Standing in a white-walled box under fluorescent lights, naked, is not the way to get your self esteem flowing. Haven’t retailers learned a thing or two by now? Candlelit change rooms, anyone?
Most of us dread this experience, and, despite knowing that the fitting room is totally unflattering, the discomfort and insecurity stays with us. It’s hard not to remember the seemingly blinding skin tone staring back at us in the mirror, the “flabby” belly revealed by the fluorescent lights, or the cellulite we never noticed before our change room nightmare.
Even if you’re a buff beauty, beach season can be anxiety-inducing. We hope to look great and feel carefree in our swimwear.
So, what can we do about it?
Tone up for the beach season. You’ll look great in your swimsuit but, most importantly, you’ll feel great in your swimsuit. Feeling good about your body, you’ll ooze extra confidence, take more risks, and have a little more fun on the beach.
This doesn’t mean hitting the gym every day for hours at a time. This means focusing your workouts on certain muscle groups to get balanced results.
I spoke with personal trainer Jessica Manning of Pure Transformation Personal Training to find out how to sculpt the ultimate beach body for both sexes. She put together a unisex series of exercises to target those muscle groups most exposed at the beach.
Work this series into your regular routine, completing it several times a week, and you’ll get beach-ready results.
1) Drop Lunge with Rotation
This exercises targets your quads, hamstrings, glutes, core and delts. For those less technically inclined, that means your legs, butt, abs and shoulders will get a great workout with this one.
Start standing, with feet hip-width apart. With your arms extended in front of you, hold a medicine ball or dumbbell at chest height.
Step back into a lunge as you inhale.
Then, digging your front heel into the ground and keeping your pelvis stable, rotate your entire torso (upper body) toward your front leg as you exhale.
Twist your torso back to the centre as you inhale.
Press your back foot into the ground and alternate sides.
Complete 16 to 20 repetitions, alternating sides each time.
2) One-legged dead lift
This exercise will target your hamstrings, glutes, calves and core. Meaning your legs, butt and abs will benefit from this one.
It’s important to keep your core tight throughout this exercise.
While standing, put your weight onto one leg – known as your stabilizing leg – and lift your other leg off the floor. While keeping your weight in the stabilizing leg, allow your big toe from the lifted leg to rest on the ground behind you. This will increase your balance during the exercise.
Your stabilizing leg will be slightly bent, and will remain frozen in its form throughout the exercise.
Holding a medicine ball or dumbbell, extend your arms in front of your hips.
As you inhale, hinge forward at the waist and go into a forward-fold. As you do this, allow the ball or dumbbell to be pulled by gravity as it slides along the front of your stabilizing leg.
Once at the bottom, dig the heel of your stabilizing leg into the ground, exhale and roll yourself back up to the starting position. Activate your hamstring and glute to pull you as you roll up.
Complete 8-10 repetitions, then alternate legs and complete another 8-10 repetitions.
3) Push-Up with Dumbbell Row
This exercise is great for your chest, back and core. It will also sculpt your delts, biceps and triceps for toned arms and shoulders.
It’s important to keep your core engaged throughout this exercise.
Begin in a push-up position. Hold one dumbbell in each hand and ensure the dumbbells are shoulder-width apart.
Inhale as you lower yourself into the first part of your push-up.
Exhale and, as you push back up, row one dumbbell back. Be sure to keep your elbow tight to your side and your hips stable as you row.
On your next push-up, row with the other arm. Do 16-20 repetitions, making sure you alternate arms with each push-up.
Be sure to inhale as you lower and exhale as you lift or alternate sides.
This is a full-body exercise that will get your heart going! This is great cardio and will target most major muscle groups.
Begin in a standing position with your feet hip-width apart.
Drop to a low squat position, making sure that your pressing your butt back, rather than just bending your knees.
Touch the floor and keep your hands grounded as you kick your legs out to the right side.
Jump back to the squat.
Return to standing.
Repeat, but kick your legs to the left side. Keep alternating legs each time you squat and complete 16-20 repetitions.
To see Jessica in action and to get a sense of the proper pace and movements for each exercise, watch her Quick Circuit Beach video.