8 Steps to a Beach Body

Have you stepped on the scale recently only to be surprised by the weighty “gift” winter left behind? Whether it’s 5, 10 or 15 pounds that’s been added, it’s time to shed the extra weight hidden under chunky sweaters. Use the next four to six weeks to whip your body into shape through good diet and exercise habits.

1. Pump It Up
To get a toned body add strength training at least twice per week to your workouts. Bobbie Arnel, a Long Island-based ACE-certified personal trainer said the best way to get rid of fat is to build it into muscle through strength training.

2. Walk Harder
Nothing makes it easier to find fitness motivation like taking advantage of sandy shores. Walking on unstable surfaces helps strengthen muscle fibers, ligaments and tendons that surround the joints, reducing the chance of injury while keeping pace with workouts, explained Jimmy Minardi, a fitness trainer who runs Minardi Beach Workout on Main Beach in East Hampton. Grab a windbreaker and hit the coast, which is usually free before Memorial Day.

3. Cross Train
To best hit all the muscles for an all-over tone body, try cross training. Mixing cardio, like bike riding, swimming, tennis and jogging with yoga, Pilates or weight lifting targets multiple areas of the body. “You’re less likely to get bored and more likely to stick with it,” said Minardi.

4. Condition The Core
Focus on building core strength to shed weight around the midsection. One of the best ways is with a simple plank position. Start by holding the plank for 15 seconds, then build up until you can manage between three and five minutes.

5. Stretch Your Body
Whether it’s a yoga practice or doing simple stretches first thing in the morning, stretching might seem simple, but it’s a great way to tone the body. Stretching also promotes flexibility and can help prevent injury. “By starting a stretching routine now, you will be able to take advantage of flexibility to a greater degree in the summer months due to the increases in temperature,” said Dr. Scott Weiss, a New York City-based board-certified athletic trainer and a registered exercise physiologist.

6. Get A Bikini Booty
Women want to be able to show off their best assets on the beach, making toning the buttocks a must in May. Shay Kostabi, a bi-coastal fitness instructor who teaches Flybarre in the Hamptons for Flywheel Sports, suggests 4 sets of 30 reps of the squat kick back: lower into a squat with knees over the ankles and abs engaged. “Upon returning to standing, kick your right foot back and engage your right cheek. Repeat on the left,” she said.

7. Summer Six Pack
Kostabi recommends 4 sets of 15 reps of Spider-Man pushups for men who want defined abs. It starts with the standard pushup position, keeping the belly tight. As the body lowers towards the floor, lift the right foot up and away as you attempt to touch your right elbow with the right knee. Return and repeat with the other leg.

8. Eat Better
A big part of losing weight is burning fat calories. Replace mid-morning snacks with natural fat burners like hot water with lemon or green tea. Losing weight is all about portion control. During the first week, reduce the size of three daily meals. In week two, replace foods that are fried, oily or cooked in butter with those that are steamed or baked. During weeks three and four incorporate more fruits and whole grains.