in behavior, make sure it fits your schedule and preferences as well. If it doesn’t work with your normal schedule, or you have to eat certain foods that don’t work for you, it’s not going to stick. Focusing on behavior doesn’t mean you should toss the scale either, says Tumminello. If it’s right for you, regular weigh-ins hold you accountable and can even be motivating – especially when you start to see progress.

03

Simplicity rules. The strict rules or novelty factor of a diet can keep you going for a while, but the diet gets tough to sustain when you have to cook dinner for the kids or go to a birthday party or travel on business. “Set yourself up for success and don’t overcomplicate things to the point that you’re stressing out about what to eat, or you’re putting yourself in socially awkward positions all the time,” Tumminello says. Another reason for small, simple changes is that “willpower is a muscle – you use it all day, and by the time you get home late from work, it’s tired – so you pull out that frozen pizza.”

GET FIT WITH THE FAT LOSS 5 WORKOUT

Tumminello’s answer to restart your fitness habit is the FL5 (Fat Loss Five) workout, designed to make working out a simple “behavior” to turn into habit. The five-exercise “LPPCC” sequence takes five minutes to complete, so that you can do it anywhere, and adapt it to your fitness and endurance level by adding sets.

Here’s how it works:

  • The sequence includes four essential strength moves – lower body (“L”), upper body – pushing (“P”) and upper body – pulling (“P”), core (“C”) – and cardio (the last “C” in the sequence).
  • Perform each of the four strength moves for 30 seconds, followed by a 15-second rest, and then perform a minute of cardio.
  • Rest for one minute – that’s five exercises in five minutes – and repeat.
  • If you want more challenge, perform each strength exercise for 45 seconds and rest for 15, do a minute of cardio and rest for one minute.

01
LOWER BODY: REVERSE LUNGES

REPS: 30 seconds
INTENSITY/LOAD: Bodyweight
TEMPO: Slow
REST INTERVAL: 15 sec

  • With your hands interlaced and with your feet hip width apart, step backward with one foot and drop your body so your knee lightly touches the floor.
  • Reverse the movement by coming out of the lunge and bringing your same foot forward so that you are back to your starting position.
  • Perform the same movement on the opposite leg.

02
UPPER BODY: PUSH-UPS

REPS: 30 seconds
INTENSITY/LOAD: Bodyweight
TEMPO: Moderate
REST INTERVAL: 15 sec

  • Begin in a push-up position with your hands on the floor just wider than shoulder-width apart and with your feet hip-width apart.
  • Perform a push-up by lowering your chest towards the floor until your elbows reach just below 90 degrees.
  • Then press yourself away from the floor until your elbows are straight.
  • Be sure to keep your body in a straight line from your head to your hips to your ankles and do not allow your head or hips to sag toward the floor at any time.

03
UPPER BODY: SHOULDER T’S

REPS: 30 seconds
INTENSITY/LOAD: Bodyweight
TEMPO: Slow
REST INTERVAL: 15 sec

  • Stand with your feet hip-width apart.
  • Bending at your hips, lower your torso until it’s roughly parallel to the floor and your arms hanging from your shoulders.
  • Lift your arms out to the sides keeping them straight until they’re parallel to the floor so they form a “T” with your torso.
  • Slowly reverse the motion to complete one rep.
  • Pause at the top of each rep for a one to two second count.
  • The hip and back positioning of this exercise is virtually the same as when performing a Romanian deadlift (RDL). As with performing an RDL do not allow your back to round out at any point.

04
CORE: SLOW-MOTION MOUNTAIN CLIMBER

REPS: 30 seconds
INTENSITY/LOAD: Bodyweight
TEMPO: Slow
REST INTERVAL: 15 sec

  • Start at the top of a pushup with your feet hip-width apart and your wrists directly below your shoulders.
  • Pick up your right foot and slowly bring your knee towards your chest.
  • Hold for two seconds, then return to start.
  • Alternate legs until you’ve done 12 to 14 reps (six or seven per leg).
  • Do not allow your head or hips to sag toward the floor. Keep your body in a straight line throughout. Your toes should not touch the floor when you’re bringing your knee toward your chest.

05
CARDIO: SKIP OR MARCH IN PLACE

REPS: 60 seconds
INTENSITY/LOAD: Bodyweight
TEMPO: Slow
REST INTERVAL: 60 sec

  • Stay tall with your feet hip-width part and elbows bent roughly 90 degrees.
  • Lift your right knee up just above your hip while you also lift your left arm up and move your right arm back.
  • Quickly reverse your arm position as you simultaneously drive your right leg down to the ground and elevate your left knee.
  • Similar to jumping rope, skipping requires a double-foot strike pattern, or right-right followed by left-left hops.
  • This is not running in place. To skip in place you have to coordinate the pumping of your arms to the double-foot strikes. Keep your torso upright throughout.

SETS: Rest 60, then repeat circuit 2-4 times.