A simple guide to getting your ideal summer bikini body
Itâs that time of year again: bikini season.
For many people, summer is an excuse to do absolutely nothing except chill at the beach with friends. But for us girls, it can be a bit of a struggle.
Time and again, society has created the image of the perfect woman. You know what Iâm talking about â the one with flat abs, sculpted arms and the perfect, sun-kissed tan.
We shouldnât have to compare ourselves to this idealized image of womanhood, but thereâs no harm in raising our self-confidence and trying to get healthier for the summer season.
If youâre unsatisfied with your body or feeling insecure at the thought of donning a two-piece, following a few rules of thumb will help you go a long way, both physically and mentally. And when June rolls around, youâll be feeling more confident, sexy and healthy than ever before.
DO: eat healthier and drink lots of water
To get your body in toning mode, exercise alone is not enough. You must be willing to change your diet to really tone your muscles and burn fat. One of the easiest methods is to replace processed foods with fruits and vegetables. Additionally, if youâre a meat-eater, lean protein foods like fish, chicken and low-fat dairy products contain unsaturated fats and more reasonable calorie counts.
When it comes to beverages, replace sodas, sugary drinks and alcohol with water. Water, like healthy foods, helps sustain muscle mass and promotes future growth.
DONâT: go on a crash diet
Your body needs a certain number of calories to function. By eating less, your body enters starvation mode, which slows your metabolic rate. In other words, your body reacts to the changes by taking energy from stored muscle, rather than from stored fat.
DO: buy a pair of dumbbells
Dumbbells are key when it comes to refining your muscles and sculpting your body. Though most people know them as tools to shape your arms and legs, dumbbells can also be used to engage your abdominal muscles and glutes.
Girls shouldnât be afraid of lifting weights. Adding dumbbells to your workout routine doesnât mean youâll be sporting bulging muscles when you hit the beach. As long as you use dumbbells at least a few times a week, youâll start to see toning without losing the natural contour of your body.
DONâT: do a thousand sit-ups a day
Few people seem to realize sit-ups and crunches play no role in determining how flat your stomach is. Although these exercises will strengthen your abdominal muscles, you still wonât see any changes in the shape of your stomach if a layer of fat is covering your abs. Â The only fool-proof workout to target stomach fat is cardio, but you can never choose where you lose fat.
DO: throw in some cardio
You canât expect to get a killer body without increasing your heart rate. Try to go for a 25-minute run at least three or four times a week to help you burn calories and excess fat. Although you canât spot-treat fat-burning, running and other similar forms of cardio are great exercises for flattening your stomach.
DONâT: focus on losing weight or weigh yourself everyday
Getting a bikini body is not about losing weight. Itâs about getting toned and fostering self-confidence. Weighing yourself everyday will only make you angrier about not shedding pounds quickly enough. In fact, you might gain weight in the end because you have replaced fat deposits with muscle mass.
DO: have an achievable goal and compliment yourself often
Your goal shouldnât be to lose weight, but to like the way you look. By summer, you should feel healthier, more energized and more confident about your body. If you donât acknowledge the efforts youâre making, youâre going to have less fun and become more critical of yourself. Be proud of what youâve accomplished, even if youâve only made minor changes.
DONâT: criticize yourself or expect perfection
The honest truth is that youâre not going to work out or eat healthily every day. Itâs okay to reward yourself. Donât feel bad if you sneak a cookie or âforgetâ to go for that morning jog.
Just keep your goals clearly established and try as hard as you want to. Even if you decide to permanently forego your routine, remember nobody is stopping you from flaunting that bikini this summer.
Hannah Muniz is a sophomore majoring in East Asian languages and cultures and creative writing. Her column, âFit ân Fab,â runs Mondays.