In an ideal world, you would have access to a personal trainer and unlimited time to work out. This isn’t an ideal world, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t get your body bikini-ready. Regular exercise -- that is, exercising five or more days per week -- is essential for losing weight and toning up. Professional trainers suggest alternating between cardio and weight training on different days of the week, but if you are pressed for time, you can combine both for one effective routine to do at least three times per week.
Begin your workout by thoroughly warming up. Walk briskly for five minutes to warm your muscles, and then stretch your entire body with the following stretches: neck rolls, shoulder shrugs, arm circles, torso twists, hip circles and lunges. Hold each stretch still, without bouncing, for 30 to 60 seconds.
Perform 20 to 30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise, such as running, to build endurance, burn calories and jump-start weight loss. Once you're in the habit of this, increase the intensity of your run by adding short sprints or increase the duration to up your calorie burn and prevent the plateau that often comes with long-term use of exercise routines.
Perform the resistance exercises to develop lean muscle mass. In resistance exercises, you use your own body weight to provide the challenge for your muscles. A good combination of exercises for this is pushups, triceps dips, crunches, back lifts, squats and lunges. Do two sets of 15 repetitions for each exercise. Increase the difficulty of this combination as needed by adding additional repetitions or increasing the number of sets performed.
Cool your body down using the stretches from your warmup. Complete them slowly and with more focus on the muscles being stretched.
- Once you have mastered this routine, you can further increase the difficulty by adding weights, such as dumbbells and ankle weights, to your resistance training.
- Always speak to your physician before beginning a new workout routine.
- Do not push your self to pain, discomfort or dizziness. Rest or modify the routine as necessary to suit your individual needs.
An American writer living in the United Kingdom, Christy Mitchinson began writing professionally in 2000, during her career in laboratory science, pathology and research. She has authored training materials, standard operating procedures and patient/clinician information leaflets. Mitchinson is pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in English literature and creative writing with The Open University.