IT MAY be tempting, but crash dieting isn’t to be recommended. Any nutritionist worth their salt will tell you how, at best, it may give you the impression of quick weight loss but you’ll feel awful, put the weight back on quickly, mess with your metabolism and risk doing more serious damage. But there are some nutritional steps you can take as you ready yourself to look and feel your best once you hit the beach.
Firstly, have a clear-out of the system. Nutritionist Charlotte Fraser (www.naturopathic-nutrition.com) recommends using linseeds for what’s effectively like a home colonic (don’t worry, you don’t have to spend hours sitting on the karsy). Soak a dessert spoon of linseeds in a glass of water overnight, then swallow them in the morning before breakfast. “They gently cleanse the wall of the bowel, feed the good bacteria in the gut, provide omega oil and give you a good dose of fibre. It’s a good way of helping yourself keep clean and trim.”
City A.M.’s fitness expert Laura Williams (see her fitness tips, right) points out that an easy step to take is forgoing booze, while also cutting out the sneaky snacks that you may be able to get away with at other times of the year. “Snack on miso soup and goji berries, and keep calorific things – including alcohol – out of temptation’s way,” she says. “If you avoid hangovers you can be up with the lark for an extra workout.”
Dale Pinnock, chief nutritionist with vitamin producer Viridian, says that switching to some strong probiotics is a good way to cut out unwanted bloating. “You want a high-strength probiotic that contains several cultures that’ll start breaking down a lot of the gunk and gas that makes the stomach look distended.” Viridian’s 40+ Synbiotic capsules (£15.99 from www.healthstore.co.uk) do the trick.
Pinnock also recommends taking extra B Vitamins, which regulate the health of the skin as a whole organ, to help give your beach bod some extra healthy glow (and they have the added bonus of making you unattractive to those perennial holiday annoyances, mosquitoes). Meanwhile, if you’re flying long haul and are worried about spending the first two days looking shell-shocked from jet lag, Rhodiola rosea is a herbal remedy that can help. “It’s not a stimulant but it can make you feel a little more energised and alert, and take the edge off the jet lag burnout,” Pinnock says. Take it halfway through the flight or when you touch down.
LAURA WILLIAMS, TRAINER
ADOPT A MANTRA
Some favour gentler affirmations (“what the mind can conceive, the mind can achieve”) while others (myself included) opt for tougher stuff such as, “no pain, no gain is no myth”. Pin your chosen mantra to your alarm clock, the fridge, your gym bag...everywhere.
TAKE UP CIRCUIT TRAINING
This is what the majority of bootcamp exercise consists of. Set up your own circuit and intersperse 60 seconds of press- ups, tricep dips and multi-directional lunges with jogging on the spot, speedy shuttle runs and shadow boxing to boost your metabolism and blitz problem spots.
Make your exercise toughgoing and sweaty. The “afterburn” effect of exercise (when the fat-burning benefits continue long after you’ve finished working out) is greater when exercise intensity, or your heart rate, is over 75 per cent of your maximum heart rate, which you can calculatse by subtracting your age from 220.
CREATE YOUR OWN CORSET
Forget Spanx pants: learn how to give yourself an A-list figure in an instant. Breathe deeply and draw your tummy button back to your spine, then gently clench your buttock muscles. Perfect for making an entrance and in very little time you’ll notice the difference in your muscle tone.
PUMP YOUR MUSCLES
You won’t grow biceps overnight but putting yourself through a few quick moves means that blood is pumped to your muscles and to the surface of your skin, giving you a glowing, newly-sculpted look. Step-ups on a stair, a few minutes skipping or some easy box press-ups will all do the job.
WASTE NO OPPORTUNITIES
Work your bottom and thighs while you’re waiting for the kettle to boil – the wall slide will do as much for thighs and bum than any leg press. Stand with your back against a wall and your feet shoulder-width apart. Slowly slide down the wall into a squat position with back pushed firmly into the wall and hold for five seconds before sliding back up. Repeat three to five times, building up to a 30 second hold eventually.
PERFECT THOSE PINS
Do some calf raises on the escalator. Keeping one foot on the step, slowly lower the heel of the other foot towards the floor and then push back up again. Do 10 on each side. www.laurawilliamsonline.co.uk