15 May, 2012

Get that beach-ready bod!

15 May, 2012

After months of winter hibernation, enveloping ourselves in cosy layers and indulging ourselves on comfort food, we are all now facing the dreaded shedding of layers and revealing of what lies beneath! For many, this sudden transition from baggy chunky knits to the land of the bikini and mini dress can be as traumatising as walking out of the toilets with your skirt tucked in your knickers. But fear not, with a little forward thinking, dedication and belief, the below tips can take you from your winter cocoon and transform you into the summer goddess you truly are!

Dietary Adjustments
In winter our body craves fatty comfort foods to keep us warm and our tummies crave it as it tastes so good. However, summer is the time to embrace all that is healthy. Switch your food mantra from cosy and warming (read: pies and pizzas) to light and refreshing (read: fruit and salads). By trying to eat in a style that emulates the weather you will naturally be eating fresher, healthier and more energising foods. Our favourite foods should include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fish and chicken, and should come in the form of salad, grilled dishes or best of all barbeques (try Life Cafe or MANA! for some super-yummy salads). To help shed those winter bulges, stay clear of saturated fats such as butter and cream, processed foods, refined carbohydrates and refined sugars. Swap the cake for fruit, the calorie-laden red wine for a refreshing G&T and your daily cappuccino fix for a cooling lemon ice tea.

Cardio Boosts
Not many people like doing cardio. Going to the gym is boring and involves revealing your sweaty red faced glow to the whole of Pure. Running outside is an impossibility due to the humidity. Hikes become a forgotten memory from spring days. But unfortunately, cardio is pretty essential for fat burning, toning and keeping yourself in shape. So this summer the focus is all about maximum impact from minimum effort. The key? Interval training. Rather than subjecting yourself to a 45 minute stint of medium paced jogging on a treadmill watching the seconds laboriously tick by, learn how to interval train. This essentially should involve a workout that looks like the following:

–        5 minute warm up – 6km/h
–        1 minute sprint – 14km/h
–        1 minute jog – 6km/h
–        1 minute sprint – 14km/h
–        1 minute jog – 6km/h
–        Repeat the above two stages for your preferred length of workout, ideally for at least ten repetitions, so twenty minutes of interval training
–        5 minute cool down

Don’t forget to stretch thoroughly at the end as leaving lactic acid sitting around in muscles not only causes aching but can cause muscle bunching and stocky looking thighs. Impact training is all about fat burning so is the perfect anecdote to winter padding around your legs. Ideally do this 3-4 times a week, but if even that seems to boring, substitute some of the sessions for any other form of cardio, whether it be swimming, team sports and window shopping the streets of Soho heavy shopping bags in hand!

It’s all very well burning the fat but we don’t want to be left with dangling bits of skin. It’s just as important to schedule in some form of toning exercise every week. And if you can choose a toning class that doubles up as a cardio workout – fantastic! Whereas men do weightlifting as they want big bulging muscles, girls prefer the long and lean look rather than female bodybuilder. My advice, if looking to slim and tone, is to sign up to one of the following classes:

  • Reformer Pilates a relaxing but effective way of working up a slight sweat but most importantly creating longer, more defined muscles and an uber strong core; we recommend the class at Flex.
  • Yoga you only have to look at yoga bunnies and their svelte figures to see the transformative effect yoga can have on any shape or size (Sassy are silver sponsors of the Asia Yoga Conference running from 7-10 June this year, so head there from some inspiration!)
  • TRX these classes have the dual benefit of creating toned muscles but also adopting an interval approach to training that ensures you work up a sweat and burn off some fat.
  • Body Pump A great group class offered in most gyms that involves enough muscle building but again, in an interval style guaranteed to get your heart rate rocketing.

Hair Removal
Winter allows us the indulgent liberty of allowing our primitive roots to re-emerge in the form of unshaven legs and unkempt bikini lines. Come summer, and it is only the naive who are anything other than expertly preened at all times – who wants those awkward moments of trying to explain why you can’t swim on an unforeseen junk trip without revealing the real reason that you haven’t touched your bikini line in 2 weeks?! My advice? Take a permanent approach to hair removal. Laser hair removal actually kills the hair at the root so after 5 treatments, you never need to worry about exposed follicles any longer and can be beach ready at the snap of a finger; we recommend a treatment course at Nude (don’t forget to snag your special Sassy deal on your first treatment!).

Skin Preparation
There is nothing worse than investing gruelling time on a sun lounger, slowly building up the perfect tan, only to peel the moment you step inside an air-conditioned room. The secret? Exfoliation.

At the start of the summer season, treat yourself and book in for a skin focused treatment at one of Hong Kong’s finest spas; we loved the detoxifying spa day at The Intercontinental Hong Kong. Then once a week at least, exfoliate your own skin using an all over body scrub, like this one from The Organic Pharmacy, available at Harvey Nichols.

So there you have it, my comprehensive guide to getting your body summer ready. The key to it all is routine, so get started immediately and shed the pale wobbles in favour of the golden toned goddess you deserve to be!

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