Get beach body ready

Follow our 10-step natural health plan and you’ll soon be beach-body ready!

1 – Fill the fridge with healthy food

If you want to shed a few pounds in preparation for the summer, it’s a good idea to clean out the kitchen cupboards and dispose of any junk food. “Fill your house with only fresh, natural ingredients,” advises Danielle Collins, a qualified nutritionist and founder of the Danielle Collins Face Yoga Method (www.faceyogaexpert.com). “When you are out for lunch, visiting friends, or having a nice dinner, allow yourself that piece of chocolate cake or chip on the side. Most of our overeating, stress-related snacking and boredom-related food choices happen at home, so by simply eliminating these foods from our fridge, we will find we eat much healthier.”

2 – Kickstart your metabolism

“One of the best ways to get beach-body ready is to do something that is going to kick start or boost your metabolism,” says nutritionist Rick Hay (www.rickhay.co.uk). “This could be as simple as having a little grapefruit or lemon juice in water to start the day – great for the liver and gall bladder. Another thing is to do is to include more bitter foods in your diet like rocket to help with liver function.”

3 – Try something new

“Experimenting with fitness makes it fun and exciting so get out there and try something new that challenges your body in a different way,” says Sam Eastwood, a fitness expert and founder of the Get Set Body Program (www.sameastwood.com). “If you’re a runner, try working some Pilates moves into each day to help tighten and tone the body. Likewise, if you love yoga, why not start a 5k training program that will help burn fat and keep you energised? The variety will give you noticeable results quicker.”

4 – Have an eggy breakfast!

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, as the saying goes, and eggs are a good choice if you are hoping to lose weight. Dr Marilyn Glenville, nutritionist and author of Natural Alternatives to Sugar explains: “Research has shown that leucine, one of the essential amino acids found in eggs, can help with weight loss by stabilising blood sugar levels and encouraging the body to shed fat.”

5 – Do some strength training

“Adding weights to your workout is a great way to increase lean muscle mass and overall strength,” says Sam Eastwood. “It also gives your metabolism a major boost by increasing the metabolic rate, allowing the body to burn more calories throughout the day. Aim to strength train two to three times per week – using hand held weights with lunges, lifts and squats.”

6 – Increase your protein intake

“Protein-rich foods help to slow the digestion and absorption of sugars and starches in our foods, helping to prevent further cravings for sweet or starchy foods,” explains nutritionist Cassandra Barns. “Having a high-protein snack between lunch and dinner will keep up your metabolic rate and keep your blood-sugar levels balanced. A snack such as an oatcake with nut butter, or a handful of seeds, helps to stop us overeating at the next meal, or reaching for something sugary to boost our energy.”

7 – HIIT is your friend

“HIIT (high intensity interval training) workouts are a great fat burner and a brilliant way to see rapid results if you’re on holiday countdown,” says Sam Eastwood. “For optimum results try working some short HIIT sessions into your day. Side lunges, jumping squats, dancing planks – there’s tons of effective moves to challenge your body and as little as five minutes can be effective. Basically if there’s an opportunity to move – go for it!”

8 – Beat the bloat

No matter how much exercise and healthy eating you do, you’ll want to avoid bloating if you are hitting the beach this summer. “Bloating can occur for many reasons,” says Alexis Poole, Spoon Guru Nutrition Manager Registered Associate Nutritionist. “Try spreading your food intake throughout the day and avoid excessively large meals to keep bloating under control. Try to avoid foods which are known to contribute to excess gas production, for example high fibre summer foods such as beans, lentils and chickpeas.” Probiotics can help with bloating, by restoring the balance of beneficial bacteria in the gut. However, they may also help with weight control too. “We know that probiotics can help reduce weight especially when it sits around the middle of the body,” says Dr Marilyn Glenville. “They also improve detoxification by aiding digestion, as the beneficial bacteria stop food sitting in your gut and producing toxins when it putrefies. Don’t go for the probiotic drinks, as they can be loaded with sugar. Probiotics are better taken as a supplement, especially if you have had a course of antibiotics.”

9 – Spice up your summer

“Eating spicy foods may increase the body’s temperature by as much as 20 per cent,” explains author, nutritionist and fat loss mentor Fiona Kirk (www.fionakirk.com). “This means that more calories are burned after a meal. We also feel full more quickly whilst consuming them so we eat less. Cayenne, turmeric, coriander, cinnamon, ginger and black pepper are all earning their stripes when it comes to giving our metabolism a bit of a boost and reducing the threat of insulin ‘spikes’ which see us reaching for sugary foods. Try drinking a mug of hot water, lemon juice and grated fresh ginger first thing in the morning. You could also top your porridge with cinnamon, drink spiced teas or snack on spiced nuts and seeds.”

10 – Give yourself a natural glow

“Stripping off after a winter of wearing layers of denim and wool can be daunting,” says Ian Taylor, Green People’s cosmetic scientist (www.greenpeople.co.uk). “Give your tan a head start with a certified organic self-tan lotion that uses natural DHA from sugar cane to stimulate your skin’s melanin production, for a gorgeously even, natural-looking tan. When you are out in the sun, choose natural and organic sun lotions that offer broad-spectrum UVA and UVB protection in a high or medium factor. After a day at the beach your skin can become dehydrated. A hydrating after sun makes a light, moisturising lotion to prolong your tan. Try one with cooling mint for instant relief from too much sun.”

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