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Active Matters

May 04 2012

Look hot with your kit off.

by Mike Watson

The warm weather’s coming, which means it’s time to dust off the speedos or dig out the two-piece. For a lot of us though, the winter months have done little for our movie-star bods. Luckily, we’ve got a few tricks up our sleeve to get you looking more McConaughey and less McDonalds this summer.

There are two types of people: those who work out and those who don’t. But we could all do with a little help. The wrong kind of exercise can be almost as ineffective as none at all.

Getting yourself motivated is a good place to start. Stick a photo on the fridge of you when you looked half-decent. This’ll remind you of how things can be again. Find an old pair of jeans that fit you at the minute, then pop them back on every couple of weeks to see how you’re shrinking.

Forget the crash diets; they’re not sustainable. As soon as you step foot on the plane, the timber’ll start piling back on. Try a spot of healthy eating instead – and keep a food diary, so you can see how well you’re actually sticking to your guns. (It’s easy to convince yourself you’ve eaten well, even when you’ve not.)

Get fit for the beach at Virgin Active

Eat your five a day – understanding that the lettuce on your Zinger Tower doesn’t count. Cut out the fizzy stuff. Plenty of water. Feel free to nip down to the boozer, but don’t drink yourself into a flatulent coma. Forget the post-session kebab. Eat a good brekkie so you’re less tempted to snack between meals (grazing is for cows, after all). Once your diet is in good shape, you’re halfway there.

The next step is to do some exercise. And do it properly. If you’re not a gym bunny and it’s all new to you, then don’t worry – you’re not on your own. Clubs have plenty of helpful characters floating around. Find a fitness coach. Tell them what you’re trying to achieve. Then it’s a case of slow and steady. Stick to three workouts a week and do the things you enjoy, whether that be group exercise classes, the treadmill or the gym floor. Whatever you do though, don’t overdo it; a prolapse doesn’t look great in swimming trunks.

If you’re already a gym user, then the key to honing and toning is to change your routine. Give your body some new challenges to adapt to – you’ll start developing muscles you’ve not worked that hard before. If you’re a weights user, drop them (not literally) for sessions on TRX®. If you’re cardio mad, go for some resistance training instead. Up your intensity when you train. It’s much more beneficial to go hard for a short period than go gently for 2 hours.

Full-body exercises are the future, too. Try a bit of swimming – as well as helping you carve out a figure fit for Baywatch, it’ll get you used to publicly wandering around in your swimwear.

Finally, parade yourself proudly when you’re in your skimpies. Stand up straight. Shoulders back. Chest stuck out. Sounds simple, but it really does help. You may be the size of Warwick Davis, but you’ll look like Dolph Lundgren. Probably.

After a month of graft, if the old jeans are loose and the photo on the fridge looks like a current one, give yourself a little treat. Go for a spray tan. Get your nails done. Have a facial. They’ll all help when you hit the beach.

Happy chilling!