Summer shape up guide

Trista Pinick

With summer soon approaching and the weather, hopefully, warming back up, a new invigoration seems to hit and inspire people to get back into a bathing suit body.

Loads of different exercise regimens can be found on the Internet, videos and in classes at different gyms.

The Southwest YMCA, for example, offers classes in pilates, yoga, yogalates, Latin dancing, swing and tae kwon do.

“We really try to provide more of a family atmosphere here,” said Mike Carver, employee. “The Y also tries to enforce the elements of honesty and good sportsmanship instead of a competitive attitude.”

The ideas of integrity and community are emblazoned across the walls of the spacious building. The company’s motto is one reason why the Y works with low-income families to make rates affordable and doesn’t keep long-term contracts allowing people to quit whenever they want or need to. An expansive fitness room is equipped with a large selection of current fitness machines and weights with a track running around the upstairs balcony.

Other gyms, like Curves, offer a different, less traditional way to tone muscles.

“What we use here is a 30-minute workout that can be done at any age and at any level,” said Karen McKee, employee at Gage Curves.

And indeed, the active bodies at the gym specifically designed for women range from 14 to a current 82-year-old member.

“Our program is so easy to use because we use hydraulic resistance so when you work faster, you work harder,” said Monica Henriod, manager at the Wanamaker location. “There’s a fluid that gets harder and harder to move when you speed up so you can’t overwork yourself.”

The franchise was built to be place where women of all shapes and sizes could go and feel comfortable surrounded by other women trying to accomplish the same goals.

But for students looking for someplace quick and free, they can always go to the Student Recreation and Wellness Center. It offers weights and fitness equipment, the rock-climbing wall, gym and various classes throughout the year.

But for those too time crunched for the gym or who simply aren’t comfortable working out in public, there are tons of workouts that can be taken into the home.

Pilates can easily be learned through books and a plethora of DVDs at the same level a beginner’s class would offer. The workout is known for providing quick results and being able to be modified to any level of fitness and strength.

Joseph Pilates, the inventor, transformed himself from a sickly kid with asthma, rheumatic fever and rickets into a strong, huge man.

If done correctly, pilates offers long, lean muscles and an especially well-toned stomach, since every move should be done with a tight core (back and abdomen).

Other workouts, like belly dancing, can be found in the DVD section of most stores, but many warn that if you want to learn it correctly, you’ll either need to pay a lot of attention to how you’re doing the moves or get a real, flesh and blood teacher.

Still, the moderate cardio workout has been praised for its effects on the lower stomach, one of the hardest places on the body to tone. “The Goddess” workout was popularized on “Sex and the City” and still remains one of the most used belly dancing workouts.

The debate between cardio and strength workouts rages on in the fitness community, but most say that cardio burns more calories in a small amount of time while strength burns more over the course of time because it boosts the base metabolic rate more and increases muscle mass. However, while many support that both venues of exercise need to be maintained, Jim Karas, one of the nation’s top personal trainers, maintains people shouldn’t do cardio workouts if they want to lose weight.

Karas recently wrote the book, “The Cardio-free Diet.” In it he insists cardio workouts don’t burn as many calories as people believe and only serve to make people’s appetite soar and kill their joints.

Instead, he offers a regimen meant to boost metabolism and focuse on appropriate food choices.