Even though nutrition influences 80% of your physique, exercise is just as important for creating a lean, toned look. Exercise helps keep your heart, lungs and every other part of your body healthy. Since you are a busy bride-to-be, you may or may not have an exorbitant amount of time to spend in the gym. You should make your health a priority, so try to squeeze in some exercise at least 3 days a week – more if you want to make drastic changes in your body before the big day. Along with eating healthy, exercise is going to allow you to trim fat and achieve that lean body of your dreams. I figured I would share a few exercises that really help to get your body in bikini shape fast.
1. Push ups
Push ups have been around forever. Why? Simply because they work everything and are effective. When I first started working out, I could barely do 5 girly push ups (on my knees rather than toes) without shaking all over. Now I can do 10 “real” push ups. I know it isn’t that many but I am proud of that accomplishment. I can tell you that I was sore ALL OVER at first. Push ups work your back, shoulders, biceps, triceps, chest and core muscles. No worries if you need to start on your knees. You will get stronger. Eventually, you will be able to get up on your toes and bang them out like nothing. So hit the deck ladies!
If you haven’t tried Zumba yet, you should find the nearest class location and start now. Zumba is a Latin-inspired dance fitness program and about 12 million people do it weekly (says Self Magazine). Basically, you get to shake your booty to upbeat Latin grooves and call it exercise. Not only is it a great workout, but it’s fun. I find that I always smile and laugh (even if it is at myself!) during the classes. Even if you aren’t the best dancer in the world, the key is to just keep moving through the whole class. You will eventually learn the moves and your inner dancing diva will come out.
If you are nervous about flaunting your non-existent dancing skills in front of a bunch of strangers, there are a ton of Zumba videos out there that you can do in the comfort of your own home. Don’t forget to keep a large bottle of water and a towel handy. You will need it!
3. Circuit Training
Circuit training is one of the best ways to really get a good workout in a short amount of time. A good circuit consists of a combination of strength training and cardio. Muscle helps burn fat, so don’t be afraid to lift a few weights. Cardio alone will not cut it. The most important thing to keep in mind while doing the circuit is that you must move from exercise to exercise quickly only taking a few seconds to switch your workout space/equipment if necessary and take a quick drink of water. You have to keep your heart rate up to burn the most amount of calories in the shortest amount of time.
Not sure what to do during the circuit? If you have a gym membership, you can always hire a trainer for a few days to teach you how to use the machines and work with you to create the best circuit for you and your body’s needs. If you don’t, you can always seek help from the good old internet. I found this article featuring a few moves from the mastermind of P90X ,Tony Horton, from Self Magazine. It will give you a taste of P90X so you can decide if it is for you. I have a love/hate relationship with superman banana, but that sucker works!
4. Lunge/Arm Combo
I can’t think of a woman out there who does not long for lean, toned, supermodel-like gams. With summer coming and shorts weather looming over us, it’s time to get those legs in shape! Lunges work your thighs, calves, butt and core all in one little step, literally. Add in some bicep curls, shoulder presses or other arm exercises while lunging and it is a completely different story. There are a couple of key things to note when doing a lunge. Make sure your front knee does not extend past your ankle when stepping into your lunge. This puts unnecessary pressure on your knees and can cause pain. If you have bad knees, simply do not go as deep into your lunge. Going about halfway down still works those muscles. Once your legs get stronger, you may be able to lunge deeper. Just take it slow. Rome wasn’t built in a day!
I admit it. I hate yoga. I know I am probably one of the only people out there who feels this way about it. Still, I can’t deny that it is a good workout. It works every muscle in your body through calming moves and stretches. I think the thing that I dislike about it is the speed, or lack thereof. I prefer upbeat workouts. However, yoga can give you quite a workout without the faster pace of aerobics or circuit training. If you do Bikram yoga, you are probably going to sweat more than a cold glass of iced tea on a 110 degree day. We all want long, lean muscles and if you’ve ever seen a yoga instructor, you know you can’t go wrong with this exercise.
So now that I’ve laid out a few options for you for exercise, I don’t want to hear any excuses. Every single one of these workouts can be done in the comfort of your own home and do not require a ton of gym equipment to complete. I know you will love how you look and feel if you just commit to doing at least 30 minutes of exercise 3 or 4 times a week for the next 30 days. Mix that with a healthy, clean diet and I can guarantee you will be super excited to strut your stuff on your big day and honeymoon!