A Bikini Body Workout Routine

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http://www2.pictures.zimbio.com/fp/Adrianne+Curry+Relaxing+Malibu+Beach+RDSoljOMfBXl.jpgThe bikini body, to clarify, is like a normal body, but browner, thinner and smoother. It's a body worked on through spring to be exposed over summer, and it's a phrase that has crept stealthily into the vernacular over the past decade. This month Health & Fitness magazine offers a "bikini body" supplement, urging readers to set aside a month pre-holiday for the necessary ablutions, while Zest promises a flat stomach in six days. The fast results of the baby-food diet (devotees rumoured to include Jennifer Aniston, Cheryl Cole and Lady Gaga) invented by Tracy Anderson (Gwyneth Paltrow's personal trainer) led to Ocado's Heinz Mum's Own Creamed Porridge sales leaping by 100% at the end of May, while July's Elle introduced "fat whisperer" Mary Ascension Saulnier, a woman who "commands" fat cells to leave the bodies of clients (including Paris Hilton and Kate Hudson) before they visit the beach.

Diets (the industry of which is worth £2bn in the UK) trend all year round, but never more so than in these long, rainy months before the summer holidays when, with seasonal "Bikini Body Bootcamps", we are encouraged to consider the possibility of our weighty upper arms spoiling an otherwise perfect ocean view. This, of course, was not always the case. In the 1960s, when bikinis first became popular, they were worn to highlight your curves – today even the most beautiful women are sneered at if their belly hangs (as Marilyn Monroe's did, happily) over their knicker band. A survey by NHS http://www1.pictures.zimbio.com/bg/VS+Angels+Beach+mxgmX22iHPYl.jpgChoices found 86% of women were unhappy with their "beach body". Another, by Fitness magazine, revealed that 80% believed other women were judging them on the beach, while 48% would only consider wearing a bikini after they'd lost another 20 pounds.

It's not just weight that women are expected to shed – it's hair, too: Veet claims that 74% of women think a "groomed bikini line" is the "number one must-have this beach season". When did the bikini, once a daring symbol of freedom and changing social attitudes to the body, become a threat?

I'm lying face DOWN on a pleather bench. Small electrical currents are pulsing through my upper thighs with the aim of re-sculpting my rear, and I can taste pennies – "a side-effect of the treatment", beauty consultant Bianca explains. I'm halfway through a four-hour (£430) "beach ready" menu at Richard Ward's glamorous salon in Chelsea, and on day two of the Pure Package's "Summer Stunner" food programme (three surprisingly delicious meals delivered to your office for £39.95 a day). I feel not only frighteningly detached from my own body, but a bit like I've taken on a part-time job. Because finding your bikini body takes time, not to mention money and effort.

http://www1.pictures.fp.zimbio.com/Kelly+Carlson+Bikini+Nip+Tuck+IyajzV73wOFl.jpgBianca massages my legs with the vibrating machine, to work out cellulite, and I consider the "cheatments" available. I turned down the Magnetic Melt, which harnesses "magnetic pulses" to break down fat cells. I turned down the Universal Contour Wrap, which uses "electro-stimulation straps" to reduce your silhouette by six inches. I turned down the VelaShape bottom shaper, with its infrared lights and promise of pertness. Two months of process for two weeks of confidence? The maths, to me, seems off.

Esther Fieldgrass, founder of EF Medispa (where 68% of clients visit for body tightening a month before their holidays) sees herself as a beauty pioneer. "We do find some women come to us [in search of a bikini body] with quite unrealistic expectations," she says, "hoping to come out a completely different person, rather than improving what they've got." She says the most popular bikini body treatments are dermal smoothing, laser hair removal, breast augmentation and Vaser High-Def Lipo, "a way to actually sculpt abs on to the tummy".

http://www2.pictures.zimbio.com/bg/Pam+s+sexy+photo+shoot+fD2aQT5umkFl.jpgMarie O'Riordan, who has edited magazines including Elle and Marie Claire since 1986, has a panoramic memory of the bikini body's evolution. "I first became aware of it when I came to London from Dublin in my 20s and became friends with women who talked about sex and bodies so openly I cringed. My Damascene moment came when I had to look up cellulite in the dictionary and realised I had it. The bikini body was fixed on my radar forever."

But these were the days before Vaser Liposuction and lunch-hour boob jobs. "Back then it http://www2.pictures.zimbio.com/bg/Beyonce+itsy+bitsy+yellow+bikini+w9ruahbwfaXl.jpgmeant a quick epilation – courtesy of a Bic Ladies – and a two-piece that didn't crawl up your orifices," she says. "Today it involves extreme waxing, tanning, pedicuring, starving." As she is the person responsible for shaping so many women's glossies, I point out that this phenomenon reached adolescence under her editorship. "The increase in tanning and treatment advertising definitely influenced the debate," she admits. "Editorial words were swamped by ad promises." The pressure to increase circulation, she adds, encouraged the coverline every reader wanted: Get your bikini body now! The exclamation point was crucial.

But rather than changing our bodies to fit our bikinis, as has become the norm, there is still the option to buy a bikini to fit your body. This season Toast, Whistles and Bravissimo are all doing bikinis to suit even the dermal unsmoothed. Reminiscent of the swimsuits that Monroe spilled out of so glamorously, they're high waisted and wide-crotched, and the tops are structured so as to keep you buoyant even when running from waves.

In a time when perfection is seemingly only a short operation away, the commercialised freedom of the "bikini body" has become a gauge with which to measure our own insecurities. After weeks of applying the creams, I start to understand something. As I reach the end of my Pure Package diet, I realise that I'll miss it. Perhaps the point of a deadline to the bikini-body diet is simply that, post-holiday, your body becomes your own.
 

 

Bikini Body Workout Routine
How It Works
Baby, it's (almost) hot outside, and we've got the just-in-time toning that will take you to tankini and beyond. We asked Bethany Lyons, group fitness regional manager at Crunch in New York City, to put together a foolproof routine that trims and tones all your bikini hot spots. "This total-body plan shapes shoulders, fights arm jiggle, flattens abs, sculpts your derriere, and more," says Lyons, who designs Crunch's addictive Beach Body workout classes and has helped thousands of gym-goers get summer-ready. For the next month, follow the plan on these slides for your sleekest beach physique ever.

Get the Complete Plan
Stay motivated! Get each week's moves and meals sent right to your inbox, plus log your workouts and keep track of your calories, when you sign up for the complete Get a Bikini Body plan!

 

Cardio Slim-Down
Pick three days each week to get in 30 minutes of cardio: Run, bike, swim, hit the elliptical, hike, play tennis, or try Lyons's walk-to-jog Twist 'n' Sweat session, below. "It's my go-to on the
http://www.connectedwomen.net.au/Portals/0/Departments%20Img/plugged%20in/woman%20jogging%20in%20article.jpgtreadmill, but you can do it wherever you walk," she says. "The intervals are digestible bits that make time fly by" -- and the pounds peel off.


Twist 'n' Sweat
Start out at an easy walking pace for 5 minutes. Next, do this 5-minute series a total of 4 times.

Minutes 0-3
Go at just under the pace that you would break into a jog at. (If you're on a treadmill, increase the incline to 2 or 3 percent and keep it there until it's time to cool down.)

Minutes 3-4
Do side-to-side twists as you stride: Hold a light medicine ball in front of your chest if you're on a treadmill (place it in cup holder or on floor after interval) or clasp hands together, centered just below chest, if you're outside. Keeping hips steady, rotate upper body to left (as you step forward with left foot) and then to right (as you step with right foot) to complete 1 rep. Do 50 reps.

Minutes 4-5
Jog at a brisk pace.
Cool down with an easy 5-minute walk.
Calories burned: 152*
*Approximate calories burned are based on a 140-pound woman.

 

Monkey Row
Targets: Triceps and biceps

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  • Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, facing a stability ball or bench, a dumbbell in right hand, arms by sides.
  • Engage core muscles and hinge forward at hips, placing left palm on ball for support, allowing right arm to extend straight toward floor.
  • Bend right elbow directly out to side, curling weight toward armpit.
  • Keeping right elbow still, extend arm directly out to side at shoulder level.
  • Bend right elbow to bring dumbbell back toward armpit, then lower weight toward floor.
  • Do 10 reps. Switch sides; repeat.

Booty Swirl
Targets: Hips and butt

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  • Start on floor on all fours, hands under shoulders, knees under hips.
  • Lift bent right leg directly behind you so that thigh is parallel to floor at hip level, then draw a clockwise circle with right knee.
  • Do 12 reps. Switch legs; repeat.
  • Return to lifted right leg, tracing counter-clockwise circles.
  • Do 12 reps. Switch legs; repeat.

Three-Legged Dog
Targets: Butt, quads, hamstrings, and calves

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  • Begin in downward dog: Get on all fours, then tuck toes under and take a few steps back as you lift hips to form an inverted V.
  • Maintaining V position, lift left foot off floor and extend leg upward behind you.
  • Do 5 calf raises on standing right leg, lifting right heel off floor, then lowering it.
  • Bend left knee and bring it in toward chest, then step left foot between hands.

Breast Stroke
Targets: Upper back, shoulders, and legs

  • Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, holding a dumbbell in each hand, elbows bent by sides, so that weights are directly in front of chest, palms facing forward.
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  • Lower into a squat, knees bent 90 degrees, and hinge forward at hips 45 degrees, keeping back flat.
  • Maintaining squat position throughout, extend arms overhead in line with back.
  • Fluidly bend elbows out to sides; then lower dumbbells to near shoulder height so elbows are bent 45 degrees by sides and arms form a W shape, palms facing forward; then bring hands in front of chest to start.
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  • Do 10 reps.

Beach Ballet
Targets: Shoulders, abs, butt, and quads

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  • Stand with feet hip-width apart, holding a stability ball (or a single dumbbell or towel with both hands) with arms extended in front of chest.
  • Bend right knee up to hip height in front of you near ball.

Mermaid
Targets: Abs and obliques

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  • Lie faceup on floor, arms extended behind head.
  • Lift torso off floor 45 degrees, bringing extended arms directly in front of you at shoulder level, as you bend knees 90 degrees and raise legs together so that shins are parallel to floor (V-sit).
  • Maintaining V-sit position, rotate shoulders and arms toward right and knees toward left.
  • Maintaining V-sit position, rotate shoulders and arms toward right and knees toward left.
  • Return to center and lower to start.
  • Do 12 reps.

Thumbs Down, Thumbs Up
Targets: Chest and abs

  • Start in full push-up position, balancing on hands and toes with arms fully extended, hands directly below shoulders. MAKE IT EASIER: Start in modified push-up, on knees.
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  • Step left hand and right hand in toward each other so that thumbs touch when palms are down on floor below chest.
  • Lift right hand off floor and bring right arm behind back.
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  • Hold for 1 to 5 breaths, then return right hand to floor next to left. Repeat with left arm to complete 1 rep. Do 4 reps.

Starfish
Targets: Abs and obliques

  • Lie faceup on floor, holding a single dumbbell in front of chest with both hands, elbows bent out to sides.
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  • Bend knees out to sides and place soles of feet together. Crunch up, lifting shoulders and heels off floor a few inches.
  • Maintaining crunch position, pass dumbbell to left hand and extend left arm across body to reach dumbbell to right knee, rotating torso to right as you go.
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  • Return to center crunch, pass dumbbell to right hand and repeat (extend right arm across body and rotate to left) to complete 1 rep.
  • Do 20 reps, alternating sides, without lowering shoulders or heels to floor until finished.

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