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…. πŸ˜‰

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.Β 

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.Β 


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

Week 4 Workout and Meal Ideas


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

Flexibility:Β 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 πŸ˜‰

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 πŸ™‚



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!

Post Navigation:


  1. Corina K on June 17, 2013 at 9:58 pm

    checking in for WO #3. WHEW. getting stronger every day!

  2. Emily Hickman on June 17, 2013 at 10:56 pm

    Hey i didn’t get the password for week two. Could someone please let me know it? I have the ones for weeks 1 and 3.

  3. vicky on June 18, 2013 at 12:52 am


  4. Pua on June 18, 2013 at 2:39 am

    Loving the summer shape up! Got in my workout today. πŸ™‚

  5. Michelle on June 18, 2013 at 4:02 am

    Completed SSU Week 3 workout this morning. I LOVED this one! With not as many compound moves, I was able to bust right through, finishing 3 rounds with not too much rest in between exercises. This kept my heart rate up and I burned a ton of calories. Plus I felt great after. I’m already looking forward to doing it again.

  6. Alli Heim on June 18, 2013 at 8:39 am

    I would like to join in! I know I’m late!

  7. Nicole on June 18, 2013 at 8:44 am

    Completed workout #3 and it’s my favorite so far! Keep up the good work loving this summer shape up Gina! Got to go and finish my healthy breakfast prep πŸ˜‰

  8. Natasha on June 19, 2013 at 2:37 pm

    I am baby when it comes to the heat so I decided to do 45 minutes of cardio inside, 30 on the elliptical and 15 on the bike. I need to go late or super early to run in the summer and doing nothing always seems better! haha.

  9. Tracy on June 19, 2013 at 2:49 pm

    Today I switched WO3 for active recovery so I could go to my favorite yoga. WO#3 tomorrow. The Leg burner will be a good addition!

  10. Ruthie on June 19, 2013 at 3:51 pm

    Luckily I’d printed everything out at the beginning of the week so the blog downtime didn’t mess me up but nice of you to send the email w/everything out just in case.

    Heads up on a couple issues I noticed in case you get around to fixing ’em. The barre burner link sends you back to this SSU Intro post instead of the workout. And I did the Sage Fitness Barre Burner for this (talk about shaky legs!!) . . . workout cuts off at 6:24 but I just finished out the same thing we did on the first side. Not sure whether there was more to it, though?

  11. liz @ on June 19, 2013 at 4:17 pm

    checking for yesterday and today! I did a CrossFit workout yesterday and workout 3 today!

  12. Erin on June 19, 2013 at 8:04 pm

    How can I join I know I am late?

  13. Britt on June 19, 2013 at 10:03 pm

    Oops I read the wrong workout info and did last Wednesday’s workout. I’ll do workout 3 in the morning haha

  14. CrysCabral on June 20, 2013 at 8:22 am

    Hi Gina,

    Really LOVING The SSU. I’m a week behind your schedule so I’m on Week 2 now and really feeling the impact on my body. I’m wondering: you mentioned MyFitnessPal- how do you enter your workouts in? Do you just call it strength training? Or do you track the cals elsewhere and add them in on your own? Can you tell I’m new to this? My old workouts just consisted of Jillian Michaels DVDs and running, so you can tell I’m so excited for Summer Shape Up!

    Thank you!!!

  15. MistyEML on June 20, 2013 at 9:21 am

    Can I join?

  16. Greta on June 20, 2013 at 9:43 am

    Did Workout#3 yesterday so I’m checking in! Feeling sore in the chest today in muscles I didn’t know I had.

    • Fitnessista on June 20, 2013 at 10:42 am

      awesome! πŸ™‚

  17. Allison on June 20, 2013 at 6:20 pm

    Am a couple days behind so did workout #3 for the first time today. LOve your workouts – can certainly feel it but they go quick so I can fit them into my day!

  18. Alyssa on June 20, 2013 at 6:36 pm

    wasn’t feeling like working out yesterday, but I went to the gym and busted out Workout 3, Ab Burner & Leg Burner anyway! Definitely felt much better after going πŸ™‚ enjoying a day of rest today before getting back at it tomorrow πŸ™‚

  19. Elaine on June 20, 2013 at 6:39 pm

    Did workout #3. Kid’s been sick this week and disrupting my morning gym time! But determined to hit the bike tomorrow am. My triceps are burning!

  20. Maureen on June 21, 2013 at 10:05 am

    Can’t wait!

  21. liz @ on June 21, 2013 at 1:26 pm

    checking in – those diamond booties are so deceiving! Looks easy but I felt the burn in my glutes! Thanks for introducing the new move Gina πŸ™‚

  22. Christie on June 21, 2013 at 1:44 pm

    I’d like to sign up for the SSU even though I’m late to the party. I was making a cross country move with a toddler πŸ™‚

  23. Cherlyn on June 21, 2013 at 2:18 pm

    Can’t believe Week 3 is almost over. This has been a great plan to follow. I feel great!

  24. Olena on June 21, 2013 at 2:33 pm

    Hi Gina,

    I just recently found your blog, and I am so happy I did! You’re truly a great motivation! I’d really love to join in, even though I’m late. I’m getting married on August 31 and I think it’s exactly what I need! Please, let me know what I have to do in order to get the previous passwords and the future ones as well! Thank you! xoxo

    • Fitnessista on June 21, 2013 at 2:56 pm

      thank you so much for reading! just click the box under the comments to sign up for the newsletter- all the passwords will be emailed to you

  25. Daniela on June 21, 2013 at 4:04 pm

    I’m late but i’d like to sign up! I checked the box below.

  26. Jenn on June 21, 2013 at 5:40 pm

    Loving summer shape up! Just did the week 3 workout for the first time and my muscles are shaking. It’s been a crazy week (hurt baby, husband out of town) so I’ve had to move things around and just do what I could and be ok with that. I was feeling down about that, but hey…at least I did what I could!

  27. Sara on June 21, 2013 at 6:19 pm

    Any recommendations for Saturday’s “Flexibility” workout?

  28. Alyssa on June 22, 2013 at 1:32 am

    Had the BEST workout today doing workout 3 & HIIT (25min). I left the gym sweaty and on such an endorphin high! I can’t wait to check out the week 4 workout, and I am so sad that we are already almost done with week 3! I might just have to repeat the shape up in July πŸ˜‰

  29. Pua on June 22, 2013 at 1:39 am

    Getting my meals together for next week! πŸ™‚

  30. Susan on June 22, 2013 at 6:06 am

    I would like to join!

  31. Amanda on June 22, 2013 at 10:26 am

    I’d like to sign up for the newsletter πŸ™‚

  32. Amy on June 22, 2013 at 11:11 am

    I want to join and do it for July!

  33. Nancy on June 22, 2013 at 4:16 pm

    Hi Gina, thank you so much for providing us with the motivation and advice to keep us on track all summer! I’m looking forward to learning more about building lean muscle, and incorporating healthy dietary and fitness ideas into my daily life!

  34. Allie on June 22, 2013 at 4:27 pm

    So excited for the week 4 workout! Can’t wait to rock it πŸ™‚ Thanks, Gina!!

  35. Samantha C. on June 22, 2013 at 6:06 pm

    Skipped ahead of schedule a little and did the week 4 workout. I am a sweaty (hot) mess! Another awesome workout, Gina. The reach and rolls were a personal favorite– fun but deceptively hard!

  36. Niki on June 23, 2013 at 8:40 am

    I’ve not received the email with the week 4 password – would it be possible to resend? I’m excited for week 4 but sad the SSU is coming to an end! It’s been awesome!!

  37. Niki on June 23, 2013 at 8:41 am

    Forgot to tick the box…

  38. Molly on June 23, 2013 at 4:10 pm

    After competing in three (one 70.3 and two Olympic distance) triathlons already this season, I’m a little burned out on swim/bike/run and want to mix my workouts up. Thanks for always putting together efficient and effective workouts!

  39. Abby on June 23, 2013 at 8:07 pm

    Excited for Week 4! I think I’m going to go through again for an 8 week program since it flew by so fast this time.

  40. Amanda on June 23, 2013 at 8:35 pm

    I am very late, but only just found your blog. I can’t stop reading your blog posts πŸ™‚ Such an inspiration <3 Very happy I found your blog!

  41. Karen on June 23, 2013 at 8:37 pm

    Did workout #4 this morning and it made me super sweaty. A trainer at my gym said she was going to steal the chest press leg lift combo for her clients!

  42. Samantha on June 23, 2013 at 9:47 pm

    I’d like to sign up

  43. Alyssa on June 23, 2013 at 11:38 pm

    Though today was going to be a rest day, I had the energy and was feeling like a run so I did a quick and easy (30min) steady state run outside. It felt great! AND now I have an extra rest day stored away for this week…for when I really need it (aka am feeling lazy/tired/unmotivated) πŸ˜‰

  44. liz @ on June 24, 2013 at 12:07 am

    I went to a birthday party/bbq today so after eating up, we played volleyball. I can’t remember the last time I played volleyball so it was a lot of fun, especially because it was in sand and we were barefoot! I’d count that as active recovery πŸ˜‰

  45. Tracy on June 24, 2013 at 12:27 am

    I want to join…way late!

  46. Theresa on June 24, 2013 at 12:31 am

    Loving the workouts! SSU has been the perfect workout plan to keep me motivated this summer! πŸ™‚

  47. Paula on June 24, 2013 at 5:59 am

    Joining in!

  48. Michelle on June 24, 2013 at 12:03 pm

    I’m in!!! Just found this page and LOOOOVE it. Better late than never πŸ˜‰

    • Fitnessista on June 24, 2013 at 3:16 pm

      whoo hoo! amen to that πŸ™‚

  49. cara on June 24, 2013 at 1:13 pm

    Very late!! But I’d love to join…better late than never!!

  50. Lace @ FamilyFitnessandFoodery on June 24, 2013 at 2:35 pm

    So excited to do this! I am needing a change up big time before I plateau or lose motivation. Thanks for the Workouts!!

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.