Archive | November, 2008

How to Get a Bikini Body

12 Nov

From Vancouver celebrity fitness trainer, Anna Wong.

The Fast Track to a Hot Bikini Body

Summer is finally here! Are you ready to bare those arms and legs with confidence, even fit into a bikini for the beach? This is the time of year when everybody wants to look and feel good but some of us may not be quite ready. Don’t you wish there were ways to help you get into shape fast? When Hollywood actress and MAXIM cover girl Emmanuelle Vaugier flies into Vancouver to do a project, we often have very little time to whip her into the tip top shape required for her film roles and photo shoots. Sometimes we have as much as a week, or even as a little as 24 hours, to do our magic. To make the most of our time, I’ve used a combination of techniques that have proven to be effective and have given us the results that we want fast. Listed below are proven techniques that will put you on the fast track to achieving the hot bikini body that you’ve always wanted NOW!

EAT RIGHT AND TRAIN RIGHT!

Drink Up!

Water is a natural diuretic. To avoid being bloated, drink at least eight glasses of water per day. Water regulates the body and flushes out toxins, salts and stored water. Not drinking enough water makes your body retain whatever moisture it gets. A great way to drink water is to add lemon. One of the major health benefits of drinking lemon with water is that it serves as a great weight loss remedy.

Eat Little and Eat Often!

Small frequent meals 3-4 hours throughout the day helps to fuel the body regularly and keep you from overeating. A good way to ensure that you’re eating just enough and not more is to eat only until you are 80 percent full.

Cut Out The Sugar

Digesting sugar throws your body’s blood sugar levels off balance, leaving you craving for more. This reaction also increases your appetite. Avoid it altogether! Sugar comes in many forms from sweet things to starches including things like: juice, ice cream, soda pop, muffins, rice, and even potatoes! Aspartame is also a type to avoid. Although aspartame is lower in calories than sugar, it still spikes your insulin levels. Instead, try the natural herb stevia. Stevia is sweet but it doesn’t disturb your blood sugar levels like sugar or aspartame does.

Drop the Alcohol

Alcoholic drinks are extra calories that your body does not need. It also increases your appetite and weight as well as age you. If you want a body fit for the gym, you need a person fit for the gym. Alcohol can leave you unmotivated, distracted, and lethargic. Avoid ALL alcohol!

Eat Your Fruits Wisely

Fruits are better eaten alone and on an empty stomach. When trying to achieve a lean look, limit yourself to 1/2 cup of fruit per serving, allowing 1-2 servings per day. The best choices are fruits with less sugar content like apple, pears, strawberries and blueberries. Avoid grapes, dried fruits and juice. Another note, be sure to eat your fruits and not drink them. Drinking juice, whether it be carrot or beet juice, does provide nutrients to the body, however, it gives you more calories and sugar than if you eat your fruit whole.

Eat Your Vegetables

Choose to eat a variety of fresh vegetables raw or lightly cooked. Vegetables that are canned, frozen or over-cooked are robbed of its vitamins and minerals, flavor and texture. Salads, stir fries or steamed or grilled vegetables are healthy low-fat choices. To avoid extra calories and fat, hold back on adding heavy sauces or using high-fat cooking methods such as frying to prepare your vegetables.

Pick Complex Carbohydrates

Stay away from refined carbohydrates like white-flour products, breads, donuts, chips, crackers, pastries, pizza, pasta, biscuits, muffins, etc. They are highly processed and have been stripped of most of their vitamin and mineral content. They also add inches to the waistline. Instead, choose organic varieties of unrefined complex carbohydrates like brown rice, quinoa, barley, oats, oatmeal, lentils, chickpeas and millet.

Choose Lean Protein Sources

Avoid red meats, pork, ham, lamb, and processed meats like cold cuts, pepperoni and sausages. These are all high in calories and fat. Instead, choose lean meats like fish, poultry and eggs. Be sure to eat organic, free-range, grass fed, hormone-and antibiotic-free proteins. Examples of good protein sources for vegetarians are almonds and seeds. Nuts and seeds can be high in calories and fat. As a general guideline, have no more than 12 almonds or 2 tablespoon of seeds per serving.

Don’t Eat Late

Calories from late night meals don’t get the chance to be burned away and are, instead, stored as fat. Remember to think of your meals as fuel for your daily activities. Your body requires very little fuel to dream, breathe, and sleep. As a rule of thumb, try to avoid eating after 8pm.

Avoid the Bloat

Know your body and its reaction to foods. By avoiding the foods that you may have an allergy or sensitivity to, you can avoid the chance being bloated. Examples of the most common food allergens are wheat, dairy, gluten and soy.

Choose Good Fats

Fat is an important contributor to good health. However, saturated fat is bad for health as it is a major cause of weight gain and is also proven to clog arteries and cause heart disease and stroke. Avoid saturated fats like hydrogenated fats or trans-fats such as lard, palm oil, margarine, biscuits, pies and pastries. Unsaturated fat is a healthier alternative to saturated fat and can be found in oily fish such as salmon, sardines and mackeral and vegetable oils such as sesame, sunflower and olive.

Stay Away From Fast Foods

Fast foods are cheap and easy for a reason; they are made from unhealthy, low-quality ingredients that are high in calories and fat. While they may seem quick and convenient, consider how much energy you’ll need to use up on a cardio machine to burn it all completely. Fast food doesn’t seem so quick or convenient anymore, does it? If you want to get in shape fast, stay away from foods like burgers, hot dogs, burritos, and buttered popcorn.

Limit Your Salt Intake

Adding more salt in your eating can cause water retention. Avoid high sodium foods like frozen entrees, canned soups, chips and fast foods. Many people use salt because they need more flavor. A better way to achieve flavor is to use ingredients like lemon, a variety of fresh and natural herbs, garlic, ginger and onions.

Don’t Eat Fried or Overcooked Foods

Foods that are fried and overcooked have lost their nutrient value and are high in saturated fats. Examples of fried foods are fish and chips, fried chicken, chicken wings and spring rolls.

Mix Cardio and Weights Into One Session

Cardio training helps to burn calories and rid the flab while weight training helps to firm your muscles and increase your metabolism. For best results, mix the both into your training session. To achieve long lean muscles, work with lighter weights and higher reps. (Example: 1-3 sets of 12-25 reps with 30-60 sec rest between sets) Rather than sitting in between your sets, fit in 30-60 second bouts of jogging, jumping, hopping, doing steps or skipping rope in between each set of weight-training exercise. By also challenging your heart and lungs throughout your workout, you will increase your physical effort and burn a ton of calories.

Mix Upper and Lower Body Exercises

By alternating upper and lower body exercises or performing combination exercises that are movements of the upper and lower body all-in-one exercise (ex. biceps curl with squats), more muscles will be worked, your efforts would be increased and your calories burned would be higher.

Stretch

To look slimmer and taller immediately, STRETCH! Stretching elongates the muscle and releases tension to give your body a lengthened look. Stretch your chest, sides, hip flexors, hamstrings and lower back. These areas are the most common areas of tightness for most people. Stretching the tight muscles in your body will balance your body for better posture which would keep you standing taller and naturally looking leaner. For a general guideline on stretching, stretch for 2-7 days per week. Hold each stretch for 30-60 seconds. Perform 1-3 sets for each muscle group. Stretch to the point of mild tension, not pain, and progress once the muscle relaxes. Breathe properly by inhaling and exhaling throughout your stretch.

Every month Anna Wong, personal fitness trainer to the stars, will be writing a column for Asiance Magazine. This column is dedicated to your questions and concerns in health and fitness. Your suggestions and requests are welcome. This column is for you so your feedback is important. To contact Anna, email her at anna@annawongfitness.com.

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