Sunday 25 February 2018

Shape Up: Time to let rip with a bikini blitz

Library image.
Library image.

Damien Maher

Ireland's summer has truly begun. The farmer's tans were in full view recently as many availed of the rare sunshine to go to the beaches, walk the piers or play sports with their kids. It was the first opportunity we had in a long while to top up our much-needed vitamin D stores, which boosts our immune systems.

The countdown to beaches and bikinis is on. But the excitement of looking forward to a sun-kissed summer holiday is balanced by the fear and anxiety of exposing your flesh.

Your image of yourself is not quite what you imagined it would be (Ursula Andress in 'Dr No' emerging from the water). Because of this, your stress levels are rising as it is only weeks to your break. In an attempt to get yourself ready, you reckon it's time for a bikini blitz.

You may join a gym in the hope of shaping up. There you will be seduced by the rows of treadmills and aerobics class time-tables. But torturing yourself to lose weight with rep-etitive move-ment for hours on end is similar to a ham-ster on a wheel!

If you take a look at all of the women walking on the treadmills you'll notice none of them has the body most women want.

Many personal trainers and gyms haven't figured it out yet either. They get a female client who hires them to change their body shape and either proceed to start them off with 20 minutes on the cross-trainer, 20 minutes on the treadmill and 10 minutes on the stepper. Or else they'll bring you into the 'ladies only' section of the gym, home of the pink dumbbells, to perform sets of 25 repetitions.

Most trainers don't realise that you need to challenge women more to get their body shape to change. Trainers need to stop being afraid of pushing women to gain muscle, which will boost your metabolism and change the way your body looks, permanently.

Magazines and diet books recommend you to cut back on the calories, practically starving yourself, as the focus of progress becomes the number on the weighing scales. This plan will never yield permanent results.


Instead, women should do a metabolically demanding strength-training programme lifting challenging weights. This should be your priority workout, two to four days a week. You need to shorten the duration and boost the intensity of your running programmes by dropping the continuous aerobic cardio sessions in favour of calorie-guzzling interval sessions.

Get back to basics in nutrition and eat fresh vegetables, lean proteins and healthy fats.

It is important to change your mindset and to focus on how your clothes fit and how you look and feel and not obsess about a number on the scales.

This program will boost your metabolism, it will change your body shape, and will bolster your confidence knowing that it can be maintained.

If you really want to change your body shape permanently you need to start checking out the weight training floor. You need to get out of your comfort zone and push your body beyond what it is used to.

You can't walk to weight loss on a treadmill. It is not challenging enough unless you are obese and initiating a training programme after a long period of inactivity.

You need to do a body blitz, alternating between upper and lower-body exercises. This improves peripheral heart flow, making your heart work harder, pumping blood downstairs and then upstairs.

Utilise exercises that use two joints, like a push-up, followed a lower body compound movement, such as a squat. Keep the rest periods short and use three or four pairs of exercises, working out for no more than an hour at a time.

Michelle Obama (left) gets headlines for her toned arms and defined legs because she has the very thing most women are terrified of -- muscle. Many women are so afraid to lift weights because deeply seeded in their subconscious mind is the notion that as soon as you touch anything over 10 pounds, you will sprout gigantic muscles. If only it was that easy!

Most women don't know what their bodies are capable of because they tend to not push themselves hard enough. They're conditioned to think they can't do push-ups, doing girly ones instead. Women undersell themselves on what they can accomplish!

So how do you get your body to change? You have to lift enough weight to build muscle to increase your metabolism; fuel your body with healthy food; and turn your body into a fat-burning machine.

Stop pounding your body with hours of cardio and stop starving yourself. If you want to melt fat fast, download a Bikini Blitz workout at and you'll see results in four weeks.

Irish Independent

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