I’m Faya Nilsson, a Swedish personal trainer and fitness blogger (www.fitnessontoast.com) based in London. Given that summer is rapidly creeping up on us, many of my female clients are asking for the fast-track to a bikini body. I devised the following structured approach to help them cover off a) planning, b) motivation and c) the training regime; if stuck to, and combined with correct diet, you’ll get the shape you want!
A) PLANNING & GOAL SETTING
Setting realistic and achievable goals, alongside a structured training routine and a deadline, is a crucial part of shaping up. Being very specific can make the difference between achievement and covering-up on the beach. If you want to ‘lose weight’, then measure your body fat percentage; once you know your current composition, set a realistic goal around reducing it. It’s so important to get organised right at the beginning, as having that framework will give you confidence to stay on track! Worst case is losing the initial motivational spark you might feel right now. Many give up because they’ve set unrealistic/vague goals, and when they don’t see results immediately, they presume it means failure. That’s not the case! It’s almost impossible not to feel and see results if you stick to a plan; by keeping on top of your progress (e.g. taking photos and measurements weekly) you can help maintain the focus. Beware though, relying solely on the scales can be very misleading – weight can fluctuate depending on water retention (70%of the body is water) and food consumption. However, the ideal is to incorporate this near-term holiday-training goal within a longer-term healthy lifestyle. Make it fun – I train clients in the park, in their homes, with their dogs, as well as the studio – variation keeps you motivated for your bikini body!
B) MOTIVATION & TRAINING TIPS
- Sweat with a friend – makes it competitive and ensures commitment.
- Improvise – If you can’t access a gym, be inventive (chairs, stairs, floor work)
- Power up – power walk as often as you can – it’s all calorie-burn!
- Target – set yourself weekly targets! 10 full pushups everyday, following week – 20/day
- Unfamiliar – muscles burn more calories when challenged with something they’re not used to!
- Hydrate – 70% of the body is made up of water, its vital to keep hydrated!!
- Sleep – find a routine, aim for at least 7 hours sleep. The best place for recovery.
- Maximise – it’s not all or nothing, & it’s ‘as often as possible’
- Stretch out – makes such a difference mentally and physically. Aids recovery, balance and releases built-up tension/stiffness.
- Go viral – follow health & fitness blogs and Facebook groups for added motivation!
C) 6-POINT TRAINING PLAN
The following exercises are classic movements that never go out-of-date. They target every major muscle group, improving core strength, balance and overall tone for a flat stomach, lean arms, slender legs and a firm butt! To make the workout more challenging taking your muscles to absolute failure, I’ve included an exhaustion set paired with each exercise (e.g. plyometric press ups after ‘push ups & one arm row’). After the workout you’ll most likely be feeling ravenous and although it may seem counter-productive to eat whilst trying to strip weight, it’s vital that you refuel your muscles to help speed recovery and prevent over-eating later. To achieve the best results consistency is key so try to complete this routine 3-4times a week with at least 24h recovery between each session. Don’t forget to stretch out afterwards, it improves flexibility, aids recovery, corrects posture and lengthens the muscles for a more slender look! Then all you need is a gorgeous bikini to go with it!
1) BURN FAT – Cardio achieves this. Try Skipping (20 mins burns c.4-500 calories, it’s low-impact, improves stamina, coordination and leg strength), park hill-sprints (1 minute up, 2 minutes down – repeated to failure, this toasts fat & produces Human Growth Hormone which burns calories fast!) or power-walks (whenever, wherever, exceptional fat burn). Remember, minimal rest periods boost the effective intensity!
2) TONE ARMS (as below pictures) – Triceps extensions & bicep curls with dumbbells. 3 sets of 12 reps (3-5kg), then repeat until failure. Targets the ‘wing’ and front of the arm, perfect for strapless tops on holiday. Do not rest afterwards, rather go straight to the next exercise.
Failure set: Plyo Press up.
3) FIRM CHEST (as below picture) – ‘Push-up with an added one-arm row’ builds strength, but also sculpts arms, chest, back and core. Creates muscle balance and strength, which firms the chest. Aim for 3 sets of 12 reps. Try this either with narrow hands, or as a one legged push up.
Do not rest afterwards, rather go straight to the next exercise.
Failure set: Bench dips
4) DEFINE ABS (as below pictures) – Six packs are made in the kitchen, but the following exercise will engage your core and shred your abs! ‘Plank lifts’ work the transverse abdominals – lift hips off the ground supporting your body weight on your forearms and feet. Keep your body as straight a possible, maintaining neutral spine and a tight core. Lower your body completely and lift back off, do these 15 times. Then hold until failure. Do not rest afterwards, rather go straight to the next exercise.
Failure set: ’Runners’ (in a plank position with straight arms, alternate one leg at a time running on the spot).
5) TONE BUTT (as below pictures) – To make bikini bottoms look perky, these ‘dumbbell squats (with added shoulder press)’ are a great total-composition exercise. They sculpt the legs, butt, core and shoulders. 3 sets of 12 reps. Straight after your set perform as many jump squats as possible until failure (without dumbbells)! Do not rest afterwards, rather go straight to the next exercise.
Failure set: ’High Throw’ (squat down fully and jump up and throw a ball above you).
6) STRENGTHEN LEGS (as below picture) – This ‘lunge with oblique-twist’ strengthens the thighs, calves and butt, as well as the waist. 3 sets of 12 reps. Pulse in place for 10 seconds on each leg, or perform jumping lunges! Being the largest muscle group, this boosts the metabolism and burns more calories when at rest. Do not rest afterwards, rather go straight to the next exercise.
Failure set: Bench hamstring lifts ( drive your hips as high as possible, keep movement slow and controlled).