84% of gay men say they feel under “intense pressure” to have a “good body”, GQ reports. While it’s important to remember that everyone’s different and there’s no such thing as a perfect body, regular exercise is a proven method of improving appearance, health, and body image alike. By incorporating simple yet effective exercises into your workout routine, you can challenge your fitness and sculpt your ideal body while having fun at the same time. 

Sumo squats

Working your legs (some of the biggest muscles in your body) “elicits a significant acute hormonal response” and elevates testosterone levels, a study in Sports Medicine found. Training this area of the body also boosts your metabolism, increases lean muscle mass, and tones and sculpts the legs. Sumo squats, in particular, are a simple yet effective way of working your glutes, quads, and hamstrings —  more so than any other leg exercise. To begin, stand with your feet out wide and toes pointed outward 45 degrees. Bend your knees and lower your hips as low as possible. Keep the weight in your heels and your knees behind your toes, all the while engaging your core. Come out of the squat and tighten your quads as you stand tall. Perform three rounds of around 15 reps. You can also take this move up a notch by holding a heavy dumbbell in front of you.  

Pull-ups for upper body strength

Pull-ups target your upper body and help you build a strong and sexy V-shaped back. They also help strengthen your arm and shoulder muscles, as well as your grip strength. To perform a pull-up, all you need is a pull-up bar; grab onto the bar with your hands apart wider than your shoulders and your palms facing away from you. Next, try and pull yourself up with the goal of getting your chin higher than the bar. Beginners can simply hang from the bar and work on building up strength over time. Alternatively, if you’re not yet ready to invest in a pull-up bar, resistance bands are an affordable and effective alternative. Robust exercise bands designed for pull-ups can help you improve upper body strength, while also recruiting your core and stabilizer muscles to help you maintain good form. 

Hill sprints

By recruiting major muscles of the body, including your lower back and hamstrings, hill sprints can improve endurance and muscle strength at the same time. They’re also great at sculpting your lower abs and glutes. Ideally, opt for a hill that’s not too steep, so you’re able to sprint up it. Alternatively, you can do hill sprints on the treadmill — select a seven or eight incline and sprint for as long as possible before lowering the speed to a comfortable pace. 

With the right exercise routine, you can build your physical fitness while sculpting your physique. Sumo squats, pull-ups, and hill sprints are just a few simple yet effective moves to strengthen and tone your beach body.