As summer slowly approaches our thoughts start to turn to beaches, bikinis, and baring bits of our bodies that haven’t seen the light of day for months.
Body confidence isn’t about being the skinniest, smoothest or sexiest bikini-wearer on the beach, it’s about being happy with what you’ve got, and getting rid of what you don’t want. And while we Belles come in all shapes and sizes, there’s one thing we’ve all agreed on – we prefer ourselves without the wobbly bits! But surgery is too drastic and hours in the gym too time-consuming, so we have worked out the best ways to smooth down and tone up quickly and safely, so every one of us can be the Belle of the Beach this summer.
Saggy skin to toned tum: American actress Tara Reid was recently papped with a flat, but not totally flattering stomach. Many of us have excess skin that makes us self-conscious, but we don’t want to go on a crash diet to shed pounds that we don’t need to lose. Body Control Pilates is your answer, says Lynne Robinson, founder of Body Control Pilates (bodycontrolpilates.com). “Pilates is an excellent way to tone up, creating that enviable long and lean look, and is suitable for people of all fitness levels and abilities. It’s all about conditioning and focusing on your core, so is a great way to tone up your stomach,” she says.
Burst The Bloating Bubble: But if your tummy trouble is more to do with bloating, why not try to balance out the bacteria? Taking a live bacteria supplement like Bio Kult everyday can complement the flora in your digestive system and help reduce bloating. It’s the same idea as the daily bacteria yoghurt drinks, but has been proven to be more efficient and effective. You need to take several tablets a day, but after a month we definitely noticed a difference.
Beach Bum: Having tried every product on the block we have finally found one that actually seems to work and can help you get the beach bum of your dreams (although we must admit none of ours look quite like the one in the picture….) Adigym Exercise Formula enhances the effects of exercise, giving you a fitter slimmer bottom without so much of the hard grind. The eucalyptus fragranced cream contains a naturally active called actigym ™ that enhances the growth of muscle fibre. The bottom is the biggest muscle in the body aside from the brain so building bottom muscles takes a lot of hard work. When combined with moderate exercise, this formula really does give results that would normally take a LOT more dedicated work in the gym. But don’t just take our word for it – an 8-week trial on 60 women aged 35-50 twice daily using a body formula containing 5% actigym increased production of adiponectin by almost 70%, which resulted in tightened skin tone and increased muscle, a reduced width of upper thighs and hips (average loss of almost 3cm) and reduced overall body weight (average of 4kg loss). Wow! Adigym Exercise Formula costs £14.95 (150ml) and is available from www.adigym.com.
See off cellulite: Even the gorgeous Eva Longoria suffers from that stubborn orange peel which usually appears on our thighs, bums, legs and tums. This skin complaint is caused by clumps of unmetabolised fat, water and trapped waste beneath the skin. But the solution is simple, and while you may not be able to banish cellulite altogether, using essential oils to reduce its appearance has been proven to be effective. Oil up that skin! Used in aromatherapy for centuries, essential oils have farther-reaching powers than just the pleasant scent. When essential oils are used in massage or added to bathwater, you benefit not only from their scent, but also by absorbing them through your skin into your bloodstream. “Geranium oil improves blood circulation and detoxifies our body while rosemary oil reduces water retention and supports body’s ability to fight lymphatic congestion,” says Sonja Dymalovski, Skincare Expert at What Skin Needs. “After brushing your body in the shower apply Soothing Skin Gel (www.whatskinneeds.co.uk, £14.99), packed with essential oils, captured in a cooling, easily absorbed texture.”
Muffin top no more! We all know that no matter what we do, more weight accumulates around your middle than any other bit of our body. Not so much a beer belly as a wine waist nowadays! But certain adjustments to our lifestyle can be crucial to combat excess fat collecting around our middles. “Stop dieting and don’t count calories, otherwise your body will think there’s a famine and will raise stress levels, which contributes to fat storage,” explains Dr Marilyn Glenville, the UK’s leading nutritionist and author of the bestselling Fat Around The Middle (www.marilynglenville.com). “Aim to eat every three hours, this helps to keep your blood sugar levels and energy levels stable by eating regularly. Eat breakfast, lunch and dinner plus a snack mid morning and one mid afternoon. And try to add protein to each meal and avoid eating carbohydrates after 6pm. Protein slows down the rate that stomach processes food and delays the passage of the carbohydrates with it. As soon as you add a protein (be it animal or vegetable) to a carbohydrate, you change it into a slower releasing carbohydrate, that keep your sugar levels at bay, and it turn can help you achieve a flatter stomach.”
Banish Bingo Wings Forever: As we get older the skin under our arms gets saggier, just look at Madonna for proof that everyone can be caught out! We asked Lisa Wilkinson, Fitness presenter & Bio-Synergy Ambassador, for her tips. She told us: “I get asked a lot how can I tone the bingo wings. I’d recommend that you try these 10 exercises that take around fifteen minutes altogether, to help get rid of any unwanted arm fat and tone sleek muscles, so you can wear your vest tops with confidence this summer!
Perform each of the following 10 upper body exercises for 30 seconds or complete 15 to 20 repetitions. Rest for 30 to 60 seconds between each exercise. then repeat this 5-minute circuit twice more. You’ll need a lightweight dumbbell, or just a can of beans!
1. Bicep curls:
Keep your upper arms stationary, and your elbows tucked in close to your body, breathe out as you lift the dumbbells.
2. Tricep kickbacks:
Take a set of dumbbells, bend your torso and bring your elbows up. Exhale as you kick your arms back and then slowly return to the starting position.
3. Push press:
Hold the dumbbells in front of your shoulders with your palms facing each other. Push the dumbbells over your head and exhale.
4. Lying tricep extensions:
Lie on your back and extend your arms in front of your shoulders. Keeping the upper arms stationary, bend your elbows until the dumbbells are near your ears.
5. Hammer curls:
Hold the dumbbells with your palms facing your hips, bend your elbows and lift the weights until they’re at shoulder level.
6. Lateral raise:
Hold the weights and raise your arms out to the sides until your elbows are at shoulder height.
7. Front raise:
Lift one weight at a time, keep your palms facing down and raise your arm to the front, until it’s parallel to the floor.
8. Bent over lateral raise:
Bend your torso and raise your arms out to the sides. Keep your knees and your elbows slightly bent.
9. Shoulder press:
Hold the weights in front of your shoulders with your palms facing front. Push the dumbbells up and, as you extend your elbows, breathe out.
10. Standing Front Punches Finisher:
Stand with your feet apart so they equal the width of your hips. Keep your arms bent, with the elbows in near your body. Tighten your abs and punch the air with the strength of your shoulders and back, not your wrists and elbows. Alternate between right then left. Continue for 30 seconds.