1. Figure Out Your Goal
The first question you need to ask is: What does bikini body mean to you? Is it size loss? More body tone? A fuller bottom?
Once you figure out your end goal, take into account your starting point and time frame and you’ll be better equipped on how to proceed.
2. Reduce Your Calorie Intake
If you want to drop body fat or simply slim down, you will need to be on a calorie deficit: i.e. consuming fewer calories than you’re burning.
You may be surprised to learn that a starting calorie deficit could be around 2,000 calories a day.
This depends on many factors including your weight, metabolism and how much exercise you’re doing.
You calorie goal should be reduced slightly as you lose weight in order for you to continue progressing.
3. Reduce Your Fat And Carbohydrate Intake
If you’re cutting your calories you’re going to want this to be mainly from sources of fat and carbohydrate.
It’s because you need to eat as much protein as possible to retain a toned figure, so you’ll want to ensure ample amounts remain in your newly limiting diet.
Try to reduce the volume of the more ‘naughty’ fats and carbs such as saturated fats, oils and dressings, white bread, potatoes, pasta – and especially sugar.
4. Eat More Vegetables
Vegetables are good carbohydrates with many benefits including low calories per gram, lots of vitamins, minerals and fibre. They should remain in your diet in abundance.
You may feel hungrier if you’re eating fewer simple carbs and fats, and if your calories are lower.
Ensure optimum health and feel fuller by piling your plate full of guilt-free nutrient-dense veg such as broccoli, kale, spinach.
Other great veg to eat lots of includes celery, carrots, tomatoes, mushrooms, asparagus and cucumber.
5. Look For Ways To Increase Your Intake Of Healthy Protein
To retain and achieve better body tone while dropping body fat you need to eat protein to rebuild your torn muscles from the resistance (weights) training.
This is the true secret to toning up.
I recommend researching protein powders and how you could incorporate them into your diet – especially if you are vegetarian or vegan like I am. I find vegan varieties are best.
They are the best way to get lots of protein into the diet as many contain next to no carb and fat, whereas many cuts of meats contain lots of saturated fat as well.
Other great protein sources are kidney beans, soy and tofu products.
6. Try Lifting Weights In The Gym Or At Home
If you’d like to drop body fat while retaining and sculpting your existing muscles to create a more toned look, I recommend performing resistance exercises (lifting weights).
The gym is the best place for this as it’s purpose-built. You can hire a PT to show you how to perform basic compound exercises.
These include barbell back squats, deadlifts, chest press and rows. These will target your whole body separately and I recommend building a workout around each one, to be performed on different days of the week.
You could ask your PT to design an initial plan based on these principles for you. If you can’t get to a gym or PT, you can research these online and perform similar exercises in the park.
If you’re at home, you can grab some tinned food to use as light weights instead.
7. Reduce Stress And Centre The Body Through Holistic Practices
Many successful, busy career women tend to lead stressful lives.
When not managed properly, stress can wreak havoc in a bikini body programme.
I find intense cardio helps me reduce stress but many also like to practice yoga.
The cardio will help with extra calorie burn, improved cardiovascular health, lower blood pressure, lean muscle tone and increased endorphins – the happy hormone – which should instantly make you feel better afterwards.
Yoga is also a proven stress-buster and can be performed in your living room. It’s also great for stretching our muscles and improving flexibility which can be compromised slightly when weight training. It helps tone your abs, too.
I recommend meditation too, if it works for you.
8. Incorporate Cardio Into Your Weekly Workouts
To excel fat loss results while not depriving the body of too much food and promoting heart health it’s important to add in cardiovascular exercise.
You can opt for high intensity interval training (HIIT) or low intensity steady state (LISS), or both ideally.
HIIT would be sprints and LISS would be a long walk. Both of these can be done in the park.
9. Add In Core Exercises To Slim Your Waist And Build A Solid Foundation
Building your abs acts as tightening and strengthening a ‘muscle corset’ which makes your midriff smaller and firmer.
You should now be used to toning your back, arms, chest, shoulders, legs and bottom. So now is the time to start giving your abdominals special attention too.
Try adding in two 20 minute abdominal workouts such as planks, Russian twists and leg raises to the end of two training sessions during your weekly training plan for a stronger core and more visible ab tone.
10. Work Out Progressively
It’s so important to keep tweaking your workout regime and increasing the intensity for better results.
When you start finding what you’re doing easier and seeing your body change, instead of relaxing, ramp it up.
You can do this by increasing your weights and reducing the repetitions when lifting weights. This is called progressing from endurance onto strength training.
You can also look into increasing cardio sessions and reducing your calories slightly as you do so.
11. Go The Extra Mile
When you’re almost there you need to keep the momentum going and realise that despite having achieved amazing results so far, you could go even further by persevering a little longer.
This is a tip you don’t hear too often but it can make the difference between looking great and looking incredible.
At the same time, listen to your body. If you feel faint, if you feel weak, rest and replenish yourself. You can always take a step back if it’s too much.
12. Maintain Your Results
When you achieve your idea of a ‘bikini body’ – perhaps a fit, shapely and toned – you’ll want to maintain your results long-term.
The way to retain your new shape is by incorporating everything you have learned into your lifestyle as forever-habits.
Keep educating yourself, have treats – don’t deprive yourself or you’ll resent your new lifestyle – but generally work out 3/4 times a week and eat right.
By ‘right’, I mean figure out your ‘maintenance diet’ – how much you should eat of what to maintain your size and shape.
Text: Deni Kirkova/HerWorldPlus