Everyone wants to look good at the beach, here are some great exercises that will tone your body up.
Remember that all work-outs should start with a warm up and aim to do these exercises 3 times a week.
Don’t neglect your upper body…
Legs, bum and stomach are what we mainly think about when it is time to go on holiday and hit the beach, but you mustn’t forget your upper body as well. All those skinny shoulder straps, whether they are on your 1 piece, bikini, tops or dresses they will be revealing your back and shoulders.
Back, Shoulders and Arms
Shoulder Press – 3 sets of 12 reps
Muscles used: Deltoids (shoulders), trapezius (upper back) and triceps (back of arms).
I see a lot of people heading to the shoulder press machine or choosing to sit on a upright bench to do this exercise but stay standing for this one and you will also be working your core and a stronger core leads to a toned stomach.
How to do it: Using a barbell, stand with your feet shoulder width apart and hold the bar with hands slightly wider than shoulder width. The bar should be at shoulder height with your palms facing forward and elbows pointing down. Press the bar directly upwards with your arms extended overhead, keep your core braced throughout the move, and hen lower the bar back down to your shoulders and repeat.
One Arm Dumbbell Row – 3 sets of 12 reps
Muscles used: Back (latissimus dorsi), rhomboids and upper trapezius), shoulders (posterior deltoid) and front of arms (biceps)
How to do it: Using a flat bench place your left knee on the bench and keep your right foot flat on the floor with a slight bend in your knee. Lean forward and place your left hand on the bench so your body is supported. Your back should be straight and parallel to the floor. Now reach down and pick up the dumbbell from the floor with your right arm, your palm should be facing in. Slowly raise your elbow, keeping it close to your body, and pull your elbow as far back as you can squeezing the shoulder blade at the end of the move. Lower the dumbbell back to the floor and swap sides. Your head should be looking down at the bench for the whole move so that your keep a neutral spine alignment (spine is kept in a straight line).
If you want to include exercises for your chest then I suggest push ups, these work not only your chest but also your arms, shoulders and abs.
Legs and Bum
Squats – 3 sets 12 reps
Muscles used: Quadriceps, gluteus maximus and hamstrings.
Squats are one of the best exercises for your lower body. By adding squats to your routine you will be firming up your legs and bum and it doesn’t take long before you will feel and see the difference. To add intensity use weights.
Stand with your feet shoulder width apart, toes can be angled out but should not be angled at more than 30 degrees. Slowly bend your knees until your thighs are parallel to the floor, as if you are sitting on a chair, your knees should be aligned over your toes. Keep your back straight and your abs tight. Now push down through the heels and return to standing position.
Lunges – 3 sets of 12 reps
Muscles Used: The same as the squats, so your legs and bum.
How to do it: Stand straight with your feet approximately shoulder width apart, if you are using dumbbells place your hands down by your sides with palms facing in to your body, if you aren’t using weights you can place your hands on your hips. Keeping your back straight and holding your abs tight take a large step forward and bend both your knees until your leading leg is parallel to the floor and your knee is above your ankle. Both knees should be bent at 90 degree angles. Slowly return to standing position pushing through the heel of your leading foot. You can alternate legs or do 1 complete set with one leg and then another set with the other leg.
Muscles used: Abdominals
Plank – one leg off floor
How to do it: Lie face down on a mat with your legs together and then raise yourself on to your forearms and balls of your feet (hands and forearms will be flat on the floor with you elbows directly under your shoulders), keep a straight line from your head to heels and your abs tight, you need to stay looking down in order to keep the spine in neutral position. Now hold that position and lift one leg of the floor and hold it for 60 seconds. Return the leg to the floor and repeat with your other leg.
Crunches – do as many as you can until you feel the burn. If you are doing more than 15 break your reps up into sets.
How to do it: Lie with your back flat on the ground, bend your knees and put your hands behind your head. Contract your abs and bring your shoulders up off the ground and bring your chest to your knees by rounding the back and curling the spine, keep your lower back on the floor. Remember you want to be contracting your abs to form the movement. Lower yourself back down and repeat.
When doing any type of strength training keep the movement slow and controlled to get the maximum benefit, it’s not about getting the number of reps done quickly but performing the moves properly and using full range of motion.
Burn off more fat
If you want to get rid of some fat do some Cardio but do high intensity intervals. This can be done whatever type of cardio you usually do or enjoy doing, whether it is skipping, cycling, swimming, jogging, rowing etc.
Start with your warm up, then when you go into your normal pace do so for a couple of minutes and then change to a high intensity for 1 minute then go back to your normal pace for 1 min, then high intensity for 1minute and keep alternating this way. If you find 1 minute is too hard to begin with then do 30 second intervals. Really push yourself during those high intensity intervals so you are working much harder than normal. This not only burns more fat than a steady pace it means you can also reduce your length of time doing cardio. Do intervals for 25-30 minutes then either move on to your strength training or cool down for 5 minutes and stretch.
No Time Left
If you haven’t had time to get your body looking the way you wanted before you go on holiday then don’t worry here are some tips on how to still look great when hitting the beach.
Dehydration can cause water retention so drink 8 glasses a day and your stomach will be flatter. You may need to drink more water if you are in the sun all day or sweating a lot. Remember drinking alcohol will also make you more dehydrated.
Swap your caffeine or tea and help your body detox before you go on holiday by drinking 2-3 cups of green tea a day. Green tea is a great antioxidant and will help flush out those free radicals.
Cut out certain foods
Stop eating sugar, saturated fat, refined carbs (white rice, pasta, bread). Eat more protein, complex carbs, whole grains, veggies and fruits. Having fibre in your diet will help avoid bloating. You may be just about to go on holiday but there is no reason to avoid starting to eat healthy and balanced meals. I know that people think about holidays as a time when they end up putting on extra weight because of all the eating out but if you eat healthily and within moderation you don’t have to worry about extra weight. And if you do over indulge you can always go for nice long walks or even a jog on the beach.
Beware of Salt
Don’t add extra salt to your food. Too much salt can cause water retention, if you are not cooking and preparing your meals from scratch then it is very likely they already contain salt especially processed foods.
Remember your posture
Look slimmer, taller and give your boobs a lift. Posture makes a huge difference to how you look, whether you are fully clothed or wearing a bathing suit. If you stand up straight, sit up straight and keep your shoulders back you will instantly look taller, more confident and give yourself a boob lift as well. The great part is it makes you slimmer and can help to reduce the look of a belly as well.
Get rid of dull and rough skin and be left with glowing, healthy and smooth skin. You will be baring a lot more skin on holiday than you probably normally do, make sure you exfoliate your skin to remove any dead skin cells which will be making your skin look dull and rough. Smooth supple skin looks good on everybody. It will also help you keep your tan for longer. The great thing about being on holiday is if you swim in the sea the salt and sand will keep your exfoliated.
Keep skin soft and supple. Once you have exfoliated you need to moisturise to get your skin smooth and silky soft, dehydrated skin will become dry and flakey. Once you are on holiday you will be layering on the sun protection creams/oils and after-sun cream and your body will be getting plenty of moisture, as you apply creams on holiday more often than you do when you are at home normally you will notice your skin feels softer and looks better. You have a tan and your whole body (if you swim in the sea) gets exfoliated regularly and you moisturise continually.
Going out onto the beach for the first time after being covered up for winter can be a bit daunting. If you want the subtle tanned look then a week before you go away start using some moisturiser with fake tan in it to give a natural looking colour or if you want more colour and don’t have the time to build it up using the creams you could get a spray tan. If you haven’t done any preparation and it’s all last minute then take some instant tanner with you, the kind that washes on and off, this will allow you to ease your way on to the beach for the first couple of days until you have started to get some natural colour. Remember though that fake tans have no protection from the sun so you will still need a SPF to use whilst in the sun.
Don’t overdo make up
At the beach you want to look as natural as possible. This is something I would normally think is obvious but for some people it is difficult to not wear make up even when they are at home. You risk looking a bit silly on the beach with a full face on, if you go in the water or sweat (if you are on the beach to lie in the sun then you will sweat) it will just end up looking a mess and be difficult to fix. Tinted moisturiser, waterproof mascara and some lip balm or a subtle lip colour to enhance the colour of your lips should be all you need. Leave the make up for the evening. Plus, if you use primer, foundation, concealer, blusher, bronzer etc on a daily basis when at home then a break from wearing it will give your skin a chance to have a break as well.
Get your daily dose of Vitamin D
Allow some sun to be able to get to your skin, this is our only way of getting Vitamin D naturally without eating lots of oily fish. Protecting yourself from the sun with SPF is good but make sure you allow at least 10-15 minutes exposure per day to ensure you get some vitamin D. Due to the amount of publicity on the sun and its effects more and more people wear sunscreen all day, every day, and they are becoming vitamin D deficient, you can take supplements which help but nothing will beat a good dose of sunlight. Vitamin D has various health benefits including being good for: your skin, strong bones, teeth, helps insulin levels, research is also being undertaken to see if it can even reduce the risk of cancer.
Choose the right bathing suit for you
There are so many choices for bathing suits it should be easy to find something that will work for you. When it comes to revealing your body you only have to show as much as you feel comfortable with. There are many guides on the internet that tell you what type of bathing suit you should wear to suit your shape and these are helpful as a starting point, but I think the key is to find something you like and are comfortable with. If you do not feel comfortable in what you wear others will notice and you will also feel miserable, it’s a holiday it’s meant to be a time for you to relax, have fun, unwind, forget about your worries.
- 1 Pieces – If you don‘t want to show your stomach then a 1 piece or a tankini may be your choice. Just because it is a 1 piece doesn’t mean you are limited, take time to find the style right for you, halter neck or shoulder straps, patterns, single colour, some have patterned top half and solid block of colour on the bottom half, you can even get ones with belts. Try different ones on and see what you like and what works for you. If you can, try them on in natural lighting as the fitting room lighting can be unflattering.
- Bikini – The bikini isn’t the first choice for a lot of people but it does have advantages, you can buy it in separates which is great if you are a different size on your top half compared to your bottom half. You can choose darker colours to slim areas down and brighter colours to draw the eye towards an area, alternatively you can use patterns in one area and a block of colour in another. The tops and bottoms don’t have to match and you can go for different styles that are going to compliment your body shape. There are many different styles of tops, tankini, halter neck, over the shoulder straps, under-wired if you need extra support or padded if you want a bit more oomph etc. Bottoms can be boy shorts, they can be high leg, sit on your hips, you can even get small wraps to go over them if you want to cover up a bit more. When you go shopping why not take a variety of different styles in to the changing room with you to see how they look and what suits you better, if you have always kept to one particular style you may be surprised at how different your body can look in another style.
Use some oil to give your skin a nice sheen and make your skin feel silky smooth. You can get sun tanning oil to protect you during the day but if you are going out in the evening try a regular oil such as grapeseed oil which is also good for your skin. Apply to wherever you want an extra sheen, arms legs, chest, shoulders.
If you have curves embrace them, if you have scars or imperfections embrace them as well, they are a part of you and you need to accept them. Men have said time and time again that there is nothing sexier than a woman being confident in her own skin. You can tell the difference between someone who is happy in their own body and someone who is self conscious. If you are unhappy with your body not only will it be making you feel uncomfortable but others will also notice they may not know exactly what is causing it but they will be able to see your lack of confidence from your body language. When looking at your body in the mirror take time to look for all the good points, there will be some you just need to look and not be so judgemental, you are likely to always zoom straight in to the areas you don’t like. Another thing to take into consideration is when standing in front of a mirror in your bathroom, or worse a changing room with its harsh lighting, you are likely to be very close to the mirror. Take a few steps back and look again, any imperfections on your skin are likely to be unseen from a few feet away. So if you are on a beach it is very unlikely that whoever else is on the beach will be able to see the things you don’t like. Plus most people on the beach are either more conscious of how they look themselves or having a relaxing time to even notice what others look like.
If it is your size that you are unhappy about then make the decision to change the way you look and take the first steps, start eating healthily or start exercising. Even though you may not be where you want to be right now just knowing that you are making a start towards changing will make you feel better about yourself. If you are smiling, laughing, enjoying yourself this is how others will see you. You will have a much better time if you forget about what others think especially people you don’t know on the beach who you are likely to never see again.
Most improtantly relax and enjoy your holiday!