Summer Shape Up 2013: Intro post


Welcome to Summer Shape Up 2013! I’m so excited that you’re joining in the party -there are at least 3500 of you!- and that you’re committed to making some healthy changes during this season. Thank you so much for letting me be your cheerleader along the way. Now let me find those pink sparkly pom-pons…. 😉

For the next four weeks, here’s what you can expect on this page:

SSU 2013

This post will serve as “the hub” for EVERYTHING SSU 2013 related. Bookmark it, pin it, make it your homepage, do whatever you need to do to make all of the info accessible to you <3 For even more fun, spread the word with friends and make it a group challenge!

For the next four weeks, I’ll update this page with weekly fitness plans and meal ideas. Please keep in mind that these are general recommendations, based on healthy (injury-free), gym-going girls, experienced with basic strength training form and a baseline cardio program. Nothing I post should substitute doctors’ recommendations, and always check with a doc before making any fitness or nutrition changes. If something doesn’t feel right, DON’T do it! You know your body best.

Summer Shape Up is NOT about weight loss. It’s about decreasing body fat (adding lean muscle), feeling more energized and changing up your current routine. Even though the scale could go up during the next four weeks, you could technically “shrink” and weigh more. Muscle is more dense than fat. If anything, focus on how you FEEL! I hope that my ideas will help you find some new strength moves you love (or love to hate?) and develop the best fitness program for you.

What you’ll need:

-A huge water bottle (fill with H20 and keep with you at all times)

-A notebook (to track your water intake, workouts and meals for each day. If you have an online method you prefer, you can use that instead. I love the My Fitness Pal app)

-Access to cardio of choice whether it’s through classes, running outdoors, or an at-home cardio machine

-Set of dumbbells

-Stability ball

-Jump rope

-Sturdy chair or bench

If you’re able to get your body fat checked at the beginning of the challenge, I highly recommend it. Many gyms offer body fat calculations at a low cost, or if you have a trainer friend, ask them to pinch you with some calipers. If you’re military, many bases offer bod pod body fat testing for FREE- check it out!

If you’re not able to test your body fat, take some basic measurements and jot them down in your Summer Shape Up notebook:

-Calves (max circumference)

-Thighs (10 inches above the patella)

-Hips (keep feet together and measure the widest part across the middle of your booty)

-Stomach (the widest part of your stomach)

-Waist (the narrowest part of your waist)



And snap a few pictures facing forwards, sideways, and to the back, wearing a swimsuit or sports bra and tight-fitting shorts. This way, you’ll have a clear method to track your progress over the four weeks. Check your measurements again halfway through the challenge and again at the end. 

Prep for SUCCESS!

Plan and prep  1 of 1

Before each week begins, take a second to jot down your goals for the week. Grocery shop for staple foods, making sure to emphasize clean, whole choices.

Here are some staples I always have on hand:

Bread and grains (whole-grain, brown rice tortillas, quinoa, brown rice)

Eggs (2 dozen)

Salad supplies (greens, fresh fruit and veggies, nuts, balsamic vinegar, fresh herbs, protein)

Protein (chicken, fish and tempeh)

Fruits (berries and bananas are my fave!)

Nuts, nut butter and seeds (we always have almonds and chia seeds on hand)

Milk (whatever milk you love. We enjoy almond milk)

Green veggies

Frozen berries and veggies (for smoothies or quick stir fries)

Healthy treats/ snacks (I love TJ’s hummus, edamame crackers and dark chocolate bars)

Remember to “EAT LIKE A PRO” throughout the challenge, making sure that each meal/snack has a protein and produce component.

Prep as many clean eats as you can in advance and put your workout calendar in an easily visible spot. This way you’ll be more likely to stick to your goals. 


Here are the links for all of your workouts and meal ideas for the next four weeks:

(all password protected. The password is in your newsletter and will change for each week. After the challenge, I’ll remove the passwords)

Week 1 Workout and Meal Ideas


Cardio guidelines:

HIIT (20 min): Alternate easy periods of cardio with extremely hard cardio intervals. For workout 1 HIIT, try to do 45 seconds easy, 45 seconds HARD for the 20 minutes

Steady state: Pick a steady pace that’s challenge but one you can maintain for the entire duration. You can also take a spin class or another cardio class instead

Hill challenge: Pick a steady pace and aim to maintain your pace as you increase the resistance every 30 seconds. When you hit you max, hold it for 1 minute, lower incline back down to 4.0% and start again until the 20 minutes have passed. Avoid holding onto the hand rails (you’ll burn 30% LESS calories), and if you need to slightly decrease your speed to allow the higher incline, that’s ok

Steady state tempo blast: For the last 5 minutes of your steady state workout, increase your speed. Make it HARD and keep it for the last 5 minutes. You can do it!

HIIT (25 min): Do 1 minute easy, 1 minute hard for the 25 minutes

Week 2 Workout and Meal Ideas


Steady state: Pick a steady pace that’s challenge but one you can maintain for the entire duration. You can also take a spin class or another cardio class instead

HIIT and steady: Warm up for 5 minutes and then start your HIIT training (20 minutes), alternating between 30 seconds HARD and 30 seconds easy. Follow your HIIT with super easy (50% max heart rate) steady state.

HIIT (20 min): 30 seconds easy, 30 seconds hard for 20 minutes.

Cardio wild card: Take your favorite cardio class or do a fun DVD. Your choice!

Week 3 Workout and Meal Ideas



Speed surge: go for 20 minutes starting at a moderate pace. Every 5 minutes, increase your speed. You should be sprinting to the finish line!

Scenic steady state: Take it outside for 30-45 min

Leg burner: Try this barre burner!

HIIT: HARD for 45 seconds, easy for 45 seconds, repeating for 25 minutes

Week 4 Workout and Meal Ideas


HIIT Challenge: Try to do 1 minute easy, 1 minute hard for the entire 30 minutes.

Flexibility: Yoga or a lovely stretch sesh

Speedy hills: Start with a steady pace and incline at 2.5 %. For 30 second rounds, increase your speed and incline to run up the hill. Recover for 1 minute before repeating.

Last, but not least, make sure to check in each day with your workouts and clean eats! I want to be drowning in #summershapeup tweets, Instagram pics and comments, mmm k?? Each morning, I’ll put the call out in the am blog post for you to leave a comment with your workout. Be sure to check in often, because you never know when I’ll have a random giveaway 😉

Speaking of giveaways, we have lots of those to come, too!

Thank you again for participating this year! Let’s make it the BEST one yet 🙂



Are you joining in the fun?! Set yourself up for success by planning and prepping today. Tweet me a pic of your grocery haul or leave a comment with this week’s meal plan. I’d love to hear what you’re cooking this week!

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  1. Casey Kilareski on June 24, 2013 at 3:54 pm

    Love your site and looking forward to the newsletters!!

  2. liz @ on June 24, 2013 at 3:56 pm

    I did my own workout in place of Workout 4, followed by a CrossFit metcon for the HIIT that left me nice and sweaty. It included double unders, kettlebell swings, box jumps, and handstand push ups!

  3. Alyssa on June 24, 2013 at 6:00 pm

    Just checking in for my first attempt at Week 4 workout and the HIIT Challenge–WOW! GREAT workout! I was a sweaty mess by the end of the HIIT Challenge, and on such an endorphin high! Thanks, Gina for keeping me motivated and kicking my butt week after week. I am definitely considering repeating the SSU in July 🙂

  4. Mary Kathryn on June 24, 2013 at 6:10 pm

    holy legs! those lunges, followed by dead lifts were a killer!

  5. Melissa on June 24, 2013 at 6:26 pm

    Just starting the Summer Shape up- Is it too late to get the passwords?

  6. Katie on June 24, 2013 at 6:58 pm

    um. I DIED from workout 4!!! There was a great pic on Instagram… that was me too!!! I had to keep taking breaks (especially during the first superset) to keep from burning out in the first 5 minutes! The lunges with the bicep curls and upright rows did me in!

  7. lambie bickford on June 24, 2013 at 7:09 pm

    Love your site and looking forward to the newsletters!! – and the passwords!

  8. Monica on June 24, 2013 at 8:24 pm

    Damn, girl!! The workout for week 4 was intense!! The lunges left my legs burning, and I was a sweaty mess after it 😉

  9. Corina K on June 24, 2013 at 9:19 pm

    yowzas my quads after those lunges!

  10. Elena on June 25, 2013 at 1:05 am

    Feeling the burn going up and down the stairs! The burn is the change!

  11. Caitlin on June 25, 2013 at 7:14 am

    Ooh workout 4 might be the hardest yet!

  12. Natasha on June 25, 2013 at 10:31 am

    ahh!! The lunges were killer!! I was sore when I woke up today and I did the workout yesterday evening. Normally it takes 24 hours for me to be sore. Nope 12 hours this time!

  13. Amy on June 25, 2013 at 12:08 pm

    WO#4 was a killer leg workout.

  14. Katie on June 25, 2013 at 1:21 pm

    For Flexibility I did HOT YOGA! I have been meaning to try a new studio in town but always kept putting it off because I feel like I’m not “good” at yoga, but I loved every minute of it and I’m actually going to buy a package of sessions 🙂 Thanks to summer shape up for pushing me out of my comfort zone.

  15. Angela Creamer on June 25, 2013 at 2:21 pm

    My hamstrings were sore after those 1 leg dead lifts! Some Zumba today loosened me up and they feel much better now.

  16. Tracy on June 25, 2013 at 7:41 pm

    For flexibility I did Slow Burn Yoga. We concentrated on opening shoulders and binding in extended side angle. Felt great!

  17. Alyssa on June 25, 2013 at 11:46 pm

    For Flexibility I got up at 6:45 to do some morning yoga (excellent start to the day), and then when I got home from work I did a 30min run for my steady state (excellent way to end the day) 🙂

  18. Lizzie on June 26, 2013 at 2:48 pm

    I went for a hooooooot run last night – felt amazing but I definitely sweat out all of the water in my entire body. Luckily, I drank a ton during the day yesterday and am replenishing it today, too!

  19. Melissa on June 26, 2013 at 7:30 pm

    Sorry but I’m having a hard time locating your email address to get the workout 4 info.
    Have fun at your conference:)

  20. Emily Hickman on June 27, 2013 at 12:20 am

    I’m onweek threeand having difficulty reaching the leg burner link. It just keeps looping me to this page. Is there another way to reach it?

  21. Greta on June 27, 2013 at 8:45 am

    Checking in. I love workout #4! It’s so hard, but that just makes me feel even more awesome to be able to nail it!

  22. Amy on June 27, 2013 at 12:36 pm

    I did yoga for the flexibility workout (had to switch tues and wed’s schedule). It was my first class, and I really enjoyed it.

  23. catherine c. on June 27, 2013 at 12:53 pm

    did my steady state yesterday! i’m a day behind but still going!!

  24. Norlyn on June 27, 2013 at 4:40 pm

    I did workout 4 on Monday, and I’m STILL sore today. Sitting hurts, standing hurts, and yesterday morning I went to sit on the toilet, and my legs gave out and I fell onto my poor sore butt on the toilet seat. It was hilarious. And I LOVE it. I am so excited to do workout 4 again after work today. I’m also a little scared. I am DEFINITELY doing SSU again through July.

  25. Alyssa on June 28, 2013 at 10:40 am

    Started my Friday off right with a slow and happy five mile run 🙂

  26. Nichole on June 28, 2013 at 10:07 pm

    How can I get the passwords for the workout plans?

  27. Jen on June 29, 2013 at 3:42 am

    Just finished my final workout #4! I can tell I’ve gotten stronger… I used to only be able to do 1 pull-up unassisted ; just now I did 3! That’s a 200% increase, haha.

    • Fitnessista on June 30, 2013 at 2:38 am

      that’s amazing!!

  28. Lindsey on June 29, 2013 at 1:02 pm

    Is it too late to sign up? I want in!

  29. Gabby on June 29, 2013 at 1:21 pm

    Is it too late to sign up?

  30. catherine c. on June 29, 2013 at 2:58 pm

    Ok checking in for past two days! I am a day behind…but on Thursday it was my flexibility day…did that plus some walking around the block.

    yesterday, I did WO 4 again! & man, i’m feeling it today!!! about to go do “easy cardio” for today!

  31. Cristal on June 30, 2013 at 1:03 pm

    Gina, For the “flexibility” option, do you have any recommendations on what to do?

    • Fitnessista on June 30, 2013 at 1:07 pm

      A short yoga podcast, Pilates, stretch or foam roll

  32. AE on July 2, 2013 at 6:43 am

    I’m very late… :o/
    Can I sign up for this, please? Thanks for all, I love your blog!
    AE from France

  33. sarah on July 2, 2013 at 5:00 pm

    when will the password protection be dropped on these? thanks!

    • Fitnessista on July 2, 2013 at 5:09 pm

      just fixed it- thanks for the reminder!

  34. Cristal on July 3, 2013 at 8:20 pm

    Hi Gina,
    I love the workouts from all of your Shape Ups. I have found that some of the workouts from the Summer Shape up 2013 took a really long time. The days that I did strength and cardio it took me about an hour and a half. Don’t get me wrong, I have seen great results, but it hasn’t been easy to work out for this duration on those days. My only suggestion for future Shape Ups is that they are more time sensitive.

    Thanks for all the work you have put into the Shape Ups.

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