'Tis the season to shed those winter scales and reveal your glorious bikini body on the lake. Even if you have a lovely figure, chances are you have a few areas that could use firming. And while eating your greens and passing on the queso may whittle your waistline, realistically it won’t get rid of your cellulite.
Have no fear, CultureMap turned to personal trainer Ryan Nail, the founder of Corefit, Austin's personally tailored outdoor fitness program. Nail gives us the inside scoop on getting in shape — and ready for the beach — in just 30 days.
"For women looking to get in shape, the key areas I find my clients have trouble with are the glutes, abs and the back of the thighs," says Nail. "I recommend getting a full body cardio workout in five days a week, and then targeting specific muscle groups with a few moves."
"My favorite for the glutes are squats, which are simple to do and really help firm up that area. To see progress in 30 days, I recommend four sets of 25 of these exercises in addition to a set of a wall squats. A wall squat is also going to challenge your core, which is of tremendous importance when talking about any fitness routine," Nail says. "It's important trying not to go overboard with these moves by doing them every day. I don’t think the '30 day squat challenge' I’ve been seeing on Facebook is particularly effective."
Nail reminds that muscles need time to repair after a workout. "Exercise tears your muscle; working out different muscle groups every day gives your body the time it needs to rebuild and tone. To properly rebuild you need to take two days off between working major muscle groups. The only exception I would make for that rule is the abs, which can be worked out every day."
Instructions: Squats four sets of 25; two sets of wall squats held for 30 seconds each.
"For the abs, my favorite is a side plank. There is nothing sexier on a woman at the beach than sculpted obliques," Nail says. "The great thing about a side plank is that any woman, no matter what her size, will see results from doing them consistently within a few days."
"Russian twists are another great way to sculpt the abs. To step it up a notch I recommend incorporating a medicine ball or kettlebell for maximum results," he continues. "Again, four sets of 25 will get you the results you want in time for bikini season."
Instructions: For side plank, lay on your side with your left hand (or elbow for beginners) on your exercise mat. Lift your body up to form a plank with your left arm straight with your right arm lying by your side. For Russian twists, grab a medicine ball or kettlebell and lay on a mat with hips and knees bent. Hold your medicine ball straight in front of your body while making sure your back is straight. (The hard part) Twist your torso from the left to the right, as far as you’re capable in each direction, until you come back to center.
"Tricep dips are my go-to for firm sculpted arms. No woman wants to have chicken wings under her arms and these moves, while grueling, do wonders for fixing that area. Four sets of 25; no pain no gain."
Instructions: Rest your hands on a chair, with your heels firmly on the floor and your legs stretched out in front of you. Slowly lower your body to the floor while using your core and triceps to raise your body back up to where you started.
"Plies with a front raise will get you lean slender thighs. This move really burns, but other than cardio, it is one of the most effective exercises for this area," Nail reminds.
Instructions: Watch this video for how-to.
"If you’re able to follow a 1,300-calorie a day diet in addition to these workouts, you will see some tremendous progress in 30 days, guaranteed," says Nail. He says to eat a plant-strong diet with portions no bigger than the size of your fist five times a day. In the evenings, Nail says to eat protein, such as fish or grilled chicken, because 'eating carbs in the evening will make it difficult for you to reach your goal weight."
Should you eat out, order things that are steamed or grilled. "Crash dieting and juice fasts have a tendency to only provide short-term results," Nail continues. "As with any fitness plan, alcohol is always a foe- never a friend. Skip happy hour and hit the gym!"