Bathing Beauties: So You're a Girl

Welcome back!  
In case you missed Parts I & II of this summer prep series, find them HERE & HERE.

image: vitaljuice.com
You've started your dry-brushing and exfoliating ritual and your skin is getting glowing reviews!  Your eating habits are cleaning house, making room for a svelte you to debut.  Still, you wonder, is this all I can do?

The answer is this...

  • if you're seeing and feeling changes already, and you should be, WOOHOO!
  • if you're wanting to really kick Project: Bikini Body into full gear, keep reading.

Healthy eating habits and hormone balancing-skin revitalizing treatments are a great start and, for some, are just enough to set the tone for long-awaited results that you were slightly shy of seeing in the past.  However, some of us want and/or need an extra boost -- just one more shot of assistance to keep the ball from slowing down mid-lane.  You want that lucky strike?  You gotta bowl hard!

Here it is:

Part III of your guide to a happy bare-it-(nearly)-all summer lovin' good time!
Sporting for a Win
walking WITHOUT the extra weight

You don't have to join the gym.  You don't have to be an exercise addict.  You even don't have to have a strict and severe regime.  Believe it or not, toning up to melt down doesn't require a pricey personal trainer or hours upon hours of strenuous exercise.  All you need is an ounce of will-power and a spoonful of patience.

When you wake up in the morning, you may want to roll over and hope for dreamland to welcome you back in or book it to the coffee maker for a helping hand in starting the day bright-eyed & bushy-tailed.  I've got a better suggestion.  Try these toe-tappers on for size.

Throw on a well-fitting sports bra (better yet, you may have already been sleeping in one -- which puts the girls in their proper place amidst that rolling over and stomach-sleeping and fends of the dreaded "downward pull" of age... just ask any OB Gyn or Reconstructive Surgeon).  Now, grab those trainers (that you've so diligently kept at the foot of the bed, right?) and head to an open space in your house with this little list.
Take a few deep breaths, roll your shoulders back and down, shake out the kinks AND...

Start with forty (40) jumping jacks - 
Be sure to bend your knees when you land & slightly rotate your knees outward from the hips so as to not torque the tendons inside.

Immediately follow with ten (10) squat jumps -
image: www.workouts365.com
With weight in your heels, sit your hips back & down only as far as you can without straining your knees (healthy joints can aim for 90 degrees), then spring up into a nearly straight-legged jump with pointed toes; land gently with soft knees and repeat. 

Hit the deck for fifteen (15) pushups -
Keep your gaze focused a few inches in front out in front of your fingertips and lower your chest toward the floor by bending your elbows near to 90 degrees; Imagine a plumb line from the crown of your head to your heels - keeping your back flat, your stomach tight (but not "sucked-up") and your buttocks squeezed to support your lower back; It's ok to perform these from your knees, but then the plumb line should flow from crown to patella.
image: www.misinstitute.com

Now flip onto your back for twenty (20) crunches -
image: calisthenicsworkout.org
With knees bent, thighs glued together (to create more core stability) & feet firmly planted on the floor, tuck your chin to your chest and keep it there throughout the entire set so that you aren't lifting from your neck; with your elbows wide and your hands behind your head (touch your fingertips to your head and keep your hands rounded in the shape they would take to cradle grapefruits; lift your shoulders off the floor by creating a "V" with your middle-abdomen - just 2 inches above your navel; slowly lower, repeat.  
Also, DO NOT arch your back or flare open your ribs in the lower/starting position... that action creates a pendulum effect with the exercise and lessens the amount of effort your abs are putting into the movement - AKA, cheating.

Flapjack yourself again & perform twenty (20) Mountain Climbers -
image: watermaniaclinic.com
Remember that pushup position?  Resume it (or perform it full-length this time).  Now, if you aren't sure about these, start off slowly.  Bring your right knee to your chest & tap that toe to the floor just beneath your waistline.  Return to starting position and repeat with the left leg.  Remember to keep the back straight and not lift the hips into the air.  That's one rep.  You're going for 20.  You can eventually lead up to doing this at a fast pace, jumping the legs back and forth, but KEEP THE HIPS in line with the head and feet, abs tight.

Hold that final pushup position for thirty (30) seconds (also known as a "Plank") -
Keep the buttocks tight & mid-back NOT lifted, NOT swayed or sunken.

Stand up, Walk it off for thirty (30) seconds, REPEAT THE CIRCUIT
After two times through this routine, give yourself about twenty minutes before breakfast.  In the meantime, slowly drink an 8-16 ounce glass of water and hit the showers.

Try sticking to this at least three mornings out of the work week.  Spread it out, for example - 
Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
Starting with a short fast-paced workout like this sets your metabolism to high-gear for the day.  Waiting (as close to exactly, but no more than) twenty minutes before eating allows your blood flow to slow back down just enough for your muscles (i.e. your stomach - yep, it's a muscle) to not be on consumption hyper-drive but in efficiency mode.  This means that your stomach has begun contracting, thus, creating gastric juices for digestion.  Due to that glass of H2O, you're hungry but not starving.  Stick to those healthy eating habits you began cultivating last week and you're now putting out more calories than you're taking in.  Plus, eating slow and mindfully lets your stomach tell YOU when it's satisfied.

Already have a workout routine?  Great!  This will simply improve your performance in that practice. 

Find yourself a little more hungry throughout the day after starting this routine?  Allow yourself that 5th or 6th snack/meal.  You shouldn't be starved, but you should be mindfully adjusting to a higher metabolism without giving into guilt-ridden cravings that will undermine your hard work.

NOW... for something that we must address -

We've reached mid-month and if she hasn't come already, your mean Aunt Flo might be making her regularly scheduled visit soon.  With that said, here's a few tips on how to power through and not be derailed by the redhead's arrival:
image: beeskneeskitchen.files.wordpress.com

  • When the cravings come, IGNORE THEM... kind of.  Keep some dark chocolate squares around and nibble sparingly.  When we think we're craving fatty foods, our body is actually signaling us to give it some pain relief.  I know, duh.  But you can get natural analgesics from red fruit (strawberries and cherries) and dark chocolate.  Believe me, you WILL get the same satisfaction from these sources that you would an order of fries, but without the guilt.  Our fast food chain society has blanketed the sweets nature provides with addicting additives and preservatives in drive-thru quick fix form.  Unfortunately, that's what has brought us to this point wherein we find ourselves at war with our genetics.  Ever read an article spotlighting a celeb that "eats cheeseburgers and pizza all day without a care"?  Of course you have.  Well, she's either lying or her digestive tract is building a grudge made of all the heavy oils she's layering up inside... and we know what happens when we hold a grudge too long right?  Eventually, we explode in an all-out fit of pent-up rage.  Your organs do that too, in the form of illness.  One of my favorite healthy stars, Anna Paquin, addresses the reality of her fit eating style in the June 2010 Self Magazine cover issue:

image: self.com
I'm really careful about what I eat, and I work out a lot. It's not like this is an accident. I'm sure, no matter what your genetics, everyone can be out of shape. And I don't want to be one of those actresses who says, "yeah, I eat cheese burgers all the time." Because I don't. I live my life, but I'm really careful about taking care of myself. If I don't take care of myself, in the sense of not also nourishing myself, I don't do the kind of work that I'm proud of.
It's the "Well-what-would-you-eat-if-you-were-being-photographed-in-a-bikini-tomorrow?" diet. I mean, it's not anything wildly specific. I eat a lot of vegetables. I eat a lot fruit. I don't eat fast food ever. I don't eat a lot of dessert. I don't eat a lot of cr**. As I get older, I'm getting better about taking care of myself without depriving myself. It's not a good way to live. It's not a good way to work. It's about finding balance and learning how to feed your body so it'll do what you need it to do. It's being a little more relaxed about the way you take care of yourself. It's a good thing. 

Anna Paquin in Self Magazine

image: yoga.isport.com
  • Got a nasty case of the cramps screaming at you to curl up into a ball?  Try a little yoga and body-intuition to ease the pain.  A position called Sukhasana or "Easy Pose" is great for opening up the channels to release spasms in your stressed lower abdomen.  It's as simple as sitting upright in a cross-legged position (maybe even put a few pillows evenly under your hips and allow the legs to angle toward the floor to open up the joint).  Close your eyes, breathe slowly and focus your breath into the painful area.  You can literally mentally take charge of your body's mechanics by sending a visual message to your circulatory system.  When you visualize blood flow cradling your reproductive system in warm, soothing healing white blood cells and nourishing red ones, your body will mind it's mentor and do exactly that.  Taking in fresh, clean air via deep breaths during your meditation will expand those blood cells with oxygen and give them more strength to do your bidding.  {Also, don't be afraid to tell your fitness instructor that you've got your monthly visitor.  He or she should be able to modify your exercises to reduce pain and enhance relief.  Note that yoga inversions (i.e. going upside down) are not suitable for this time of the month.}  
See HERE for more pain relief poses.

TIP: Try lying on your left side with moist heat applied to the right.  If pain persists after twenty minutes, try the other side.  Your flow is only coming from one ovary.  Once you can pinpoint which one it is by relief gained from setting that organ on top rather than squished beneath the other, you'll find the heat will reduce cramping at a greater rate and have you back in action in no time at all.  Plus, moist heat gains access to your system faster than a dry heating pad because we are aqueous and our bodies welcome moisture.

  • Finally, stick to your regimen!  Although exercising may be the last thing you want to do when you're in a world of hurt and mentally bogged down by PMS, movement increases blood flow and oxygen intake. Those two things in combination, as mentioned above, rush pain relief to the targeted area.  The plus is that you'll feel pretty darn great about having stuck to your guns and after the bloating subsides, you'll see that your body has continued to respond rewardingly.

DisclaimerEstoy, Je Suis and it's author(s) are not a professional medical resource and, as such, not liable for your personal health and safety.  If you have a medical condition that may be agitated by any step in this article (especially heart, thyroid, food allergy or musculoskeletal conditions/injuries), please consult your health professional as to whether this process is safe for you to conduct and/or how it may be modified to best suit your personal needs/ circumstances.


Janey said...

Thank you for part 3; will give it a go (back, hips & knees willing!).
Will DEFINITELY try the yoga for the Aunt Flo visit - my cramps sometimes drive me to distraction. x

Tanii said...

Thank you so much for the tips! I'll make sure to follow them and to do this exercises every dy :)

Annalise said...

Glad I could shed some light on your routine! You girls are amazing just for stopping by :)

Cheryl van den Berg said...

Is it bathing suit season already? I should start getting into a routine for sure.

Heather said...

I need a booty like that! Great tips :)


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