6 Steps to a Sexy Summer Body
The days are getting longer and the temperatures are rising; is your summer body ready to take the heat? Many of us have been hiding behind bulky sweaters and baggy jeans all winter, and the idea of taking off those layers in favor of shorts and bathing suits is an intimidating one. However, you don’t have to fear summertime while there is still time to whip things into shape. With these six steps to a sexy summer body underway, you will be able to don that bikini with confidence and style by the time pool days roll around.
1. Go Lean
While toning is generally the buzz word for a summer beach body, exercises won’t be terribly effective if a layer of fat is covering those muscles. The first step in achieving your sexy summer body is to lose the extra pounds of winter. Most diet experts will agree that losing a pound or two each week is a healthy, realistic goal to set. You can meet that goal through cutting calories out of your diet and burning extra calories through cardiovascular exercise. Aim for 30 minutes of aerobic activity five times a week, for best results. Add two or three days of weight training to help you burn fat faster as it begins the toning process on your individual muscle groups.
In addition to an exercise program, cut calories in your diet by eliminating foods that are high in fat and sugar. Simply switching your regular latte to a fat-free and sugar-free variety or swearing off that mid-morning doughnut may be just the ticket to dropping the pounds.
Your proper food intake begins at the grocery store, where you can spend extra time browsing in the produce section and avoiding the aisles that are filled with high-calorie fare. Stick with low-fat meats and dairy products, and drink plenty of water (at least eight glasses a day) to wash it all down.
2. Summer Ready Abs
According to 24hourfitness.com, a recent study conducted at the Biomechanics Lab at San Diego State University has determined the most effective abdominal exercises. The study, led by Peter Francis, PhD., looked at 13 of the most popular routines to determine which moves are worth the time and effort to get a flat, sculpted tummy. According to his findings, these are the exercises that you should be including in your program:
- Crunches – Make them more effective by crunching on your exercise ball.
- Bicycle Maneuver – Lie on your back with your legs raised, your knees bent and your hands behind your head. Bring your head forward to one knee, and extend the other leg straight out. Repeat on the other side.
- Captain’s Chair – This is a piece of equipment at fitness centers that is used to tone abs, butt and hips by pulling your legs up toward your torso.
- Vertical Leg Crunch – Lie on your back with your legs at a 90° angle and your arms at your sides. Raise your hips and butt off of the floor, toward the ceiling. Lower back to starting position
3. Beach Buns
When most of us think about toning our glutes, the first exercises that come to mind are lunges and squats.
However, personal trainer Brad Schoenfeld told HowToBeFit.com that there are better butt exercises to be done. Here are some of Schoenfeld’s top recommendations to get a summer body in the derriere region:
- Stiff-Legged Deadlift – Hold two dumbbells down in front of you, with your feet shoulder width apart. Slowly bend over until you feel the stretch in your hamstrings, then come back up.
- Good Morning – Place a barbell across your shoulders (behind you). Bend forward at the hips until your body is at a 90° angle. Slowly rise back up to standing position.
- Reverse Hyperextension – This exercise should be done face down on a bench with legs extending off of the end. Slowly lower your legs without actually touching the ground, then raise them to the original position.
- Abductions – You can do these by lying on one side and raising your opposite leg in the air, or standing straight and lifting one leg to the side.
4. Hot Legs
Legs get to hide under pants all winter long, but summer shorts will force them to make their warm weather debut before you know it. Get yours ready for baring with these exercises:
- Barbell Squats – Squats may not be the best choice for your glutes, but they can work wonders on your legs, especially when you do them with a barbell across your shoulders behind your head.
- Dumbbell Lunges – Same concept here. Hold two dumbbells down at your side as you perform repetitions of lunges for extra toning power.
- Calf Raises – Stand on a step with your heel hanging over the edge. Slowly raise your entire body by lifting your heel, then lower again.
- Fitness Machines – There are some great machines that can assist in toning your legs, including the press, extension and curl. Check them out next time you are at your local gym.
5. Arms that Take the Heat
There is nothing that looks better under a tank top
than a pair of shapely shoulders and well-toned arms, which is why the following exercises need to be a part of your summer body workout:
- Bicep Curls – You can do these with either dumbbells or barbells.
- Bench Dips – Great for your triceps. Sit on a bench and then slide your butt off the side while your arms are still holding you erect. Slowly bend your arms and lower your body toward the floor, then rise again.
- Push-ups – This classic is still the best way to tone the entire arm and the shoulders.
- Dumbbell Shoulder Press– Hold two dumbbells at shoulder level, then slowly raise above your head and lower again.
- Lateral Raise – Hold two dumbbells down at your side, slowly raise them to either side.
6. Summer Soft Skin
Once you have achieved the perfect summer body from within, take care of your outward appearance by paying special attention to your skin.
It’s not too late to increase your fruit
consumption to give your body a healthy dose of collagen producing vitamins A and C that will keep skin soft and supple. An omega-3 supplement, from evening primrose oil to flaxseed oil capsules, will keep skin cells moist and strong. Give your skin a healthy dose of exfoliation to remove dead winter skin cells and leave you with a radiant glow. Refine your shaving technique with a wet shave using body scrub, shaving lotion, or hair conditioner in a pinch. Finish your skin care routine with an application of self-tanning cream for a sun-kissed look perfect for this time of year.
Don’t fear the summer months because your body isn’t beach ready. Unpack the shorts and bathing suits with gusto. All you need is a few weeks and a little effort to make your transformation complete. With these six steps to drop the pounds, tone the body and smooth the skin, you will be ready to greet the sun with beautiful style. Your summer body is ready and waiting to be discovered!