Ah, summertime: the balmy nights, the BBQs, the happy excuse to expand your bathing suit inventory.
To help you dive into the best of the season (hello, poolside lounging), we chatted with Nike Master Trainer Utah Lee for the ultimate beach-body-ready moves you can make now—whether you’ll be hitting the sand soon or just doing summer in stay-at-home style.
Based in Hong Kong, Utah's a former fashion designer turned fitness guru who has worked with Nike since 2000. As one of the superbrand’s Master Trainers—a selective global group of those at the pinnacle of holistic fitness—Utah has had a hand in shaping Hong Kong’s emerging fitness scene, and the self-described fitness-somebody also runs events and activities for fitness and wellness around the world. One of her favorite places to get her workout on? Phuket, Thailand, where she teaches Zumba poolside at one of the island’s top resorts.
"My family and I have been spending Easter holidays at Outrigger Laguna Phuket Beach Resort for the last three years. We just LOVE that place! The staff, the facility, the food…," Utah says. "Our favourite part of the resort is the pool—ohhhhh…the poolside flashmob! That was so fun to get the staff involved, and it only took us an hour to rehearse—such a talented staff!”
If you can’t make it to an exotic locale for windswept workouts and Zumba flashmobs by the sea (yet), Utah has you covered a little closer to home, too—from the best of fitness app Nike Training Club (NTC) to must-trys for staying in shape at home.
First up, Utah's two vacay-inspiring summer workout go-to's: full-on, "don't think, just do it” burpees. And dancing, of course.
“[Burpees are] cardio that works on everything on your body," she says. "For the cardio-dancers out there, I would say just find music that inspires you, makes you move—fast paced, high energy, and fun to dance with.”
Music is crucial for staying motivated, and Utah has a few tracks that make her "home-sweat-home" shortlist, whether it's virtual cardio kickboxing or how to get abs from home.
“I love my music! I use high energy, nonstop workout music to start; then in the middle, I switch to non-stop hip-hop; and for the last bit that my people and I need—the ‘push’ for pushups and crunches—then I’ll go for 'Empire State of Mind' by Alicia Keys and 'Numb/Encore' by Jay-Z and Linkin Park," Utah says. "Listen to them and you’ll know what I mean.”
With the NTC app’s premium content free for the US market since April, it’s a turnkey way to stay on track with personalized workouts tailored to fit your specific goals—from yoga flex and mindfulness sessions to hard-core HIT (and HIIT) drills.
Utah's own The Power Start class is a great, well, start, or try a few of her other faves: Quick Fix Mobility or Essential Flow Yoga by Leah Kim. For those of us who need an outdoor fix, Mindful Meters guided mindful run in the Nike Run Club app is a joint creation of Olympic track and field sprinter English Gardner and top-ranked meditation app Headspace that brings new meaning to “going with the flow.”
Want to branch out from apps? Try Utah's Sunday stretches or her 17-mins series on Youtube—not 10, not 15, but 17 expertly crafted minutes of no-equipment-needed HIIT workouts, from full-body partner sets to kickboxing calorie-burners.
Whatever workout plan you pick, Lee acknowledges that staying in shape at home can be difficult. But her top five tips can make it a tad easier (or at least more fun):
1. Connect with friends online to train with each other—this makes it fun, easier to handle, and gives you something to share with your friends.
2. Get your family on board on eating relatively healthy.
3. Be creative with whatever you do at home (yes, that includes taking a cue from the pros and using furniture as training tools).
4. Keep distance even with your family members or housemates at home. Give each other space to breath and relax.
5. Overall, seek out things that are good for your mind and soul, for that mind/body balance.
Whether you'll be hitting the beach soon or just want to look like it, getting beach-body ready can be as much a state of mind as staying in shape. For more summer-vibe fitness tips (and a little bit of beauty and bling), check out the latest at Utah's Instagram. In the meantime, happy burpee-ing.