3 Tips to Start Shaping Up for Swimsuit Season (thanks for the reminder, SI!)
By Jessica Smith
Well, it's official. The release of the 2012 Swimsuit Edition of Sports Illustrated marks the opening of bikini season! And even if you are still snuggled and warm hiding your bod in that turtleneck, the warmer weather will be here before you know it. So don't wait until you have a beach date to start shedding any excess winter weight. These three simple tips from Jacqie Stathis, National Director of Group Exercise for The Sports Club/LA and Reebok Sports Club/NY, will have you melting away the extra pounds without major sacrifice so you can strut your stuff in your swimsuit on the beach this year:
#1: Allow up to 6-8 weeks for delivery
Yes, it may still be frosty outside, but you need plenty of time to allow yourself to get results. Don't rely on that master cleanse to do your dirty work the week before. Start today! "Give yourself plenty of time to get in shape," says Stathis. "If you’ve been sitting around all winter your body is not going to just snap back into shape in a couple of weeks. Give yourself about 6-8 weeks of training before you expect to see any significant results, your body will need that time to adapt to the added stress of exercise and make the appropriate physiological changes."
#2: Make a game plan.
Decide how you'll spring into action. What kinds of changes can you make to your daily diet (ie. step away from the winter comfort foods) and workout routine (remember when you used to run outside)? Create a specific plan of action. Lucky for you, Stathis has a specific bikini prep workout plan she recommends: "In addition to a healthy diet your program needs to include both resistance and cardiovascular training," Stathis says. "Try to incorporate your resistance training 2-3 times per week and cardio 4-6 days per week, and perform cardio sessions after your resistance training to maximize the benefits of both. Energy levels and strength will be at their peak for the resistance training and you will put your body in a more optimal state to burn fat during your cardio workout."
#3: Charge up your cardio gradually
Before you start going crazy with high intensity workouts, focus on building more of an aerobic base first. Stathis recommends starting the first few weeks of your cardio workout plan with longer, low to moderate intensity sessions. "Shoot for 20-60 minutes at a heart rate of 60-80% of your maximum and be patient. We want to prepare the body properly for when we turn up the volume between weeks 4 and 6. If you can be patient and allow your body to adapt, by the time you start doing higher intensity workouts your body will become a fat burning machine. Too much too fast will not allow for the proper physiological changes and your body is likely to start burning muscle mass resulting in a slower metabolism in the long run."