- Strength training
- Proper nutrition
First off, let’s talk about the importance of strength training. Yes, I was one of those cardio queens for years. I rarely lifted weights, and preferred to stick to my hour long treadmill workouts. This went on for years. I wasn’t seeing the results I wanted. In fact, I actually started putting on weight (and not the good kind from muscle mass). I knew I had to change something up. I started working with a trainer and learned how to lift weights properly. My body started to change in ways I never expected. I had muscle definition in my arms. I had glutes that looked amazing in yoga pants. I even had a baby 6-pack! That beach body wasn’t as elusive as I thought! It’s within reach if you want to work for it, and I’ve included a few of my favorite exercises to get you started.
Squats with Shoulder Press
This is a whole body workout you can do anywhere. Start with your feet hip width apart. Hold dumbbells at your shoulders. Don’t drop your elbows below your shoulders. This keeps your triceps activated. Squat down until your glutes are in line with your knees. As you rise, press the dumbbells to the ceiling. Lower the dumbbells as you squat. Do 15-20 reps for 4 sets. NOTE: Choose a dumbbell weight that leaves you feeling challenged after a set. You should really be pushing to get the last two reps out.
Push-ups are already a great upper body and core workout, but I like to take them up another level. This version really works your obliques. Start in a normal push-up position. As you lower toward the floor, bring your right knee as close as possible to your right elbow. Return your foot to the starting position as you push up. Repeat with on the left side. Do 10 -15 reps per side for 4 sets.
Talk about a glute and quad burner! Box jumps are a great way to burn calories and tone your lower body. I work in four sets of 12 – 15 box jumps at least once a week.
Bulgarian Split Squats
Bulgarian split squats are my secret to that bikini booty. They build muscle and shape your glutes. Start with dumbbells in each hand. Prop your left foot up on a bench. Ensure your right foot is far enough forward so that when you bend into a lunge your knee stays above your ankle. Bend you right leg into a lunge and straighten. Perform 10 – 12 reps on each leg. Complete 4 sets. NOTE: Choose a dumbbell weight that leaves you feeling challenged after a set. You should really be pushing to get the last two reps out.
HIIT Treadmill WorkoutYou don’t need to spend hours on treadmill to get beach body ready. High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) with plyometrics burns a ton of calories in a short amount of time. This is one of my favorite treadmill workouts:
- 5 minutes – warmup jog
- 30 seconds – sprint on incline
- 30 seconds – jump off treadmill and perform plyo-squat jacks (plyo-squat jacks are like jumping jacks, but when you jump out, sink deep into a squat before jumping back to your start position)
- 1 minute – rest (If you’re working hard enough, you should desperately need this rest!)
- Repeat steps 2 – 4 seven to ten times
- 5 minutes – walk on steep incline
Nourish Your BodyAfter focusing on strength training for a while, I soon learned that the next piece of the beach body puzzle was nutrition. What you put into your body can make or break how you perform during your workouts, how you feel afterwards, and your overall aesthetics. Here are the three rules for nutrition that I apply to my daily life:
- Fuel your workout
- Help your body repair and build muscle after a workout
- 2 cups spinach
- 1 cup almond milk (unsweetened)
- ½ frozen banana
- 1 tsp coconut oil
- ½ cup pineapple
- 1 scoop Growing Naturals Vanilla Rice Protein Powder
- Nourish your body throughout the day with fresh, whole foods
Clean eating is essential for that beach body physique. My fridge is always stocked with plant based protein (tofu, beans, and tempeh), complex carbohydrates (sweet potatoes, brown rice, and quinoa), and lots of fruits and vegetables (broccoli, green beans, spinach, grapefruit, zucchini, peppers, onions, and blueberries). Filling up on unprocessed, nutrient rich foods will not only help you achieve that beach ready body, but it will give you the energy you need to push through challenging workouts. So now that you know the two most important aspects of getting beach ready, are you ready to make a change?
By: Rachel Yarger, Vegan NPC & NFF Bikini Competitor