Health and Fitness: 9 ways to get the perfect beach body
Having spent the summer watching sport, now's a good time to turn to participate yourself, writes Laura Williams.
World Cup gatherings and Wimbledon parties aren't conducive to getting a beautiful beach body, but there's still time to turn it around, so here are my nine top tips for getting bikini (or Speedo) fit in double time.
1 HIIT it hard
While you should be wary of claims that promise overnight results with, say, three minutes of tough exercise, ramping up your usual routine will help - so take inspiration from High Intensity Interval Training.
You can even just take your usual cardio workout and add some tough 30-second intervals to it.
2 Sleep it off
A lack of zeds is notorious for contributing to weight gain.
Levels of stress hormones fluctuate when you're sleep deprived - researchers have found a link between these hormones and increased levels of body fat in the stomach area while a Chicago University study found people reduced snacking by over 20% after 8.5 hours sleep.
3 Keep it convenient
Put together your own living-room mash up workout.
Create an effective, short programme consisting of moves such as planks, decline push ups, bicycle crunches, jumping squats and lunges.
Intersperse with small amounts of cardiovascular exercise such as fast stair climbing.
A tough, 20-minute routine performed three-four times a week will produce results in a matter of days. Make sure you switch it up regularly though in order to continue to see results.
4 Police your portions
Okay, so this may not be the most exciting bit of beach body advice you get this summer, but with macronutrients being demonised left, right and centre, it's worth pointing out even the best diet will still leave you with a stubborn tum if you're overeating.
5 Lift smart
Work as many muscle groups as possible when you're lifting weights. Compound exercises such as squats, deadlifts, pull ups and push ups work many muscles across multiple joints.
And the more muscle fibres you use, the more metabolism-raising lean muscle tissue you'll develop.
6 Do the double
Try doing two short bursts of activity during the day, instead of one long one.
Studies have shown dividing your exercise up into two smaller workouts in the morning and evening can have a bigger impact on your metabolism than one long one.
7 Start sooner
While a few hotel room push ups will temporarily pump up your pecs for the pool, a half decent summer body needs to be worked on for a few weeks.
Plan ahead - at least two-three weeks will give you a good shot at a mini-transformation.
The closer to your holiday you leave it, the harder you're going to have to work to achieve even the smallest of gains.
8 Ban the booze
By cutting out high calorie booze you'll not only be saving yourself around 600 cals per night out, you'll also be saving on the accompanying food you eat when temptation strikes.
9 Hit the H2O
While water doesn't possess magical weight loss properties, it is known to make shedding pounds easier.
It can help you feel fuller while keeping you hydrated so will help your body avoid confusing thirst for hunger.
Follow Laura on Twitter @laurafitness.