Everyone's favorite season is just around the corner and you've probably already spotted the large selection of bathing suits that are lining the store walls. Are you ready to bare your body this year? If not, don't panic, there is still plenty of time to prepare yourself. Below are 20 quick and easy tips you can use to make sure you are looking your best when you hit the beach.
1. Embrace Your Curves
So you've put on a little weight over the winter. This isn't the end of the world because right now curvier women are being toted as more attractive than the runway look anyway. The key is finding a bathing suit that is going to emphasize your best features. When you do this correctly, the parts you are less than confident in will not be as noticeable.
2. Get A Tan
Pretty much everyone will look better when they are sporting a nice, golden tan. It is no big secret that all fitness and bodybuilding competitor's lather on the tanning sprays before hitting the stage.
Your muscles will be more defined and you will give off an overall leaner appearance. So either give yourself a few sessions in a tanning bed before summer, or if you are worried about the harmful effects of beds, try a tanning spray or cream.
- Pro Tan Presents: Sunny Day Sunless Tanning Lotion
- Dream Tan Presents: Professional Self-Tanning Spray
They make them really well now that oftentimes your tan will come out looking just as real as if you would have just had a vacation in the tropics.
3. Watch Your Carbs
Consuming a great deal of refined carbohydrates is a great way to promote water retention—something that is not going to act as your friend when it's just you and your bikini walking down the beach.
Focus more of your carbohydrate intake on fruits, vegetables and unprocessed grains to eliminate this issue.
4. Forgo Carbonated Beverages
If you are drinking so much diet soda that you could practically endorse the stuff, it may be time to give this habit the old heave ho.
Unfortunately while they can be great dieting aids to stave off hunger and prevent you from consuming higher calorie beverages, the carbonation in these drinks can leave you looking bloated.
The day you plan to make an appearance in your new bikini, it might be a smart move to trade that Diet Pepsi in for a tall class of water with lime.
5. Add Some Intervals
To really get that fat-loss burning kicked up a notch, add some high intensity intervals to your cardio training routine. Studies have shown that these are far more effective in terms of burning body fat than puttering along for a longer duration but at an easier pace.
Add to this the benefit that it requires less time in the gym from you and it's really a no-lose situation. Try for 30 seconds hard and a minute and a half easy for a period of 20-30 minutes. As you become more advanced either increase the hard period's intensity even further or increase the work interval while shortening the rest period.
Dry skin gives off a dull appearance which is something that isn't going to improve your muscle tone to any degree. Taking the time once per week to exfoliate and apply a deep moisturizing cream will get your skin in the best shape possible so people don't notice it, along with any of the perceived body flaws you may think you have.
7. Stand Up Straight
Possibly the single most important thing you could do to instantly look better when in a bikini is use good posture. Pulling your shoulders back and keeping your head up will not only give you loads of confidence but will also pull your stomach in and improve the curvature of your back.
For most people, confidence is the sexiest thing someone notices about you so if proper posture improves this, it should definitely not be something that's overlooked.
8. Increase Your Protein Intake
Every time you eat food your body is going to burn calories in the process of digestion. This is referred to as TEF (thermodynamic effect of food).
Protein digestion tends to use the highest number of calories, generally around 20-30%, whereas carbohydrates rank in around 10% and fat is a measly 2-3%. This means that if you eat 100 calories of any of these foods, you will actually only net a total of about 75 calories for protein, 90 calories for carbs and 97 calories for fat.
When cutting your calorie intake is a goal, consuming more of your calories from protein is a wise move. Obviously don't take this to the extreme and go and eat a 100% protein diet, as that is neither smart nor healthy, but consider upping the percentage from what you are consuming now slightly.
9. Add In Some Squats
If you aren't currently doing squats in your exercise program, now is the time to start. If there is a single weight training exercise that is going to improve your lower physique, this is it.
It will help lift your bum while also toning your thighs. Add to the fact that it's so intense in nature and will therefore be a terrific calorie burner and you really can't go wrong.
10. Don't Forget Your Feet
After spending the winter and spring months in shoes and boots, your feet may be a little less than sandal ready. Treat yourself to a professional pedicure to get things looking great again.
Having a nice paint job and callus free feet will be the finishing touches on your look.
11. Drink More Water
Staying well hydrated will not only keep your skin looking clearer but it will also help reduce any bloating you are experiencing from the foods you eat. If you aren't getting 7-8 glasses a day, now is a great time to start.
Remember it doesn't have to be plain water either; many people get sick of the taste after 3-4 glasses, there are many flavouring add-ins such as Crystal Light on the market today to give it more flavour.
Or, if you are trying to get your protein intake up there, look into Syntrax's line of Nectar proteins. These mix terrific with plain water and taste almost like Kool-Aid!
12. Add In Some Uphill Walking
If you are a big fan of walking for your cardio workouts, try ramping this up by going at it on an incline. This increases the intensity greatly and will really target your glute muscles.
If you want a toned back side, this is one form of cardio that will get you there fast! Alternate periods of incline with flat (or alternatively find a hilly path to walk on) to build up your endurance.
13. Give Yourself A Small Treat
You may be tempted to put anything that isn't 100% clean on the 'off-limits' list for your diet in your efforts to lose weight as quickly as possible. While it's great to have this motivation, it may not be the best method.
You might be able to avoid all temptation for a good week or two but after that generally most people will find it harder and harder to say no. If they keep pushing themselves though, they are creating a lot of cognitive dissonance in their minds (one part is saying yes, while the other is saying no).
This could lead to an all-out binge where you consume thousands of calories in a sitting. Rather than letting it get to this point, simply allow yourself a single, small piece of chocolate or half a scoop of your favorite ice cream each day. Those 20-50 calories won't amount to a whole lot of damage to your diet and could really help you stick with it for the long term.
14. Don't Forget To Work Your Back
With so much of the focus on legs and abs, many women forget to spend a good portion of their workouts on their back. Don't underestimate the power a nicely defined back can have on your overall appearance this summer.
Make sure you are including bent-over rows, lat pull-downs and pull-ups in your workout sessions at least once per week to target these muscles.
15. Avoid Horizontal Stripes
When choosing your bathing suit, you will more than likely want to avoid wearing horizontal stripes. These will really make you look wider than you are which is something almost everyone wants to avoid.
Solid colors tend to look the best and then remember to keep thing simple around any areas you are less than confident about (for example, if you feel you have large hips, avoid anything that ties around this area—it will only draw more attention to it).
16. Try One Of The Many Fat Burners Available
Some individuals may want to add a supplement to help speed their fat loss along. There are plenty of fat burners on the market today that do just that.
They vary in what they contain so if there are any particular ingredients you are sensitive to or simply don't want, it's more than likely you can find one tailored to your needs. Many of these will act as appetite suppressants as well, helping to keep that hunger in check while you are dieting.
17. Make Sure You Are Getting Enough Essential Fats
Getting a good intake of essential fatty acids is extremely important if you are looking to lose body fat. These will help it so you do not become insulin resistance and make your body better able to utilize carbohydrates.
You should aim for about 6 grams per day, either in supplemental or food form. Since most people do not consume this much strictly from food alone, most will opt to use a supplement.
18. Reduce Your Stress
If you are feeling enormous amounts of stress over squeezing into your bikini already, this isn't going to help your body look any better. When we have high stress levels our bodies tend to produce more cortisol, which can trigger the storage of abdominal fat in some people.
Look for ways in which you can reduce your stress, such as taking a yoga class or having a nice warm bath before bed. It will be well worth your effort and could create a noticeable difference in your physique.
19. Hit The Gym Before The Beach
If you are planning on going to the beach for the day, trying to get in an early morning workout is a smart move. Make sure you hit the weights during this workout as the stimulation will help to bring more oxygen to your muscles, giving them a fuller and more 'pumped up' appearance.
As far as 'faking it' goes in terms of looking toned and defined, this is your best option. Focus on doing slightly higher rep ranges, aiming for about 10-15 reps per set to really increase the amount of sarcoplasmic inflammation you experience (which will lead to fuller looking muscles).
Lastly, don't forget to have a good time this summer. Remember that the more comfortable you feel, the better image of yourself you will project and thus the more attractive you will look.
Don't force yourself to wear a bathing suit that you don't think looks good. If you still aren't completely confident, look for one of the wraps they have available.
Be proud that you are making a dedication to your exercise and fitness plan, even if you haven't obtained your ideal body, you are so much healthier now than before and that is nothing to be ashamed of.