Body Fat and Flat Abs

Body Fat and Flat Abs

Sit-ups Aren’t Enough

As discussed in the last column, Flat Belly Facts, achieving an athletic midsection requires exercise and low body fat. If I had to weight the equation, a toned tummy is one-third exercise and two-thirds low body fat. You could do 300 sit-ups a day, 7-days a week and if your body fat is too high you’ll never see the shape of your abs!

Low body fat is achieved by calorie burning exercise and a healthy diet. Sit-ups are a great exercise for the abs, but they don’t burn a lot of calories. In terms of calorie-burn, you would actually be better off running or working the large muscles of the legs in the gym than doing sit-ups and leg lifts!

Flat Abs

Best Exercise for Abs

If you want your bikini to frame a beautifully toned midsection you will most likely need to include aerobic exercise. Step and aerobic classes, spinning, cardio machines and running are all great calorie burners. For maximum effect from your efforts, keep aerobic activity at no less than 20 minutes and not more than one hour.

Tropical Beach Swimwear TIP: Body fat is linked to our reproductive systems and a woman’s body is genetically programmed not to burn too much body fat. Therefore, after about an hour of fat-burning activity a woman’s body actually switches and begins to burn its own muscle, instead of fat, for fuel!

When I owned my health club I gave up trying to tell women they didn’t really need all those crunches, pelvic tilts and leg raises. The low belly being the single most problematic area on a woman’s body, most women are just not happy unless they exercise that specific body part, a lot. Which is fine, because this will contribute to increased muscle tone, as well as improve posture and spinal health. Working the ab muscles, however, requires patience and concentration.

Isolating the Abs

The mirrors in health clubs are not there just to check out how good you look. They are there to help you see and isolate a muscle. This is easily achieved when exercising biceps and triceps, but not so easy with the abs.

Although some exercises require different techniques, in general when you exercise the abs you want to gently rock the pelvis so that your low back is rounded. Use your mind and picture bringing your belly button all the way to your backbone—this will help engage the muscles of the lower abs.

Another technique is to push with your feet. This is effective for most sit-ups. Whether with your feet on the floor, a bench or against a wall, push on them as you tense the muscles in your legs and buttocks. Hold that tension while you perform the exercise and you’ll double the intensity of the movement! Go ahead, give it a try right now and experience the difference!

Although there are some machines that combine exercise for the upper and lower portion of the abdominal muscle, most often you need at least two exercises. Leg lifts and knee-ins that bring your knees toward your shoulders work the lower abs. These tend to be weaker than the upper abs so you should work them first. Sit-ups and crunches that bring your shoulders to your knees work the upper portion of the abs. Side bends and twists work the obliques, the long muscles that run down the sides of your torso.

Tropical Beach Swimwear TIP: Don’t over exercise the obliques with weighted side bends. These long rope-like muscles will not make your waist appear smaller—they can actually make it thicker! Also, always finish your abdominal exercise with stretches or exercise for the low back—the opposing muscle group for the abs.

Abs, Abdominal Workout, 6 pac, Six Pac, Flat Belly, Flat Stomach

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How To Stay On A Workout Program

How Do I Stay On A Fitness Program?

In one study, participants who kept workout logs, counted sets and reps, filled out food journals and did so consistently for four weeks doubled their weight loss over the group that made a workout commitment, but didn’t do the paperwork.

My motto–and my program–is if you want to get it right, write it down!

Consistency is King

The best results from any workout come from effort and consistency. Your body benefits from effort by adapting to a new challenge: that means a little longer, a little faster or a little stronger. The other key is consistency. Your body was made to work everyday—we weren’t hardwired for movies and manicures and sunbathing. Our heart, lungs and muscle were designed to work and when they get to, they actually reward you.

Think about how you feel when you finish a workout. Accomplished? You bet. Happy? From ear to ear. Empowered? Like you can conquer the world. Those feelings come from the endorphins that exercise kicks in to pump you up.

Even if you have a slow or weak day (it happens to all of us) if you show up for your workout, run a little less enthusiastically, lift a little lighter, kick a little lower or swim one less lap, you’re still going to have all these good feelings because you didn’t let yourself down. You don’t have to leave a blank page in your journal or your calendar.

How To Stay On A Workout Program

Exercise Results

If you pick up the phone and dial your friend, their phone will answer. If you get in the car and go to the supermarket, most likely you’ll go shopping. When your kids need breakfast it gets on the table. When you have a 10 am appointment you’re there on time. All day, every day, you do things on a consistent basis. Your workouts have to take on that same consistency.

Hire a personal trainer. That’s one way to increase your consistency. Have another friend as serious as you about getting in shape and making a real difference in how they look and feel? Hook up, make a plan, and be workout partners.

It all starts with one simple commitment: that you will give a period of time (4, 6, 8 weeks) to consistently eating a healthier, fresher diet, and exercising in a regimented form at least three days of the week, and moving more on the days you’re not formally exercising (taking a walk, running with the dog, taking the bike to school, stairs instead of elevator, hike instead of shopping.) At the end of that first goal period, take a good look at how you feel. Take a good look at your attitude. Your energy. Your confidence.

Everyone starts out somewhere. You’re neither ahead of nor behind the pack. You are where you are today; now make every day count to get you further toward where you want to be.

Stick With Your Workout Program Workout schedule Finding Time To Workout

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Sexy Waistline

Sexy Waistline

Are you feeling flabby around the middle? If so, you’re probably ‘thick’ and tired of it. But don’t fret. A sleek and sexy waistline can be yours. Read on…

Sexy Waist Line

Several factors can contribute to thickness around the midsection, sometimes called a “spare tire” or “midriff bulge.” Heredity and hormones come into play, as well as diet and exercise. But the muscles of the midsection, called the abdominals or “abs,” respond quickly to tummy-toning exercises. This is good news for your bikini body.

The area between the breasts and hips is comprised of a network of muscles that crisscross to form a structure designed to protect and support your internal organs. These muscles also attach to the spine. So when this ‘muscle grid’ becomes weak, or if excess fat accumulates in this region, the end result is a protruding abdomen.

Extra weight in the frontal torso can alter the body’s natural balance and force a shift in the body’s alignment. When the abdominal muscles are weak other muscles have to compensate for some of the load. This can put strain on the spine, which can potentially lead to back problems. On the other hand, a strong midsection can reduce the risk of low-back pain by helping to keep the pelvis in proper alignment. And strong abdominal muscles are essential for maintaining proper posture.

Developing strong abs via specific exercises that target the midsection will not only assist your overall “body mechanics,” it will enhance your bikini body. Good muscle tone makes the difference between “flab” and “fab.” Even very thin people can have a bulging midsection due to poor muscle tone, but good nutritional practices along with “tummy tightening” exercises and engaging in regular exercise can give you a sexier waistline. Keep reading…

As for diet, moderation is the key. I watch my portion sizes of high-fat foods that are associated with adding inches to the waistline. A few of these include: shortenings, stick margarines, gravies, creamy sauces, potato chips, French fries, donuts and cakes. These foods are often high in trans fat, which has been getting a lot of attention in the press recently.

Another tip for keeping the tummy trim is to eat slowly. It is important to relax while having a meal. We live in a fast-paced world, so it seems we are always “on the go.” But food is meant to nourish our bodies and provide us with energy. Mealtime should be a pleasant experience, so take your time and enjoy it. I have learned to take a few deep breaths before each meal; it helps me to wind down. And remember to chew your food thoroughly. This is important because proper “mastication,” or chewing, aids in the digestive process. Experts recommend chewing your food thoroughly to avoid abdominal bloating.

Many experts suggest avoiding carbonated beverages if you are prone to abdominal bloating. I drink a lot of water and herbal teas. If you are consuming large quantities of beverages that are high in sugar or calories, and if you are not exercising, this can contribute to a thick midsection. Walking regularly or following a regular exercise routine can offset this effect.

There is an old adage that says: The body will rust out before it wears out. I don’t want to end up like the Tin Man from the Wizard of Oz, so I keep my buns moving…

When it comes to exercise, it’s a matter of finding something you enjoy. This way you’ll stick with it – and consistency pays off. Determine your “fitness personality” by trying out a variety of exercises, sports or other activities. Be honest with yourself. For example, I study Karate, but my friend tried it and hated it. So, she started taking water aerobics, and now she’s happy as a clam. (I’m not sure how to determine if a clam is happy or not, but you get my point…)

My favorite exercise for tummy toning is a simple one that can be performed easily throughout the day. I do 3-5 repetitions of this exercise in the morning, afternoon, and evening before bedtime. It goes like this:

Stand with your legs shoulder-width apart, feet flat on the floor and knees slightly bent. Do not arch your back; instead, maintain a normal posture. As with any exercise, do not cause pain.

Place your hands on your tummy near the navel area — doing this will allow you to feel the muscles working. Now, take some deep breaths and focus your attention on the muscles in your midsection. Observe your breathing, and observe the movement of the muscles as your breathe. Allow your shoulders and jaw to relax…this is an area that often holds tension. If your teeth are clenched, release the tension from your jaw.

Now, inhale deeply while expanding your midsection as your lungs fill with air. Note that I have used the word “expanding,” – this is the key to the effectiveness of this exercise. You may notice a tendency to pull your tummy in when inhaling, but for this particular exercise, the idea is to push your tummy “out.” Having your hands on your belly will allow you to feel if you are doing it properly. Practice this technique. Learn how to control the muscles in this region. Once you get the hang of it, this will come easy. Try doing this in front of a mirror, standing sideways, to watch how your tummy expands and contracts.

Next, exhale slowly while contracting your abdominal muscles; pulling them in tightly. Hold the muscles in for a count of three, but do not hold your breath, and do not cause pain. Breathe naturally while holding the muscles in. Then relax and breathe normally — allow the abdominal muscles to relax. Observe each breath. Then repeat the exercise. Be sure to focus on controlling the muscles when you are ‘pulling in.’

It has been my experience that this simple exercise is effective for strengthening and toning the midsection. I apply this same technique to other abdominal exercises, such as crunches (which I prefer to do with a large exercise ball), pelvic lifts, and “bicycle maneuvers.”

Dita Von Teese is a burlesque artist known for her exquisite strip-tease routines and her tiny waistline. Dita loves to wear corsets because they accentuate her figure. But she is “nutrition conscious” and she swims nightly for one hour. A corset can only do so much. Once the corset comes off – it’s show time!

So show off your bikini body by having a nicely toned and sexy waistline.

Sexy Waistline, Slim Waistline, Sleek Waistline, Trim Waistline

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Get Hot Bikini Buns

Hot Bikini Buns

You don’t see it most of the time — but you never forget it. Your butt.

For years . . . miniskirts, jeans and bikinis have been prompting women to search for the perfect posterior. The bottom line is that these slopes and curves are a source of fascination and frustration for both men and women. In fact, there is an entire art exhibit called “Buttocks in the History of Art.” So, our butt gains a lot of attention considering we spend much of our time hiding and sitting on it.

fit sexy woman Bikini Buns

I recently watched a comedy routine by Ellen DeGeneres. Her style of comedy is called observational humor, which involves making comments about everyday life. In the routine, Ellen ‘acted out’ a woman trying on clothing in a fitting room. Then she ‘acted out’ a store clerk who tells the woman the item makes her butt look fabulous so that the woman will buy the item. The character Ellen plays then becomes enthralled with her own butt and of course, she ends up wanting to buy the piece of clothing. The routine is hilarious – and it rings true.

If I don’t like the way something makes my butt look – I don’t buy it. And a simple comment from my husband can determine whether a piece of clothing stays or goes. Sound familiar?

But our posteriors are more than seat cushions and eye candy. Some of the most powerful muscles in the body lie beneath the layer of fat known as the buttocks. These muscles determine the shape of our derrière, and the good news is that these muscles respond beautifully to “body contouring” exercises that zero in on this region.

The buttocks are a group of muscles composed of the gluteals or “glutes.” The largest group is the gluteus maximus, and the smaller groups are the gluteus medius and gluteus minimus. The glutes help the body to regain an upright position after stooping, and they are involved with hip abduction (movement of a limb away from the body’s midline) and adduction (movement of a limb toward the midline). The glutes also hold the pelvis upright, and other muscles in this region work together with the thigh muscles to lift the legs and rotate the femur (the bone reaching from the pelvis to the knee). The buttocks play a key role in posture and back care, and a link exists between the hamstring, or posterior thigh muscles, and those of the buttocks and lower back.

Asedentary lifestyle can lead to flaccid buttocks or a sagging butt. Excessive sitting is a prime culprit. The term “secretarial spread” has some truth to it . . . though today it might be called “computer spread.” So if you have to sit for long periods of time, remember to take frequent walk and stretch breaks.

When sitting, maintain proper postural balance. Adjust your weight so that you’re sitting on the “sit bones” located in the buttocks. To find them, grab the flesh of your butt and roll it out to each side. It might sound odd, but it works. This technique is used in Yoga classes. A good Yoga instructor will remind participants to use the “sit bones.” And when sitting, avoid crossing your legs at the thighs because this can interfere with blood circulation to and from the buttocks. Instead, cross at the ankles. And be sure to wear clothing that does not pinch or bind — a proper fit is both flattering and functional.

The plan to beautify your bottom is simple and effective. Bear in mind that walking, running and most aerobic exercise programs will tone and strengthen the buttocks, so stay active. Experts recommend a minimum of 30 minutes of exercise 5 days per week. But you can firm and tone the buttocks with exercises that isolate the large gluteal muscles for an uplifted appearance. Your buns will be so hot they’ll be smokin’. It works for me, and it can work for you. Here’s the plan . . .

Think: A T M (because it pays off) – Assess, Tone, and Maintain

Assess – Determine your body shape by standing naked in front of a mirror. If your hips are wider than your shoulders you can balance your physique by building up the muscles of the shoulders, chest and upper back with weight training exercises. My background was in ballet and for many years I had the body of a dancer…my legs were strong, but my upper body was thin and weak. I began lifting weights for competitive bodybuilding. The plan was to build the upper body and trim the lower body to create a more symmetrical physique. It was an effective plan. Within a few months I was able to reshape my entire figure. I avoided exercises such as wide-leg squats and heavy weights in the lower body.

If you tend to have a flat or droopy fanny and you want to give it a lift, read on…

Tone – Tone the buttocks. My butt gets a good blast from Karate, but Karate isn’t for everybody. You can get the same butt-toning effect from kickboxing. So if you can get to a kickboxing class, go for it. If you belong to a gym, do standing leg curls, lunges, and kickbacks with cable pulleys. Elliptical machines, hiking, mountain biking, walking hills or walking on a treadmill set on an incline will give your butt a good burn, too. And this is what we want – hot buns!

Part of toning should include what I call cosmetic pampering. Remember – bikini body fitness is a state of mind. It’s all about feeling sexy and vivacious at any age, so learn to love your own body and pamper yourself. That goes for your butt too. Confidence and caring about your own body automatically “ups” your sexy factor.

I’ve been using loofah sponges for years. They do wonders, and they’re inexpensive. Use a loofah or nylon sponge each time you shower or bathe. It helps to stimulate the flow of blood to the skin’s surface and it acts to exfoliate the skin, which allows your skin to “breathe.” Yes – your butt needs to breathe! Work the sponge in a circular motion, going in the direction of your heart. After a shower or bath, use a moisturizer that does not clog your pores because this area of the body can collect sweat and oil. I like Aloe Vera based products, but you can find a lot of great oil-free moisturizers on the market.

Believe it or not, “butt facials” are getting popular. It’s about time! If you can’t get to a spa – do it at home. Give yourself a “butt mask” once a month and then follow up it up with an oil-free moisturizer. I like using a mask that contains honey. It gives a whole new meaning to “honey buns.”

For shaping a sexy backend, perform exercises that concentrate on the gluteus maximus. Forget about the old fire hydrants on the knees. One of the hot new exercise accessories is a large exercise ball. You can do leg lifts on the ball. The reason I prefer the ball is because it is comfortable on the pelvic region, plus it is more fun…

First, be sure you are wearing functional exercise apparel, including athletic shoes. Experts recommend lying face down on the ball with your palms on the ground approximately shoulder-width apart. They should be positioned in the same way as if you are doing push ups. Keep your elbows straight and make sure your hands are planted firmly on the ground. The ball should be comfortably positioned on the lower abdomen and upper thighs. As with any exercise, do not lose your focus. You must learn to concentrate on the muscles you are working and avoid distractions. This is a vital component for optimizing the results of any exercise routine, and it acts to prevent injuries. Do not perform this exercise if you have a lower back injury. Do not cause pain.

Keep your feet about 6 inches apart. Position your legs parallel to the floor. Now slowly drop your left foot to the ground and stabilize yourself on the ball. Then, begin lifting the right leg to perform leg lifts. Remember to breathe. Isolate the movement. The lift should come from the hips and the movement should be smooth and controlled. Do not hyperextend your back. It is not necessary to lift the leg very high. Simply lift from the floor until the leg is level with the rest of your body and hold for a count of 3. Focus. Perform 6-10 repetitions. Take a 1 minute rest, and then do the same thing with the left leg. Gradually work up to 20 repetitions on each leg and build up to 3 sets over a 3-4 week span. Perform this exercise 3 times per week, for example Monday, Wednesday and Saturday, instead of doing it on consecutive days.

Follow up this exercise with a relaxing “cat stretch” to release the lower back and then perform gentle hamstring stretches to maintain flexibility.

Maintain – Keeping your bikini buns hot requires maintenance. It’s a fact of life. Once you start a program, stay with it. If you get bored, find another activity.

Bikini Buns, Sexy Glutes, Fit Butt, How To Get A Fit But, Firm Up Your Buttocks, Bikini Body

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