We have the ultimate plan to prepare you.
Spring is right around the corner! Are you bikini ready? Whether you are hitting the Bahamas or simply your neighborhood pool you still want to look and feel your best for this swimsuit season. We have the ultimate plan to get you ready!
EXERCISE: We will start out with a few killer tips to get the most out of your workout and prep your body for the beach. We all know that cardio is one of the best ways to trim your waistline, but many tend to overlook strength training. Cardio and strength training must go hand-in-hand to get optimal results.
-Squats: If you don’t do this already, make this a regular addition to your workout program. Squats are possibly the best weight-training exercise you can do to improve your lower physique. They will tone your thighs and glutes while burning calories making this a double reward.
Tip: Stand with your feet shoulder width apart, and slowly bend your knees—making sure not to go over the toes. Keep your back straight and butt sticking out. Squat as low as you can go—the lower you go the more the glutes are working. Slowly return to starting position and then repeat. This move tones glutes, quads and hamstrings. Do 10-12 reps in sets of three. To increase the resistance add a padded bar of 8-10 pounds rested across your shoulders.
-Lunges: This is the best complement exercise to the squat.
Tip: Split legs—one forward, one behind, keeping the front leg bent (again, avoid letting your knee go over your toes) while the back leg is kept straight. You can do this with hands on your hips to start—and once you work up to it, add the weights at your side. Slowly lower yourself down, keep your back leg straight, until your back knee is almost touching the ground. Keep all the weight in your heels, slowly rise to starting position. Do 8-12 reps in sets of three.
-Jump Rope: Unlike creams, gels, and wishes, jumping rope is the most effective way to rid your butt and thighs of cellulite. In addition to blasting cellulite, this great workout shapes your calves and strengthens the heart.
Tip: The best way to incorporate jumping rope is in-between sets of weight training. This allows you to maximize the calories you burn in a short period of time, so you don’t have to spend hours at the gym, all while getting a better workout.
-Intervals: Doing intervals instead of slow steady cardio will burn more calories, and help you get results in a shorter period of time.
Tip: Add 20-60 second intervals of intense cardio every three minutes of your cardio workout.
-Walk at an incline. Jump on the NordicTrack x7i and increase the incline by 40% to really work your glute muscles. Walking at an incline will greatly increase the intensity of your cardio workout while toning your backside.
-Chisel those abs: Try doing more than just the basic crunch because they only target a limited area of your core. There are many moves that can strengthen and tone your core. Here are a few that will really make you feel the burn:
Plank- This is a great exercise that will build strength and endurance in your abs and back.
Tip: Lie face down on the floor. Lift up onto your toes while resting on your elbows. Keep your back flat, in a straight line from your head to heels. Pull your belly button towards your spine to contract your core muscles. Hold the position for 30 seconds to 1 minute, then repeat doing reps of three. As you strengthen your core you can increase the time you hold the position to challenge yourself.
Bicycle- According to an ACE-commissioned study the bicycle is the most effective ab exercise.
Tip: Lie on the floor and lace your fingers behind your head. Bring the knees in towards the chest and lift the shoulder blades off the floor without pulling on the neck. Straighten the left leg out while simultaneously turning the upper body to the right, taking the left elbow towards the right knee. Switch sides, bringing the right elbow toward the left knee. Continue alternating sides in a ‘pedaling’ motion for 12-16 reps in sets of 2-3.
-Just do it: Workout, even if you only have 30 minutes. You will feel and look better. Schedule time for a workout before going to the beach because this will stimulate your muscles to look extra toned.
NUTRITION: To be summer sexy, the food you eat must emulate how you want to feel—fresh, bright and healthy. Summer is one of the greatest times to develop healthy eating habits because there are so many delicious fruits and vegetables that are in season and readily available.
-Cut out carbonation: Carbonation leaves you looking bloated. Trade in your soda for a nice glass of water.
-Stay hydrated: Staying well hydrated not only keeps your skin looking clear, but it also helps to reduce any bloating you are experiencing from the foods you eat. Make sure you are drinking around 7-8 glasses a day.
-Cut back on sodium: Who wants to feel bloated? I didn’t think so. Where there is sodium water is sure to follow. To reduce some water weight and that bloated feeling, cut back on your sodium intake (processed foods have notoriously high sodium content).
-Increase your protein intake: Your body burns calories in the process of digestion—this is known as TEF, thermodynamic effect of food. Protein tends to use the highest number of calories, generally around 20-30%, whereas carbohydrates rank in around 10% and fat is a measly 2-3%.
EXTRA tips to help you look your best in your bikini:
-Avoid Horizontal Stripes: When choosing your bathing suite, avoid wearing horizontal stripes. These will make you look wider than you are which is something most want to avoid. Solid colors tend to look the best and then remember to keep things simple around any areas you are less than confident about (for example, if you feel you have large hips, avoid anything that ties around this area—it will only draw more attention to it).
-Moisturize: Dry skin gives off a dull appearance which will underplay that muscle tone you have worked so hard to get. Make sure to use a good hydrating lotion or oil before going to beach.
-Practice good posture: This is the simplest thing you can instantly do to look better. Pull your shoulders back and keep your head up, this will help you pull your stomach in and improve the curvature of your back.
-Be confident: Your number 1 accessory is your confidence!
Keep these guidelines in mind to get you summer ready inside and out.
Written by Amy Jensen
Sources: www.bodybuilding.com, www.thebrokenheeldiaries.com, www.exercise.about.com