Bikini season is upon us, and soon we will be compelled by lovely, warm, summer weather to bare some flesh. So if you’re feeling a little flabby, we’ve put together a high intensity body blasting exercise regime that’ll bring you closer to your ideal beach body. Here’s how to klap those kilojoules quickest and get you into shape fastest.
If you’re looking to lose fat, don’t starve yourself. This will kick your body into starvation mode (duh), reducing your metabolism and making it more difficult to burn fat. Your best bet is to continue eating your usual portion sizes, but switch to healthier, low fat foods. In other words, cut out refined carbs and sugar, get plenty of fresh fruit and veg, eat only lean meat (chicken or beef trimmed of skin and fat, or fish) and stay away from alcohol. Reducing your salt intake will also help to curb water retention.
Resistance training burns kilojoules. Unlike aerobic exercise, it increases the kilojoules you burn at rest for hours after your workout.
You don’t need to go out and buy weights – you can use your own body weight. To start, try 10 reps, three times a day, of the following exercises, increasing to 20 after one week, then 30 (except for the Plank). These exercises will help to tone and build muscle (but not too much muscle) – you should start to see results in the third week.
1. Push ups: If you can’t do a straight push up – balancing on toes and hands – then try a half push-up. Balance on your knees rather than your toes, which will reduce the weight you need to lift.
2. Tricep dips: With your hands behind your back, support yourself on your palms at the edge of a sturdy chair (you don’t want to topple the chair as you sink into your tricep dip!). Lower yourself, keeping your back close to the chair. Push yourself up until your arms are straight.
3. Squats: Simply stand up straight with your legs shoulder width apart, feet turned slightly outward. Keeping your back straight, bend your legs and lower yourself, as if you are about to sit on a chair, until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Do not allow your knees to extend over your feet as this will increase the likelihood that you will hurt them! Use your leg muscles to push yourself back into a standing position.
4. The Plank: Lie face down on mat resting on your forearms, palms flat on the floor. Push your body off the floor, raising up onto your toes and resting on the elbows. Keep your back flat, in a straight line from head to heels. Tilt your pelvis and contract your abdominals to prevent your rear end from sticking up in the air or sagging in the middle. Try to hold the position for 20 seconds at a time. After a week, increase to 40 seconds, and 60 seconds a week after that.
5. Lunges: Stand with right foot forward, left foot back (just under about a metre or so). Bend your knees to lower your body towards the floor. Keep the front knee behind your toes and be sure to lower straight down rather than forward. Keep your back straight and abs in as you push through the front heel and back to your starting position.
High-intensity interval training
As the title suggests, this consists of short, intense bouts of activity repeated at intervals, which allows you to burn kilojoules faster than continuous moderate-intensity exercise (such as jogging). The idea is to set a 2:1 ratio for recovery to work periods. So if you’re just starting out, walking for two minutes and jogging for one, then walking again for two minutes, and so on, is your best bet. To begin, try this for 20 minutes every day for a week, then increase the time to 30 minutes. As your fitness increases, you can then graduate to adding sprinting to the mix: so two minutes walking, one minute jogging, 30 seconds sprinting, two minutes walking and so on.
• Remember to consult your doctor before starting any new fitness progamme.