How to cheat your way to a bikini body
There's still time to get in shape before you hit the beach, writes Chrissie Russell
Somehow it's happened again, there's only a few weeks until you jet off on holiday but you never got round to achieving the perfect bikini body you vowed you'd have when you booked the getaway months ago.
Yes, you might feel more 'beached whale' than 'beach babe', but there's no need to go reaching for the Nigella burkini just yet. Thanks to a host of flab-busting creams, fat-burning foods, intensive exercise tips and miracle cures, it's not too late to cheat and slather, scoff, sweat and splurge your way to that dream holiday body.
We all love a good miracle cream and recently the market has flooded with potions that promise to do everything from banishing bingo wings, boosting busts, trimming tummies and lifting bums -- who needs the gym?
Mama Mio Get Waisted Body Shaper (€54, available at Debenhams) is hailed as "the holy grail" of slimming creams. Boasting nine toning and tightening ingredients, it says it will combat fat deposits and tighten your tum.
A fellow wonder product of the year is Nip and Fab's Tummy Fix (pictured, €22 from nipandfab.com).
"If you're in hot pursuit of a flatter, more toned tum and working up a sweat everyday is just not an option, reach for this daily ab toner," says the website. Kimberly from Girls Aloud is a huge fan.
Skincare experts Rodial are big cult favourites in the slimming cream world. Chose from tummy tuck, bum lift, arm sculpt and even sun creams to tone the body. Apparently, it's all to do with 'flattening micro fibers'. Prices start at around the €100 mark with the brand stocked in Dublin at Arnotts and Brown Thomas an at Mise Beauty, Dundalk.
Don't get too excited, we're not talking about miraculously munching your way through cakes and chicken curries and looking like Cameron Diaz, but there are things to eat (and not eat) that can make a difference -- fast. Coming hot on the heels of last year's Acai berries, the African Mango is the superfruit of 2011. Taken in supplement form, it's rich in soluble fibre, which swells in the stomach and leaves you feeling full for longer.
Another popular appetite suppressant du jour is Hoodia. The cactus extract which was used in days gone by by African Tribes to suppress their appetites on long trips, is today a favourite of Kim Kardashian. The reality star revealed last month that Hoodia Ice Cubes are helping her slim for her wedding.
If that doesn't appeal, then there's a host of everyday foods to nibble on while still waging battle on the bulge. Broccoli and celery both burn more calories than they offer, grapefruit is full of fat-burning enzymes whilst sprinklings of cinnamon can help stabilise blood sugar, limiting cravings. Oatmeal helps digestion and both seaweed and red chilies act as natural appetite suppressants.
To stop bloating, avoid sorbitol. The sweetener found in gum, light yogurts and biscuits isn't easily absorbed by the body so it stays in the intestine and produces gas. Lower salt (it promotes water retention) and cut out white carbs (they play havoc with insulin levels) but go mad on protein and water.
Fitness expert Paul Byrne also recommends switching to six meals a day.
He says: "If you only eat two or three times a day you put your body in a stress state where it feels fuel is scarce and it will store it as . . . you guessed it, fat. Keep your body in a fed state with five or six small meals and it will reward you."
Ditch the booze for Tara Tea, heralded as 'the weight-loss tea of 2011', as it burns two-and-a-half-times more calories than green tea. Or try a new product on the market, Fitness Coffee (pictured). The weight-loss benefits of caffeine have long been applauded but this drink, with its "16 nutrient-rich herbs and spices" promises to "help boost energy levels, burn fat, support the metabolism and aid in weight loss". Both can be bought online.
Okay, so it's not exactly 'cheating' because you do still have to work. But forget about long, hard slogs in the gym, this is all about maximum results in a short time.
Celebrity fitness trainer Paul Byrne swears by interval training.
He says: "You can burn twice as many calories in the same time by moving from short bursts of intense exercise to less intense periods of the same exercise, such as running at 4mph for a minute, then 8mph the next minute and repeating."
A PowerPlate work out, beloved of fat-free celebs such as Courteney Cox and Elle Macpherson, only takes 20 minutes, but the effort of being jiggled while you work out makes for instantly tighter skin (Macpherson saw a difference in just two weeks).
Recently, PowerPlate joined forces with toning clothing makers Lipo Countour to create Booty Busting Camp, where the vibrating workout is combined with wearing bum tightening shorts for maximum effect. See PowerPlate.com for details.
The new PowerBike will soon be rolled out in gyms in time for 2012's bikini body blitz.
TV fitness guru Dee Thresher devised a series of exercise moves to get results from your office desk.
They include chair leg extensions: pull the tummy in and extend the left leg until level with the hip, hold, lower and repeat 16 times then repeat with the right (burns 62 calories in 10 minutes); Stair Heel Raises: stand on a stair feet shoulder width apart with the heels off the edge and slowly raise and lower your body (burns 85 calories in 10 minutes) and Water Bottle Bicep Curls (burning 41 calories in 10 minutes).
Thanks to a wealth of beauty treatments you can now buy a better body and you don't even need to go under the knife.
The Arasys Perfector uses electrical current to work the tummy muscles while you lie back and relax. Available at Neelu's Beauty and Remedial Salon (neelus-salon.com) there's instant inch loss after one 30-minute treatment (€65) but a course of 10 (€475) will see you drop a dress size.
Beat the bloat and get a flatter tummy with Colonic Hydrotherapy (Renew Clinic has a course of three sessions currently on offer for €250, renewclinic.ie) or for a quick, easy way to lose a guaranteed 6ins try a Universal Contour Wrap, €95 at Dublin's The Buff Day Spa (the buffdayspa.com)
An hour and a half sitting in clay and bandages can produce results that last 30 days.
From the comfort of your own home, try the New Slendertone Bottom. Electrical charges are pulsed through the seat of the €180 stretchy shorts to produce a more uplifted bottom in just four weeks. A 30-minute session has the same effect as puffing your way through 60 reversed leg lifts.
And new celebrity favourite for cellulite blasting, LPG Endermologie, is an option at several spas across Ireland. Gwen Stefani, Angelina Jolie and J-Lo are all fans of the deep-tissue massage. It's not cheap, prices start from around €100, but a course of eight promises to yield lasting results.