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A bikini-ready body requires lots of work.
Kraig Scarbinsky/Photodisc/Getty Images
Getting a bikini-ready body is no small undertaking, and 20 days is a very short period of time to see real change. If you need to lose significant amounts of weight, you may not be able to meet your goal so quickly. However, if you're just trying to tone up and maximize your physical fitness, an intense workout routine can help you feel good on the beach or next to the pool.
Aerobic Fitness for Burning Calories
If you have trouble spots, you might be tempted to do exercises designed to tone these areas; however, spot reduction isn't effective. Instead, you'll need plenty of aerobic exercise to burn the most calories. Aim for 300 minutes a week of cardio for the fastest results, and focus on high-intensity workouts such as swimming, jogging and cycling. For even faster results, try interval training. This approach works by interspersing moderate activity with short bursts of intense exercise. For example, you might try jogging for one to two minutes, and then breaking into a sprint for a minute, repeating this pattern for the entirety of your workout.
Dieting for Faster Weight-Loss
Although it can be tempting to focus solely on exercise, reducing your caloric intake makes it easier to create the caloric deficit necessary for weight loss. This occurs when you burn more calories than you eat -- the more calories you burn, the more weight you can lose. To boost your weight loss by a pound a week, eliminate 500 calories a day from your diet. Eating smaller meals throughout the day can help you feel full, and if you struggle with dieting, try starting small -- by eliminating one source of excess calories a week, for example, such as soda or dessert.
Toning the Upper Body
Targeted exercises help sculpt your muscles, and the more resistance you can create -- by incorporating weights, doing more reps or adding heavier weights -- the more muscle you'll build. To work your arms and shoulders, try exercises such as bicep curls, lat pulldowns, pullups, pushups, kickbacks and dips. For rock-hard abs, try the bicycle crunch, captain's chair exercise and crunches on an exercise ball. Remember, these exercises will help build muscle in these areas, but any fat that might be covering those muscles likely won't budge with just strength training.
Toning the Lower Body
Svelte thighs and hips and defined calves are on everyone's bikini shopping list, but you'll have to work hard to achieve this fitness goal. Try movements such as the leg press, leg lifts and calf raises to shape and tone your legs. Lunges, squats, deadlifts, box jumps and hamstring curls can help you develop strong, lean muscle. You can also sculpt strong lower-body muscles through intense cardio workout that utilize your lower body -- the stair-stepper, for example, or by running.