Whether you're going to the gym for the first time ever (somehow), or you’re going back to the gym after a long hiatus, it can be a struggle. There are tons of options these days, all of them seemingly catered to a different level of seriousness in the fitness arena.

“I want to just ease into the world of healthy eating and fitness” you might be saying, “I don’t want to pay for a gym or all these healthy alternatives when I don’t know what to do with them.” You’re not alone, many people feel this way every day, causing them to go yet another day without working out or bettering their diet because they don’t think they’re “ready” for it.

Let me help you out in that department: “Ready” is a myth, there is no “ready”. Ready is the moment you get up and decide you’re going to do the thing you want to do. So you’re ready right now! Let’s go over the workouts and dietary changes you can get started on right now to get your body in shape for what’s sure to be a really hot summer.

Fueling Up

The first thing you’re going to need is the right food. Your body can’t run, jump, lift, or lunge without the proper fueling, so let’s dive into the easiest foods to obtain and prepare that will get you ready for a real workout.

Oats n’ Nuts

This is a staple. Oats are some of the healthiest stuff you can eat, gluten-free, whole grain, and a great source of vitamins, minerals, the whole nine. Oats are great for assisting in weight loss, assist in lowering your blood pressure and even reducing your risk of heart disease.

But for our purposes, the most important thing they do for you is to give you a high protein base and all sorts of other superfoods too. Try mixing up your oatmeal with berries, nut butter, honey, yogurts, or other high protein stuff like almonds, pecans or bananas. It’s healthy, filling, and is guaranteed to give you the fuel you’ll need for working out efficiently.

Bananas and Fruit in General

Yeah, it’s really this easy. Bananas are loaded with carbs for the fuel we’re looking for and potassium, helping with our nerve and muscle function when we need it most. With Bananas, you can combine just about anything (within reason) to them to give yourself a pre-workout boost.

Peanut butter, wheat bread, maybe even all three together. This goes for most fruits, though I’ve found Bananas, Strawberries, and avocados to be the best candidates. As long as you’re not pouring chocolate fudge or mashing it into ice cream, you’ll find that whatever you have with any of these fruits will fire you up.

Eggs

Extremely effective in just about any way you consume them, (except raw, don’t do that just because you saw it in Rocky) they’re an excellent source for protein and will give you high bouts of energy throughout the day. Combine eggs with simple breakfast foods, grits is a surprisingly underrated option for wheat carbs and energy, and you’d be surprised the wonders a couple of slices of bacon can do for your workout. Just don’t get crazy, we’re trying to be healthy here.

An honorable mention goes to the aforementioned greek yogurt. Seriously, it goes with all of the things I stated above and even more things. Now that you have some basic building blocks to work with let’s take a look at some workouts you can do from the comfort and safety of your own home, with minimal external tools, to get your body and mind ready for the gym this summer.

There are a ton of workouts you can do by your lonesome, but I’m just going to give you the best. Pretty much the only thing you’ll need here is some dumbbells, you can get them almost anywhere for absurdly cheap.

I’ll break these down by parts of the body they’re best for. You don’t have to do all of them every day, but you should do at least 3 of them five times a week. Assume you should be doing about 3 sets of 10 reps (or to times, 3 times).

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Quick and Easy Home Workouts

Pushups: Tried and true. Do as many of these as you can. You’ll probably struggle with 3 sets of 10 in the beginning, but you’ll be surprised what a decent pre-workout diet and trying this once a day will get you?

Dips: Get a sturdy chair, and use the arms (or seat if there are none) to prop yourself up, biceps parallel to the seat. Then, do what the name of the workout suggests, dip yourself downward slowly. Sounds easy right? Wrong, your arms and chest will be burning like the dickens in no time. Again, 10 of these, 3 times.

Plank: Lay face down in the pushup position, but with your forearm and elbow flat on the ground. Stay like this for as long as you can and make sure your body is as straight as possible. If it sounds simple, give it a whirl, it’s more effective than it sounds.

Renegade Row: This is where the dumbells come in. If you don’t have dumbbells and for some reason don’t want to shell out for them, just pick something weighty that you can grip in either hand. Get in the plank formation with your (hopefully) dumbells on either side of you, and pull either side up to your abdomen.

Sit-up Crunches: You know them, you love them, you did them in Phys Ed. at school for good reason. Lie down with your back against the floor and our knees arched with your feet flat on the ground. Cross your arms in front of you and lift your abdomen until your elbows touch your knees.

Squats: Plant your feet parallel to your shoulders, and bend your knees until your knees are at a 90-degree angle, then bring yourself back up slowly. This is a lot tougher than it sounds, so all that energy you consumed earlier will come in handy here.

Do these enough times and you should be all set to find a reliable gym and get your body ready for those summer styles! Whatever you do, make sure you’re taking care of your body with these cheap and easy methods, because now you don’t have any excuses.

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