Weight Loss

4 Weeks To A Bikini Body

Hello, summer! The arrival of hotter days can only mean one thing – it’s time to tone up and slim down. But your lean body routine needn’t seem like a second job. You can get fit for the beach in just four weeks if you’re prepared to work hard. “If you do anything intensely enough, heavy enough and fast enough, you’re going to see some serious results,” says Dyl Salamon, personal trainer at Gym Box Covent Garden (@strong.i.am; strongiam.com ). “The harder you exercise, the more calories you burn and the better shape your body will be in.” Sounds tough but good, doesn’t it? So, if you’ve been hitting the gym all year and want to speed up results, here’s how to do it. You’ll soon feel confident enough to hit the beach.

YOUR WORKOUTS

To slim and shape your body from head to toe, you need a smart combination of the fitness essentials – cardiovascular exercise, to break down sugar and burn fat; strength work, to build muscle definition, and stretching sessions to keep you injury-free. But not all of the fitness essentials were created equal, and some methods are more effective than others. We spoke to the experts to find out what you should do in the gym for maximum results.

    • STRENGTH WORK Don’t be afraid to lift heavy weights. “Lifting heavy weights won’t make you bulky,” says Salamon. “It will put you on the path to burning fat and sculpting feminine curves!” Before attempting to go heavy, build a strength base by lifting light-to-moderate weights for several months. These methods are not for the faint-hearted!
      PHA (PERIPHERAL HEART ACTION) TRAINING
      Salamon notes that the best way to burn fat while building muscle is to create a huge demand for oxygen in your lower and then upper body muscles. This forces the heart to work hard to pump blood (and oxygen) to your extremities. This is the basis of PHA training and it can be achieved by doing a circuit of 4-8 resistance exercises that are split into a lower body move, a core move, an upper body push move and an upper body pull move. Choose heavy weights that will be tough to lift but won’t cause muscle failure. Try Salamon’s circuit below.
      Do 10 reps of any of the following. Complete as many sets as possible in 45 minutes.
      LOWER BODY
      Squats
      Lunges
      Box jumps
      CORE
      Sit ups
      Reverse crunches
      Medicine ball twists

      UPPER BODY PUSH

      Push ups
      Dumbbell shoulder press
      Lateral raises
      UPPER BODY PULL
      Pull ups
      Bent over row
      Reverse flys
      GVT (GERMAN VOLUME TRAINING)
      Fact: the more muscle you have, the more calories you’ll burn every second. The hormone testosterone is responsible for creating muscle mass but women don’t have a lot of it. According to Salamon, heavy multi-joint moves performed at a slow tempo will maximise your muscle gains. GVT involves doing a multi-joint move with a heavy weight (think: 60 percent of what you can lift for one rep) for 10 sets of 10 reps. Aim to lift the weight for a count of two seconds and lower the weight for a count of three seconds. Try the workout below.
      BARBELL SQUAT
      REPS : 10
      SETS: 10

      DEADLIFT

      REPS : 10
      SETS: 10
      LATERAL RAISES
      REPS : 10
      SETS: 10

      BENCH PRESS

      REPS : 10
      SETS: 10

    • CARDIO EXERCISE Cardiovascular exercise is a great addition to any training plan. It keeps your heart and lungs in tip-top shape, while burning oodles of energy and, in turn, calories. You’re not short of options when it comes to doing cardio – hit the roads for a run, go to a cycling class, try a bootcamp or swim some laps in a pool – but our favourite ways to drop pounds are these:
      HIIT (HIGH INTENSITY INTERVAL TRAINING)
      Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, you’ll have heard of HIIT workouts by now. “HIIT is a great training method for fat loss,” explains Kelsie Brownlie, personal trainer at Pure Gym Stoke North. “It involves alternating between periods of short, intense anaerobic exercise and spurts of less-intense activity.” This powerful combo recruits fast-twitch muscle fibres, which use up lots of fuel and burn oodles of calories. You’ll even continue to burn energy after you finish your workout. Wow. Try this session:
      TABATA WORKOUT – perform any highintensity exercise (think: shuttle sprints, jump squats, burpees, tuck jumps, skipping) for 20 seconds. Rest for 10 seconds only. Repeat for eight rounds. Then choose a new exercise and do another eight rounds. Complete as many rounds as possible in 15-20 minutes.
      LONG SLOW DISTANCE (LSD)
      Get ready to relax (well, sort of)! Long distance cardiovascular exercise performed at an easy intensity is a great way to improve your aerobic fitness. It enhances muscular endurance and builds a good foundation for harder, shorter workouts. Choose any activity – running, cycling, rowing, swimming – and do it slowly for a long period of time. Easy.

    • STRETCHING SESSIONS Don’t forget to stretch your limbs! Two or three stretching sessions a week will improve your range of motion and decrease your risk of injury, so it’s an important part of any training plan. Yoga classes are great for boosting flexibility, as are other stretch-based workouts. If you want to keep it short and sweet, tag a few static stretches on to the end of your gym workout. After all, flexibility exercises work best when the muscles are warm.
      YOUR DIET
      If you want to see slim-line results, you’ll need to watch what you eat. Fortunately, a smart diet doesn’t mean food deprivation. Follow these tips from nutritionist Kim Pearson for dieting success.
      GO GREEN
      Green tea increases metabolic rate and helps burn calories. It can be enjoyed cold, so make a pitcher, add slices of lemon and keep the fridge.
      EAT CLEAN
      Instead of crash dieting, eat well. A diet rich in fresh and natural foods is the best way to achieve a beach body that will last summer after summer. Drink plenty of pure water and avoid processed foods.

      DO DETOX

      Chemicals and toxins in the air, water, food and medications can interfere with weight loss by slowing down metabolism and decreasing feelings of fullness. Regular herbal cleansing is an overlooked weight management tool. Try shifting those extra pounds with an all-natural herbal cleansing programme like Renew Life’s CleanseSMART (£29.99; renewlife.co.uk ).
      GET HOT
      Chilli peppers contain capsacin, which is known for its metabolism-boosting effects. This means it speeds up the rate at which your body burns calories. Add chillies to stir fries and soups

  • PUT IT ALL TOGETHER! Ready to up the ante of your exercise plan? Try our four-week bikini body plan to slim down for swimsuit season
    WEEK 1
    Monday
    45 mins S/W
    10 mins S/S
    Tuesday
    15 mins HIIT
    Wednesday
    Rest
    Thursday
    45 mins S/W
    10 mins S/S
    Friday
    15 mins HIIT
    Saturday
    Rest
    Sunday
    30 mins LSD
    10 mins S/S
    WEEK 2
    Monday
    45 mins S/W
    10 mins S/S
    Tuesday
    15 mins HIIT
    Wednesday
    Rest
    Thursday
    45 mins S/W
    10 mins S/S
    Friday
    15 mins HIIT
    Saturday
    Rest
    Sunday
    30 mins LSD
    10 mins S/S
    WEEK 3
    Monday
    45 mins S/W
    10 mins S/S
    Tuesday
    20 mins HIIT
    Wednesday
    Rest
    Thursday
    45 mins S/W
    10 mins S/S
    Friday
    20 mins HIIT
    Saturday
    Rest
    Sunday
    30 mins LSD
    10 mins S/S
    WEEK 4
    Monday
    45 mins S/W
    10 mins S/S
    Tuesday
    20 mins HIIT
    Wednesday
    Rest
    Thursday
    45 mins S/W
    10 mins S/S
    Friday
    20 mins HIIT
    Saturday
    Rest
    Sunday
    30 mins LSD
    10 mins S/S

DECODE IT!

S/W – Strength Work.
Squat, push and pull your way to a sleeker physique. Choose from the strength methods outlined above or do your own full-body routine.
HIIT – High Intensity Interval Training.
Sweat like a pig; look like a fox! Choose to do the HIIT routine outlined above or try a high intensity class like boxing, indoor cycling, Insanity or Tabata.
LSD – Long Slow Distance.
Increase your stamina with some steady cardio. Choose to do your favourite cardio activity, whether that’s treadmill running or cycling with friends.
S/S – Stretching Session.
Stretch in the gym or hit a yoga class – do anything that improves your range of motion and eases muscle tightness.
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Sarah Ivory