The great British summer may be a wash out, but if you’ve got a holiday booked and want to look and feel your best on the beach this year now is the time to make a few changes to tone up before you tan.
1. Set a realistic goal
Crash diets and extreme exercise regimes typically result in failure. Added to which most people who take those options end up regaining the weight they lose and more. A 2lb weight loss per week is ideal for most people – that’s over half a stone in four weeks – which is definitely down a dress size for most.
2. Identify your bad food habits and replace them with good mood habits.
We all have habits that aren’t good for us – a glass of wine in the evening, a bar of chocolate in front of the telly, a dollop of mayonnaise in our sandwich. You already know which is yours.
And we all know we’d be better off drinking water, snacking on fruit or taking a healthier lunch option.
Writing your bad habit down and what you’ll replace it with is like a contract with yourself. It can be a note on your smartphone or a big chart on your fridge. Choose the monitoring method that motivates you and write down a record every time you succumb to temptation and every time you succeed by taking a better option.
You’re far more likely to behave with a physical record of your behaviour.
3. Get your heart racing three times a week
The old ‘I don’t have time’ excuse doesn’t wash in the days of YouTube-delivered high intensity workout programmes that require no equipment and very little space. If you prefer classes, running, or a circuit of your own at home it doesn’t matter as long as you’re working at a level that leaves you breathless.
The ideal is to work at intensity for half an hour, three times a week. If you can manage more – even better.
This type of training is effective because it kick-starts the metabolism and sustains a higher heart rate for some time after the exercise is over meaning the calories required during and after a HIIT session are well above those when you’re taking lower intensity exercise options.
4. Don’t resist the resistance training
Weight loss through extra cardio is one thing, and training to tone is equally important. There’s plenty of home kit you can use including kettlebells, dumbbells, resistance tubes and medicine balls – not to mention your own body weight.
Given you’ve got four weeks to tone up, the best way to work is high resistance and low rep exercises with weights hitting every part of the body. You can do bicep curls, tricep extensions, sit ups, shoulder presses, chest presses, squat and lunges with the kit you’ve got at home.
Aim to do three sets of 15 for each exercise. Select a weight that makes the last set just manageable. Pair up exercises that use different muscle groups and alternate the exercises so that when you’re working one muscle group the other muscle group is getting a rest.
Aim for two 30-minute weight sessions per week with at least one rest day in between them.
Over a four-week period you should begin to see and feel a difference in your shape and your posture. The more toned you are the higher your metabolism at rest – meaning you daily calorie requirement will rise. Plus of course you’ll look and feel better when you hit the beach.
You might consider !
adding some extra effort to your fitness routine with small weights during exercises like ankle weights.
It’s a fantastic, easy way to achieve impressive results. Moreover, if you are really want to push things to the limit – perhaps try weighted vests, after a couple of workouts, the extra effort will definitely stack for stunning results.
5. If your body’s on the beach, it’s a beach body!
When you finally get to the sun and the sea, be proud of what you’ve done and don’t let the beach bad boys – the jealousy fish and the comparison crabs – spoil your enjoyment of your achievements and your holiday.
The chances are everyone on the beach has made some effort to look their best, and you won’t be the smallest or the biggest on the sandy stretch. Accept the compliments of your fellow holiday makers when you receive them and pass on praise to those around you too.
And don’t forget to protect your beach body with plenty of sunblock.