I recently wrote a post about the mental motivation of getting bikini ready for summer. Well, summer is here, so it's time to get down to brass tacks. We all know there is no magic bullet or cure-all diet that works overnight, but there are some things you can do right now to make real changes.
These are my favorite get-ready-for-summer moves. I chose these moves because we can all do them: They are effective, safe, and you don't need tons of equipment. Do 3 sets of 10-15 reps at least 3 to 4 times a week and you'll see a difference in as little as 2 weeks!
1. Side Lunges
Works your glutes, lower back and core. I always like to go down slow and under control (not letting gravity control the tempo) and then from a static position explode up. For beginners, go as low as you feel comfortable; if you've already been working out, make it more difficult by bringing your knee up to your chest into a standing crunch after the lunge. Increase the burn -- never set that foot on the floor until after you have completed all of your reps.
2. One leg bicep curl
Works your biceps and glutes; increases focus and core stability. Lift one knee up, squeeze your abs, and hold it while you do your set of curls. Beginners can put a heel down and toe up instead of lifting the knee up. If you want to challenge yourself take your shoes off and stand on one leg on a Bosu ball. Switch legs after each set.
Great for the triceps and can be done anywhere. We all talk about the jiggle on the back of our arms. Well, here you go. Put your hands on a bench or chair, lower your body by bending your arms and then push back up. Beginners can go as low as they feel like they can support, and if you are advanced, add a bridge at the top of the move. Bridge by pushing your hips into the air, squeezing your glutes and push on the floor through your feet. Performing dips everyday does keep the jiggle at bay. Remember triceps make up 2/3 of your upper arm.
Great for shoulders and posture. Use an incline bench or just bend at the waist in a standing position and reach left arm up while pulling right arm back. Then reverse so that right arm is up and left is back. Don't forget to engage your abs. It's critical to use VERY LIGHT WEIGHT. This move is meant to be all about technique and not trying to fling around a bunch of heavy dumbbells.
5. Exercise ball lift (or Eball lift)[[Image:12.jpg|152px|5EBallLiftB.jpg]]
Works the hamstrings, core, and shoulders. Stand with feet wider than shoulder-width apart and an exercise ball between your feet. Squat down and pick up the ball; as you stand back up lift the ball overhead. At the top of this move really stretch through your core while reaching to the ceiling. If you want to make it tougher, do this with a smaller weighted ball and go up on to your toes at the top of the move. Squeeze those legs and glutes. This is a great warm up move.
6. Lat burn[[Image:00.jpg|168px|6LatBurnB.jpg]]
I love this move! It's good for shoulders, triceps, lats, and most importantly, your posture. Stand with feet together and hold a resistance band at waist level with your elbows right by your sides. Pull hands away from each other while keeping your elbows snug against your waist. That's one rep. Remember to keep your shoulders up and back and feel the move in your upper back. Everything we do pulls our shoulders forward (driving a car, sitting in chairs on the computer). This is a very simple, friendly and effective way to get those aligned! If we are getting all swimsuit sexy then there is nothing more attractive than good posture.
7. Hip up squeeze
Want a tight tush? This is a safe way to work those glutes. It's important to concentrate on squeezing glutes at the top of the move but not jamming your neck. To make it more challenging simply add reps (try 50 for the mega burn) or just do it on one leg with the other one straight up in the air. Make sure to tighten your tummy to support your lower back during the move.
8. Tricep kickback
We're hitting the back of the arms again. The key to this move is to keep elbows in one spot and squeeze those arms. You don't need heavy weight, just proper form. Sit back in your glutes to work your core and back side, too. They have to work while holding your body during this move, so you're toning upper and lower body at the same time.
9. Front lunges[[Image:05.jpg|168px|9LegSquatA.jpg]]
Works the hamstrings, quads, and glutes most effectively, all you need is your own body weight. I like to do all of my reps on one leg first and then switch to the other side. Hold dumbbells or add reps to increase the difficulty. I love doing moves like this that challenge your balance. It's critical to move in ways that will not only make you look great, but will help you be more coordinated in everyday life.
10. Superman (or woman)
Works glutes, core, shoulders, and body balance. This move is often used in rehab and therapy to help a patient develop or create muscle balance. If you get to the level where you want to make it harder and your FORM IS PERFECT (be mindful of hips and feet opening up or your posture collapsing), hold a dumbbell in one hand, and wear ankle weights on the opposing leg. I love these moves because you are working multiple muscles at one time.
(For more photos demonstrating these moves, click here.)
If you want to really get bikini crazy then add 3 days of cardio activity (biking, spinning, walking, running, swimming, cardio classes, boot camp) for a minimum of 30 minutes. Don't worry about finding time: If you turn off the TV, or spend a little less time online, you will have the time. You don't need to drive anywhere!
On the nutrition front, commit to giving up some of the white devils that end up on our hips and bellies (bread, white rice, pasta, too much dairy, and delicious foods made with white flour). Give sugary drinks a break, and yes, that means diet soda as well! Love the red meat, but if you are eating it often try to cut back. Reach for turkey, chicken, or fish. Stay out of the drive-thru.
Try to eat good fats and carbs, too. Don't be afraid of these two foods -- your brain and your body need them -- just pick the healthier one's like nuts, veggies, avocado, brown rice and beans, or a splash of olive oil. If you don't eat enough fat, you will never feel full. This can really lead to overeating.
Get some good sleep for the next few weeks and drink tons of water. Hook up with some friends for this bikini challenge, and find ways to take some deep breaths and let the stress out. It doesn't matter if you do everything perfect; if you are walking around stressed out and unhappy this information won't be effective in the end.
In this day and age, with the stress of the economy, there is no hotter accessory than a healthy body with a smiling face on top of it. And it's FREE.
See you at the beach or pool side. Good luck!