8 Weeks to Your Perfect Beach-Ready Bikini Body

8 Weeks to Your Perfect Beach-Ready Bikini Body

Brrrr… it’s cold outside. Time to start thinking about sunny beach vacations to cheer yourself up!

It’s no wonder that January and February are the number one time to book a spring or summer break in the sun.

So, now’s the time to start thinking about getting into beach-ready shape. A great looking body is a healthy one, and to hit your aesthetic goals you need to put in the right action - right now!

Healthy living is a lifestyle. In other words, you need to be prepared to make lasting changes once you’re in shape. Getting there is not super-complicated. It’s mostly a matter of motivation, commitment, making the right choices and staying active.

This article is all about getting fantastic results over a relatively short time (but not so fast that it won’t last!).

This 8-week program won’t deliver miracles – if you’re seriously overweight or out of shape right now, it will probably take longer to reach your goals. But what you can expect is an overall positive change to your body shape, whether that’s slimming down or toning up into a bikini-ready bod.

You’ll discover how to form new habits and stick to them, what foods to eat and how to exercise in new and exciting ways.

You’ll shed pounds of fat, improve your metabolism and build new muscle. In other words, you’ll feel great and look amazing when vacation time comes around. So, without further ado, let's rock and roll!

Where Do I start? (Hint – it’s not exercise)

A delicious carb free meal with chicken, tomatoes, avocado and quinoa

 

The answer is - in the kitchen. It all starts with what you eat. Your number one goal is losing weight and shedding excess fat. That’s something you can only achieve by cutting calories. But if you just reduce calories and nothing else, you’ll also end up losing muscle - something you want to avoid at all costs.

For that reason, you need to change both the quantity and quality of the calories you consume. The best way is to eat slightly fewer calories than before, but seriously cut down on carbs.

Carbs Trigger Spikes

The reason to cut carbs is simple. Carbs, especially simple ones like refined sugar, spike your blood sugar levels. Your body reacts to the spike by producing insulin to bring things back down to a normal level. Unfortunately, the body usually overdoes it, resulting in a sudden blood sugar drop. Cue immediate food cravings. Maybe you recognise that feeling 45 minutes after eating too much chocolate cake? It feels like you haven't eaten for days and could eat a horse!

To make things worse still - sugar is highly addictive. Sweets and chocolate are even more addictive as they contain added chemicals and flavourings. That's why it’s so hard to say no to sweets and treats. So, for the sake of this diet and your beach-ready body, it’s recommended you cut them out completely for the entire eight weeks. That includes sugary soda too. Replace them with small portions of fruit or zero-sugar herbal sweets and plenty of water.

Next, you need to replace regular white bread with 100% whole wheat. Also, switch french fries and jacket potatoes with sweet potatoes. And that's it.  A good tip to fill you up is to indulge in as much salad as you like. Veggies are rich in fibre, and don't cause insulin spikes, so munching on cucumber or carrot sticks as a snack is fine. The fibre will make you feel full and release energy gradually.

Why Cut Carbs?

It is hard to get addicted to protein and fat - although tasty, you rarely binge eat roast beef or eggs. And even if you do crave them, they are rarely instantly available like sweets.

Also, proteins and fat are harder to digest, which is a good thing in this case. They’ll make you full faster and stay in the system for longer. This means you’ll get a steady energy supply instead of blood sugar highs and lows.

To replace fat with muscle, proteins are especially important. Proteins are the main building block of muscle. You trigger muscle growth through exercise, which damages the tissues. The body mends that damage protein synthesis, which makes muscles bigger and stronger.

It’s important to note that you need to be in a slight caloric deficit if you plan to lose weight, so don't suddenly start eating a dozen eggs for breakfast to try and build more muscle!

When you begin to restrict calories and you’re deprived of protein, your body will start breaking down your muscles to get the much-needed protein. Your body will also break down muscles if you don’t use them – even if you’re getting enough protein, which is why exercise is really important too.

So, if you’re looking to get a toned beach-body look, rather than just skinny, make sure you keep plenty of protein in your diet and exercise regularly. As a guide aim for one-gram of protein intake a day per pound of target body weight.

It’s Easier Than It Seems

Cutting down on carbs is difficult for the first couple of days as you may well feel energy-deprived. But our bodies are smart and adjust quickly. Soon you’ll feel back to normal. In fact, you’ll probably feel better and more energetic. After getting used to the new regime, you’ll no longer feel hungry, your energy levels will restore, and you’ll continue to lose weight.

The reward for cutting down on carbs will come when you step on the scales. Carbs are responsible for a lot of water-retention in our body, as well as fat production. When you cut the carbs, all the excess liquid is released, and fat isn’t produced as quickly, so you’ll lose a lot of weight during the first few weeks. But, bear in mind that our body stabilises eventually, so the weight loss won’t continue at the same rate, so don't get discouraged. You’ll still reach your goals if you stick with it.

Supplements

Supplements are there to aid your fitness journey, but they’re not magic pills. Think of it this way – they’ll turn a good diet into an excellent one. They’ll help to speed up your metabolism, encourage muscle growth and support recovery. Here are a few supplements you should consider taking while you follow this program:

Multivitamin | it’s hard to get the right amount of vitamins when you’re restricting calories, mainly because you should also limit fruit as a source of sugar. A well-balanced multivitamin formula will compensate for that.

Protein Powder | if you struggle to meet your daily recommended amount of protein from regular food, a quality protein powder is a necessity. Whey is the best choice, but if you are lactose intolerant or vegan, you might consider something different like pea protein or soy.

BCAAs | branched chain amino acids are not only reserved for hardcore bodybuilders. They’ll aid your recovery, helping you put in your best effort every time you walk into the gym.

Pre-workout | if the only time you can work out is in the morning but don't have the energy for it, a low carb, caffeine-based pre-workout might be a good idea as it will give you the needed kick. Just make sure to limit your caffeine intake only for the mornings, as it can mess up with your sleep.

The Exercise Program Explained

Fit woman doing tricep rope pulldown in gym

A Different Approach

To get that toned beach body look you need a workout plan that will boost fat burning while also triggering muscle growth.

As this is an 8-week program, not a super-quick fat-shedding one, we’ll opt for a slightly lower rep number spread across more sets, with slightly higher weights than you usually see in a summer trim-down workout.

The reason for this is that you’ll be in a caloric deficit if you follow the carb-cutting advice. Performing a workout with high reps and intensity might burn your muscles as well as fat. So instead of doing 15+ reps, expect to do between 4 and 10 reps over many sets.

This should help you to shed fat but keep and tone muscle. Don't get discouraged if you don’t see much muscle tone to begin with, your body will take time to adjust.

Total-body Method

In this workout program, we’ll opt for a total body routine instead of split training. As mentioned earlier, we’re going to do fewer reps at a higher weight, but we still want to burn calories. How do we do that? Through compound movement.

Doing exercises with moderately heavy weights such as squats, swings, presses, and deadlifts requires a lot from our bodies, at the same time. All these movements are multi-joint, or compound, involving different muscle groups in one motion.

Take the deadlift for example - you hinge at your hips, break at your knees. To do that, so many muscle groups activate - your glutes, hamstrings, quadriceps, spinal erectors, lats, abs, hip muscles. Basically, your whole body and pretty much every muscle group.

Movements this complex activate a significant percentage of our muscles at once, which burns an enormous amount of energy during the workout. That's why you stay out of breath even after a short set of deadlifts or squats. But the best part comes later - movements like these strain and damage muscles all over the body. To repair the damage, the body uses even more energy, building muscles, and most importantly - burning fat.

A note of caution. Because compound movements take so much toll on the body, you’ll need more time to recover. Only attempt a maximum of 3 or 4 weight workouts per week - no more. That's great for saving time, but in our case, it’s not ideal because we want fast results. So, to optimise this workout, we need to include one more thing…

Giant sets and supersets

So far, we’ve established three workout principles:

  •     We’ll weight train 3-4x per week
  •     We’ll perform total body workouts
  •     We’ll perform fewer reps, more sets and use slightly heavier weights than normal

Sounds good. But to supercharge the workout and get even better results in a short time we need a slight tweak. We have most of the ingredients for a successful weight loss and tone-up program (apart from the actual exercises which we’ll discuss in a moment). The only thing missing is – recovery time. Altering this can change the whole workout so much, making it much more challenging, effective and, believe it or not, interesting.

Here’s how we’re going to supercharge our workout:

Supersets - A superset consist of two or three different exercises. You do the first set of the first exercise. Then, without pausing, you do the first set of the second exercises (and the first set of the third). Then you rest.

Giant Sets - These are similar to supersets, but instead of working just two or three exercises in sequence, the whole workout is one giant superset. So, you do exercise one, move straight to exercise two, then straight to three, until you finish the first set of every exercise without resting in between. You rest only after completing the first set of every exercise. Then you repeat the whole circuit in set two and so on until you finish the prescribed number of sets. You’re probably tired just reading about giant sets, but they’re a proven way to burn fat quickly, so they’re an essential part of this workout.

The 8-week Workout Routine

Fit woman doing barbell squat in gym

 

- So, as we’ve already mentioned, this workout will be full-body, and you’ll perform it either three or four times per week depending on the phase of the program.

- The workout lasts 8 weeks and has 4 two-week phases.

- Workouts days are marked with A, B, C, D.

- If the week has 3 workouts, you do them with one rest day in between.

- If the week has 4 workouts, do A and B two days in a row, then rest one day. Then do C and D two days in a row - for example:

  • Monday - A
  • Tuesday - B
  • Wednesday - Rest
  • Thursday - C
  • Friday - D
  • Take the weekend off

- If you see 1A followed by 1B, that's a superset, you perform them in succession, without resting in between.

- If you see the letter G, it’s a Giant Set. E.g. G1, G2, G3 - complete the first set of the whole workout without resting in between exercises. Then rest before completing the next set of each exercise.

- For one-handed exercises make sure you switch hands. For supersets and giant sets - perform one side of the body first, then change hands. So left-handed curl, to left-handed press etc. and then without resting switch hands and repeat everything. Rest only after completing the set with both hands.

- As for the amount of weight you should use, that depends on your fitness level. You should use the heaviest amount of weight that allows you to perform the prescribed number of sets and reps with perfect form. It should be challenging, and you should really feel it the last couple of reps in the set. Because the number of sets and reps will increase, you will most likely use the same amount of weight by the end of the workout as you used in Phase 1.

- You should do 45 minutes of moderate intensity cardio 2x per week, on days when you don't have weight workouts. Pick something low intensity such as stationary bike or elliptical.

PHASE 1 | Week 1 and Week 2

Workout A

Movement

#Sets

# Reps

Rest sec

G1 One Arm Kneeling Supported Kettlebell Row

4

4

180

G2 One Arm Kettlebell Bench Press

G3 Kettlebell Goblet Squat

G4 Kettlebell Swing

G5 Standing one leg calf raise with kettlebell

G6 Kettlebell snatch

 

Workout B

Movement

# Sets

# Reps

Rest sec

1A Dumbbell reverse lunge

4

8

90

1B Dumbbell single leg Romanian deadlift

2A (assisted) chinups

4

AMAP

90

2B (kneeling) pushups

3A Plank

4

30 seconds

0

3B Side plank

15 seconds each side

Workout C

Movement

# Sets

# Reps

Rest sec

1 Kettlebell swing

4

8

90

2 Barbell deadlift

4

8

90

3A Wide grip lat pulldown

4

4

90

3B Dumbbell shoulder press

4 Hip

4

8

60

5 Standing calf raise

4

8

60

 

PHASE 2 | Week 3 and Week 4

Workout A

Movement

# Sets

# Reps

Rest sec

1 Barbell Back Squat

5

5

120

2 Barbell Romanian deadlift

5

5

120

3A Ez bar curl

4

8

90

3B Ez bar french extension

4A Lateral raise

4

10

90

4B Rear lateral raise

 

Workout B

Movement

# Sets

# Reps

Rest sec

1A Dumbbell row

5

5

90

1B Dumbbell bench press

2A Lat Pulldown

4

8

90

2B Dumbbell shoulder press

3A Plank

5

30 seconds

0

3B Side plank

15 sec each side

Workout C

Movement

# Sets

# Reps

Rest sec

1 Dumbbell Romanian deadlift

5

5

120

2 Bulgarian split squat

5

5

120

3A Triceps cable

pulldown

4

8

90

3B Cable biceps curl

4 Hip raises

4

10

45

5 Standing calf raise

4

10

45

Workout D

Movement

# Sets

# Reps

Rest sec

1A Incline Dumbbell bench press

5

5

90

1B Dumbbell bent-over row

2 (assisted) Chinups

5

AMAP

90

3 Dumbbell shoulder press

5

5

90

4A Lateral raise

3

10

90

4B Rear lateral raise

 

PHASE 3 | Week 5 and Week 6

Workout A

Movement

# Sets

# Reps

Rest sec

G1 One Arm Kneeling Supported Kettlebell Row

6

6

120

G2 One Arm Kettlebell Bench Press

G3 Kettlebell Goblet Squat

G4 Kettlebell Swing

G5 Standing one leg calf raise with kettlebell

G6 Kettlebell snatch

Workout B

Movement

# sets

#reps

Rest sec

1A Dumbbell reverse lunge

4

10

90

1B Dumbbell single leg Romanian deadlift

2A (assisted) chinups

5

AMAP

90

2B (kneeling) pushups

3A Plank

5

30 seconds

0

3B Side plank

15 seconds each side

Workout C

Movement

# Sets

# Reps

Rest sec

1 Kettlebell swing

6

6

120

2 Barbell deadlift

6

6

120

3A Wide grip lat pulldown

6

6

120

3B Dumbbell shoulder press

4 Weighted hip raise

6

6

120

5 Standing Barbell  calf raise

6

6

120

 

PHASE 4 | Week 7 and Week 8

Workout A

Movement

# Sets

# Reps

Rest sec

1 Barbell Back Squat

7

7

180

2 Barbell Romanian deadlift

7

7

180

3A Ez bar curl

7

7

120

3B Ez bar french extension

4A Lateral raise

7

7

90

4B Rear lateral raise

Workout B

Movement

# Sets

# Reps

Rest sec

1A Incline Dumbbell bench press

5

5

90

1B Dumbbell bent-over row

2 (assisted) Chinups

5

AMAP

90

3 Dumbbell shoulder press

5

5

90

4A Plank

5

45 sec

0

4B Side Plank

5

20 sec per side

Workout C

Movement

# Sets

# Reps

Rest sec

1 Dumbbell Romanian deadlift

7

7

180

2 Bulgarian split squat

7

7

180

3A Triceps cable

pulldown

7

7

120

3B Cable biceps curl

4 Weighted Hip raises

7

7

120

5 Standing calf raise

7

7

45

Workout D

Movement

# Sets

# Reps

Rest sec

1A Dumbbell row

7

7

120

1B Dumbbell bench press

2A Lat Pulldown

7

7

120

2B Dumbbell shoulder press

3A Plank

7

45 seconds

0

3B Side plank

20 sec each side

 

Conclusion

The key to success is motivation and having the desire and willpower. It won’t be easy, but it is only eight weeks. They’ll fly by sooner than it seems now. If you stay diligent, both with your workouts and diet, you’ll see the results, no doubt about that.

Please don’t get overwhelmed by the amount of information in this program. If you want a simpler version – try this: cut down on carbs (especially refined sugar) and repeat the exercises for Week 1 (A,B and C) for the entire 8-weeks. This will be sufficient to get you good results.

Yes, fitness is straightforward, but sometimes it feels like the results are so hard to achieve. That is because taking the right steps is not hard by itself. But making the right choices every single day is challenging. Temptation and cravings are everywhere, making it easy to slip-up and quit.

But if you stay on the right track, you’ll be rewarded with not only a great looking body, but also a newfound belief that you can accomplish anything you put your mind on to. Good luck, and stay persistent. Your perfect beach-ready bikini body is just 8 weeks away!

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