Summer will be here before you know it. 

And you know what that means: Bathing suits, beaches, barbeques and more — all with very minimal clothing required.

And if you haven’t been putting in your gym work throughout the winter to feel confident this summer, there’s still time to get to work on that hard-earned muscle. “The pain you go through today is going to be the strength you use for tomorrow,” says Rumble Trainer and HIIT Hard Training Founder Dawson Saint Jour.

The boxer and MMA fighter should know —  since you have to have not only extraordinary endurance to go the distance in the ring, muscle to hit power punches, and quick-footed coordination for defense. Saint Jour’s not only trained dozens of clients to go rounds in the ring, but he’s done it himself.

Here, Saint Jour shares tips for anyone who wants to get their body in ‘fighting’ shape for summer.

Start from within.

“Yes, summer bodies are made in winter,” says Saint Jour. “It’s more so creating good habits internally, and fixing your diet. The majority of weight loss and weight loss issues are because people have messed up digestive systems. If your digestive system is not intact then it’s going to be hard for you to pursue your weight loss goals. You can work out very intensely at the gym, but you may not even realize that it’s your digestive system that is hindering your growth or progression. Drink lots of water, create good habits, and know what kind of body you have. Even if that means meeting with a nutritionist or dietician at least one time so they can figure out what you’re allergic to, what inflames you and what helps you with weight loss. As long as you can have that, then your fitness is just icing on the cake. Fitness is moving your body, but your nutrition is what actually helps your body.”

Dawson Saint Jour

Get your body moving.

“You should be working out at least 5x out of a week,” says Saint Jour. “Each workout doesn’t have to be strenuous — you just need to keep your body moving. Any day you miss a workout, that’s about 600-800 calories you’re not burning from what you’re eating consistently throughout the whole week. It takes a month for you to actually lose weight, and that month tells you how good you were. ‘How consistently am I working out to burn off what I’m actually consuming?’ That’s the mindset you have to have. And then of course, if you’re not working out a specific day, then you have to watch exactly what you eat.”

Try out a new class.

Let’s face it — fitness classes can be intimidating, especially if you’re trying a workout for the first time. But those negative, self-conscious thoughts are actually keeping you away from really amazing workouts. Because at the end of the day, everyone is focused on themselves. “When you’re in a dark room, you know that no one is watching you,” says Saint Jour on the benefits of Rumble. “So you’re in your own little space or realm, where no one is focused on you. It’s not like going into a lit up gym where everybody is looking at you the whole time. Here we help out with the confidence aspect of it. We keep the lights low, motivate everybody, shout everybody out, and create workouts and modifications that everyone can do. We keep it as simple as possible but it’s still high intensity interval style training.”

Get on a nutritional program.

There’s one key thing to remember while you’re on your fitness journey: those abs are made in the kitchen. Though there is no one-diet-fits-all plan (though that would make things easy), you have to find one that fits your lifestyle so you actually stick to it. As an MMA fighter and boxing trainer, Saint Jour shares that he eats more than his own weight in protein. “If I weigh 195, I’m eating at least 200 grams of protein per day,” he says. “It can be from my meats or my plant protein, but I’m just getting enough protein in. I’m eating about 6-7 meals per day, two or three of which are protein shakes, and everything else is vegetables or chicken, it’s as plain as possible.”

Say no to quick fixes.

There’s still time to build your best body ever, so no need to fall into social media “quick fix” traps. “I hate waist trainers and other contraptions that tell you you can sit on the couch, use this on your stomach and you can have abs in 30 days,” says Saint Jour.

Ready to recharge your mental, physical and spiritual well-being? Click here to get your tickets for ESSENCE Wellness House!

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