Spring hasn’t even sprung yet - so surely it’s way too early to sweat over your summer hols?
“Summer bodies are built in winter” - or so the old saying goes - something we’d definitely agree with! If you want to look your gorgeous best as you lounge at the pool or beach in a few months’ time, now’s exactly the right time to take action.
When it comes to shaping and toning for a bikini-friendly figure, a little-by-little approach usually works best. With this in mind, here are our tips for getting your arms, abs, legs and butt in shape for maximum holiday body confidence.
Stage 1: Six Months Before Your Holiday
Check your calorie intake
Get in from work during the colder months and it’s so tempting to ditch the treadmill in favour of Netflix and some tasty treats. So first things first: try to cut down on any bad habits you might have picked up over winter (especially when it comes to diet).
The NHS recommends an intake of 2,000kcl a day for maintaining a healthy weight for women and around 2,500kcl for men.
If you need to get leaner, it’s usually far better to make sensible adjustments to your diet well in advance of your holiday (rather than trying a crazy fad diet a few weeks before you fly). So aim to lose about 0.5 to 1kg (1 to 2lbs) a week until you reach a healthy weight for your height. For this, it’s recommended that you eat and drink about 500 to 600kcal fewer per day than you need.
Not feeling the gym today? No sweat...
Motivation doesn’t ‘just happen’ - especially when your holiday is still such a long way off. If the whole idea of the gym is a massive turn off, just remember one thing: you don’t have to leave your home to help get into shape!
With a combination of bodyweight exercises and some very simple kit, you have everything you need to work out in the comfort of your own home.
For your beach-ready workout toolkit, we’d recommend the following:
Workouts: Think “Full body”
Full-body workouts get all the major muscle groups working. Also, they tend to burn more calories compared to routines that focus on one area. All of this makes them ideal for the early stages of your workout plan if you’re looking to lose weight and tone up.
Here are some tried-and-tested exercises to focus on at this stage:
- Begin in a plank position on your yoga mat. Position your hands under your shoulders with your body in a straight line from head to toe.
- Lower your chest to the ground, keeping your elbows in - and without dropping your hips.
- Push back up to a plank - and then repeat.
- Begin by standing tall with your feet shoulder-width apart.
- Push your hips back and bend your knees and lower your body into a squat, hopping your legs into a plank position.
- Hop your legs back beneath you and then spring up explosively, reaching your arms above your head.
- Return to standing by stepping both feet back beneath you, and then repeat.
- Begin with the feet slightly wider than hip-width apart and your toes at a 45-degree angle.
- Push your buttocks back (like you’re going to sit down) as you slowly lower, while keeping your knees behind your toes.
- When you are parallel with the ground, push through your heels and return to standing position.
You can supplement these exercises with the likes of chin-ups, pulldowns, side planks and bench presses. It’s fine to mix and match just so long as you are focusing on all areas.
Start with one or two sets of 10 reps and then gradually build up. Do this on non-consecutive days, three times a week.
Stage 2: Three Months Before Your Holiday
Now’s the time to hone your workout and make sure that you focus on the muscle groups that need a little bit more work.
Here are some tips for this:
- At this stage, switch to an upper-body, lower-body split (e.g. working your legs on Mondays and Thursday and your shoulders, arms & back on Tuesday and Friday).
- At the same time, pencil in a cardio session two or three times a week. If you are working towards a weight target and are not progressing at the speed you would like, you can experiment with increasing your cardio times slightly or reducing your calorie intake a little.
- For sculpting and boosting target zones, try some modified versions of bodyweight exercises (the awesome thing about these is that you can do them at home with the right kit). Below are some examples.
Reverse lunge on Swiss ball
This move is really good for booty gains - as it focuses on strengthening your legs and glutes!
- Stand about two feet in front of a Swiss ball. Extend your right leg back and rest the instep of your foot on the ball.
- Brace your back and drop your hips toward your yoga mat or floor until the front of your left knee almost forms a 90-degree angle. Pause and then slowly return to your starting position.
- Do 5-10 reps and then swap sides.
Swiss ball push-up
If you have already mastered the basic push-up, this is an awesome way of getting those abs to work even harder!
- Start in a plank position with your feet on the stability ball. Position your hands on the yoga mat just below your shoulders.
- Just like a regular push-up, bend your elbows to lower your chest toward the mat, keeping your elbows tucked in.
- Explode back up to your start position.
Band lying abductor lift
This is an effective way of targeting those often-neglected side-glutes!
- Place your resistance band around your ankles and lie on your side on your mat. Support your head in your hand while lying on your side.
- Stack your feet on top of each other. Lift your top leg as high as you can (trying hard not to lean forward or allowing your hips to wobble from side to side!).
- Hold your raised foot in the air for a couple of seconds and then slowly return to the start position.
- Repeat 5-10 times and then switch sides.
Stage 3: One Month Before Your Holiday
This is the time to increase your weight training intensity. For instance, if you’ve been using resistance bands for your workout, switch up from a medium to heavy band.
Continue with a cardio workout 2 or 3 times a week. For these cardio routines, try two steady-state sessions (e.g. rowing, cycling or running at a moderate pace) for around 30 minutes each, separated by an interval of around 5 minutes. HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) is also a great alternative to regular cardio sessions and can result in long-lasting metabolic changes and faster fat-burning.
Get Kitted Out
Need to get kitted out for your holiday workout? To properly celebrate the launch of the new Proworks Fitness website we’re offering 20% off everything! For a limited time only, you can use the code SAVE20 for 20% off your entire order including the Proworks yoga mat, exercise ball, resistance bands, foam roller, and ab roller - all great items to help you on your way to a holiday beach body.