Em's Top Tips to Look and Feel Your Best for Your Next Vacation
Instructions for how to get a bikini body:
1. Put bikini on body
2. You now have a bikini body
.......If only it were that easy, amirite?
Bex and I talk about body image a lot, as it's something we've both struggled with most of our lives. Bodies change with age, and at different moments in life weight fluctuation is inevitable. I'm by no means thin, in fact, I put on weight very quickly if I don't watch what I eat and exercise often. Since I've always had to watch my weight, health and fitness have always been something I've been interested in. I entered college as a physiology major, wanting to be a physical therapist, I also studied to take my group fitness instructor exam. So for a while, I wanted fitness to be more than a hobby. I am not a fitness or health professional, and would never claim to be, but I do have a lot of years of trial and error and experiment under my belt.
Since summer is the season of long-awaited sunshine, vacations, and bikinis, I thought I'd share some of my favorite ways to de-bloat, lean out and boost confidence, so you can feel your best in time for your next holiday. A lot of the following tips are ones I dished out to Bex before her Tuscany holiday, I've also included links to my favorite sites, workouts and products in case you're in need of future inspiration. I recommend following these tips 2-3 weeks before your holiday.
*The advice and tips in this post are not meant to override advice from your doctor or personal trainer. Always check with a doc before making changes to your health and fitness routine to prevent injury. Please remember to always honor your body and injuries.
1. Cut the crap, not just the carbs.
Stick to whole, unprocessed foods-- extra sugars and salt from packaged foods will bloat you. I recommend cutting carbs as much as you're comfortable, this will help shed excess water weight. If you're looking for easy, whole food based recipes I recommend Tone It Up, Eating Bird Food and The Fitnessista.
2. Stay hydrated, but not too hydrated.
Drinking lots of water to be healthier might seem like an obvious tip, but I find a lot of people will over hydrate to compensate for not drinking enough water regularly-- leaving them feeling bloated and sponge-like. Half your body weight in ounces is a good formula to follow that will leave you feeling your best without the feeling of needing to be wrung out.
3. Move it, Move it!
Everyday 2-3 weeks before your trip, move! 30 minutes of steady state cardio is plenty to help you feel fit and feel your best. Steady state cardio could be a walk, a light jog, a bike ride, a swim, or a workout class, whatever you like best and you're craving that day.
4. Lift heavy to feel light
I'm a big fan of strength training, especially for women. Lifting heavy helps build precious muscle tissue which will, in turn, make you feel lighter and looked more toned. 2-3 weeks isn't enough time to build any sort of significant muscle mass, but a 3-4 heavy lift sessions is plenty to help you feel strong and light before your trip. Need inspiration? Check out this easy-to-follow-but-leaves-you-sweating workout
HIIT training is celebrated across the health and fitness community and for good reason, it revs your metabolism, challenges your body in the best way possible and can help you melt fat. Incorporate one or two HIIT workouts, such as this one, each week before you leave.
6. Tea Time
Tea is a diuretic, which means it flushes out excess water. One of my favorite tricks 2-4 days leading up to an event or trip is to drink 3-4 cups of double brewed black tea and / or dandelion tea a day (in conjunction with water).
Asparagus helps flush your body of bloat, so add asparagus to as many meals as possible.
8. Self Love, Self Tan
Remember, you're perfect as is, but a bit of bronze never hurt anyone. A quick and easy way to look and feel more confident before an event or trip is to apply a self-tanner. Don't forget to exfoliate and use mitts for a mess free, flawless application. Prefer something more gradual? Try Jergens Natural Glow every night before day, goes on like regular body lotion, just make sure you give it a minute or two to dry before putting your clothes on so you don't smudge.
9. Clear Skin = clearly confident
Nothing beats a great skin day, a clear complexion is an instant confidence booster. Wash your face every night before bed, apply a sheet mask for 10 minutes and follow up with a face cream or oil every night.
While you're beautiful just the way you are, hopefully, these tips help you look and feel your best. It's silly to dread a vacation because you'll be in a bathing suit, it's completely natural, and luckily easily combatted with some dedication and self-love.