Mambo For Big W bikini.

The bikini - few fabric ensembles cause as much angst to females.

Whether it's a bust that needs enhancing, a derriere that could do with a little more lycra coverage or a belly still storing treats from winter, most women are a tad anxious when it comes to picking a bikini for the season.

This week, Mind&Body talks to experts in all things bikini and reveals that choosing the right bikini for your body, doing the most effective exercises to tone your shape and eating the most thigh- forgiving foods is the trick to having you rocking in a bikini.

BODYWORK
Jetts Scarborough Personal Trainer and Jetts WA PT of the Year Sarah Dwyer said a combination of weights, cardio and a clean diet were required to make this happen.

"They work hand in hand. You need all three working together for maximum results," Ms Dwyer said.

If you're wondering what general changes you should make to your workout routine, Ms Dwyer said mixing it up was the key. Sticking to the same routine every week allowed your body to adapt to the exercises, and not change.

"You need to keep the body guessing," she said. "Instead of running at the same pace for an hour, you can try interval training for 45 minutes - walk fast for two minutes, sprint for one."

Make the most out of every session.

"You're not going to get results just by thinking about exercise. Once you start, you'll feel better and motivated to keep going."

According to Ms Dwyer, lifting weights is the most effective way to tone your arms.

"I would recommend opting for a weight that is just outside your comfort zone and doing three sets of 12-20 repetitions. Start with a chest press and super-set this with a seated row. This will work the chest, triceps, back and biceps.

"For problem areas, such as the back of the arms, tricep dips are very effective, as well as push-ups. For women who really want to focus on toning their arms, boxing is a great way to tone the arms and the back."

For great legs, Ms Dwyer said you couldn't go past a combination of weights and cardio.

"There's a misconception that women who do weights end up bulking up. Weights are a toned woman's best friend. Building lean muscle means your BMR will rise, leading you to burn more calories throughout the day when you're not working out," she said.

Ms Dwyer said running or walking up and down stairs was excellent for toning the inner thighs and exercise bikes and cross trainers were great cardio exercisers for the inner thighs.

"Speed and a strong resistance is the key to working those hidden muscles. For a targeted inner thigh workout, lunges and squat jumps are the best workouts.

Try doing 20 of each before bed each night and your legs will be beach ready in no time."

DIET
Nutrition is also a relevant factor when looking to tone and shape your body for summer.

For those left with a winter potbelly, Ms Dwyer suggested avoiding alcohol as much as possible in the lead up to bikini season.

"Drinking alcohol will go straight towards adding weight to your mid-section," she said.

Diet by D'Zine Principal Dietitian Jo-Anne Dembo said now was the time to change your eating habits - eliminate comfort foods which are often eaten during winter, reduce portion sizes and make the most of the warmer weather by getting back to basics, and eating in-season fresh fruit and vegetables with meals and snacks.

"Avoid mindless eating - and be in-tune with hunger signals," Ms Dembo advised.

"Ask yourself if you are actually physically hungry before eating or if you're eating purely because there's an opportunity to eat."

She said common dietary errors made by women attempting to lose weight at this time of year included fad diets or radical, unrealistic dietary changes.

"It's important to include all five food groups and to make changes that are sustainable."

Rather than depriving yourself of favourite foods, learn instead to include them in smaller amounts and less often.

However, if you're upping the exercise for a bikini blitz, Ms Dembo said be sensible with your diet and make changes that will positively support your body, not deprive it.

"It's also important to avoid the concept of 'exercise reward'. For example 'I have been to the gym today so I will have a muffin with my coffee'."

The West Australian

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