Want to be ready for the beach in just four weeks? Follow our totalbody plan to slip into your itsy-bitsy bikini with confidence this summer!
Sarah IvoryRead More
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.
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.
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
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.
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