By Ana Snyder, M.S., Exercise Physiology; CPT, FNS
Bikini season is literally right around the corner! I’m all about body positivity no matter what your body shape and type, but if you’re looking to trim your tummy and firm up your glutes, here are some fitness tips to help you reach your goals.
Quick note: I am a fitness professional, a bikini competitor, and a pro at dialing in my physique. I’m often asked about my best tricks for getting a quick beach body, so I provide a few of my go-to’s below.
Still, I’d like to stress that consistency is key—and that it’s only safe to lose a maximum of 1-2 pounds a week. Don’t fall for those “quick fix” fads. Don’t go crazy and starve yourself, or exercise yourself into the ground. The tricks I’m about to give you, will give you a huge visible difference and have you looking tighter—but make sure to make fitness a regular part of your routine to see the best results!
Where most people go wrong: they cut their carbs completely. In order to have a well-balanced diet, you shouldn’t cut them out completely, but should reduce your intake. In America, we tend to eat way too many carbs, and all that excess energy turns to fat. When you cut your carb intake down to a smaller amount, your body will stop relying on carbs for energy, and start to burn fat. Replace your excess carbs with more lean proteins like fish and chicken, and try to eat 5-6 smaller-portioned meals a day to avoid a situation where you feel starved and grab the first piece of fast food you see.
Bringing food with you is one of the most important things you can do to lose weight. I always have healthy snacks with me, whether that be veggies (like celery sticks or carrots) or a small lunch if I know there’s a chance I’ll be out for a full day. If you have healthy options with you, you can enjoy guilt-free snacking. Bring your own food, and you’ll notice your waist sizing down in no time. Here are my favorite meal prep containers that are great for traveling around town.
Eating as many meals at home as you can—or opting for home-cooked meals on-the-go—is one of the fastest ways you can lose weight. Even salads at restaurants have so many hidden calories that will slow your weight loss down big time. Making your own food also allows you to control your portion sizes, so that you know exactly what you’re putting into your body. As soon as you stop eating out, you will also see some of the biggest changes to your health—and even your state of mind.
Drinking water speeds up your metabolism and gives you more energy for exercise. Often we can confuse thirst for hunger, so if you increase your water intake you will spend less time reaching for snacks feel more satiated. If you’re trying to lose weight, a great rule of thumb is to drink one ounce of water for every two pounds of body weight. For example, if you weigh 200 pounds, you should drink 100 ounces of water for prime weight loss. Take a look at my favorite water bottles that will help you keep track of how much water you’re drinking.
All of the above tips are great for weight loss, but are not enough if you want a toned body. If you want to look firm, you must hit the weights. When you are in a caloric deficit, your body will start to eat away at its muscles—unless you use them. A combination of weightlifting and dieting is absolutely necessary if you don’t just want to look skinny. I recommend starting out with 4 days a week if you are a weightlifting newbie, and moving up to 5 as you feel more confident at the gym.
Cardio is also super important for getting that beach body within a shorter amount of time. The quickest way to make your cardio work for you is to do shorter, high-intensity workouts. Interval training by doing sprints on a bike or alternating running and walking is the fastest way to shed those extra pounds. If you haven’t really done much cardio before, I recommend starting with three days a week at 30 minutes per session.