Summer Body Countdown

Summer’s almost here! Ifyou want to enjoy it to themax and bare your bodywith confidence, it pays toput some prep in now Here are the products,expert advice and movesyou need to ensure you’reready to let the sunshine.

After two seasons hiddenbeneath layers of clothing, your body canuse some help gettingready for the sunnyweather ahead. Thissummer’s must-have floral prints won’tbloom if the backdrop is lacklustre skinand the new season’s bold make-upcolours will fail to shine against a wintrypallor. But it’s more than skin-deep;transitioning smoothly from wintryworkout wear that’s concealed less-than-taut tummies and dimply thighs tobody-skimming vests and shorts cantake a little effort. Even breaking out ofthe cocoon of hi-tops to embrace low-profile trainers needs careful planning, ifyou want to look as good as you feel inthem. Luckily, there’s time to try out theproducts and heed the wise words ofthe body-prep experts we’ve gathered.Put in the groundwork and, come July,when temperatures soar, you’ll be readyto embrace summer in all its glory.

SMOOTHLY DOES IT

As leggings give way to capris andshorts, you’ll want to ensure your pinsare hairless and smooth. The good news is,if you start now, you can be hair-free,permanently. Invest in a course of intensepulsed-light (IPL) hair removal or, betterstill, buy your own system to use at home.The Panasonic ES-WH90 IPL (£350;panasonic.com ) is cordless, compact andlightweight, yet boasts enough power toenable you to achieve salon-quality resultsat home. It doesn’t just zap your unwantedhair (though it does that very well), it alsosmoothes and brightens your skin. Useonce every three days for two months andyou should have hair-free pins (and arms,face and bikini line) by holiday time.

Summer Body Countdown Photo Gallery



FIND YOUR FEET

After months tucked away in winter-weight trainers and snow boots, yourfeet may need some TLC before theyemerge into the sunlight, ready to beslipped into pretty sandals and lighterfootwear. Overhaul workout-weary feet witha good sandpaper-covered foot file,recommends Mike O’Neill, consultantpodiatrist and spokesperson for theCollege of Podiatry (scpod.org). Avoidpumice stones which trap dead skin in theholes) and use it to gently rub down areasof dry skin, paying attention to your heels.‘Next, apply a foot cream with a mild acid,such as Flexitol Heel Balm (£4.99; boots.com) which contains 25 per cent urea toexfoliate and hydrate dry, cracked skin.’Finish by clipping your nails straightacross, shaping with a diamond deb file(£3.60; podiacare.co.uk) and, if they’restained from old polish, buffing the toplayer with a granulated foot scrub.Starskin’s Magic Hour Exfoliating DoubleLayer Foot Mask socks exfoliate andnourish with a combination of 35 botanicalingredients and lactic acid (£8.50, House ofFraser and Asos).Voila! Feet ready for3D-textured sandals.

Summer Body Countdown

SUPERCHARGE YOUR SKIN

After months blasted by cold weatherand centrally heated air, your face will bedehydrated and lacklustre, so switch toskincare products that lock in moisture.‘Look out for ingredients such ashyaluronic acid that can instantly rehydrateand refortify your skin, as well as thingssuch as shea butter and vitamin C whichhelp enhance the skin’s elasticity andrestore firmness,’ says dermatologistDr Howard Murad, founder of MuradSkincare (murad.co.uk).We love his Hydro Dynamic UltimateMoisture (£55), which contains hyaluronicacid for intense hydration and shea butterto restore suppleness and support theskin’s natural protective barriers.And with 80 per cent sodium hyaluronate,Pestle & Mortar’s Pure Hyaluronic Serum(£36; pestleandmortarcosmetics.com) isone of the most hydrating products around.

SCULPT YOUR CORE

On hot days, when you want to popon a crop top or bikini, you’ll want tolook your best when bearing your midriff.This is where the Mini Kamagon Ball(£62.67; physical company.co.uk) comesin. This clever core stability product useswater to create an unstable resistancethat will ramp up your core strength andstability during exercise and help createa taut tummy. Choose how hard youwant to work by filling up the nine inchball with water (to a maximum of 5kg) thengrab the handles and get lifting. Whenused in place of static weights (dumbbellsor kettle bells), Kamagon Balls recruit moremuscle fibres as your body battles tocompensate for the shifting load. And,unlike conventional weights, it won’tdamage the floor when dropped.

Summer Body Countdown

SOFTEN UP

lough away dead skin cells toreveal fresh, summer-ready skin withthese scrubs.

Malki Dead Sea Body Scrub (£7.79 for300ml; boots.com)Enriched with soothing frankincense oil,this purifying scrub nourishes your skinwith the Dead Sea’s unique concentrationof minerals, removing dead skin cellswithout the use of microbeads.

Kneipp Skin Firming Grapeseed OilBody Scrub (£7.95; graftonsbeauty.co.uk)This sweet-smelling scrub contains thejojoba wax grain to help promotecirculation and prepare the skin for there generation process. Massage into wetskin using circular motions and rinse off,alternating between cold and warm waterfor the authentic Kneipp experience.

Make your own!‘Improve texture and tone by using a bodyscrub – I recommend this recipe to createyour own,’ says Dr Howard Murad.Combine sugar, safflower oil and coarselyground coffee to create a blend that willsoften skin, stimulate blood flow, removetoxins and clean pores, then gently massage it into your skin from feet to neck.

BOX CLEVER

Boxing is a superb workout for body and mind but ifyou’ve failed to find a class that suits you or are put offby the idea of actually hitting someone or something, listenup. The BoxxMethod (theboxxmethod.com) offers an onlineworkout that delivers all the benefits of boxing (improvedstrength, stamina, speed and coordination, plus fat-burningand muscle-toning) but none of the snags – no bags, padsor ring. Just you, a pair of hand weights and an expertinstructor in 15- or 30-minute workouts carefully designed toget you into knockout shape. Each three-minute roundrequires minimal equipment but delivers maximum resultsand the online library – filled with downloadable videos,guides and planners – ensures you won’t be bored. From£7.99 a month. Start now and you’ll be able to cram in 24three-times-a-week workouts before summer starts.

Summer Body Countdown

BANISH BUMPS

Few things are more dispiriting than peeling off your leggings after a workout to be confronted by dimpled skin. While exercise helps, cellulite is difficult to budge. We’ve found three products that will help force stubborn fat cells to shift.

Purity de-tox body massage oil, £7.75 for100ml; aqua-oleum.co.ukThis gorgeous natural oilcombines grapefruit andgeranium, in a highlyactive invigorating andpurifying blend designedto help combat cellulite.Toning and stimulating, ithelps eliminate toxins.

Summer Body Countdown

Indemne Anti-Cellulite Kit,£50.56; indemne.fr/enThe Gimme Smooth SlimmingLotion and Big Bubble-insuction cup work to reducecellulite’s orange-peel effect.Apply the lotion liberally overprone areas such as thighsand buttocks, before using thecup, to improve circulation andencourage lymphatic drainage.

Summer Body Countdown

Summer Body Countdown

Manuka DoctorApiBronze Anti-CelluliteBronzing Gel, £24.99;Manukadoctor.co.ukWhile the purified bee venomand Manuka honey in thisbronzing gel help improve skinelasticity and the appearanceof cellulite, the tinted crèmedelivers a natural goldentan in just one hour.

Summer Body Countdown

ARMS OUT

Showing off your new sleeveless shirtor run vest to its best advantagerequires svelte arms. Regular body-buffingand exfoliating will get you only so far.What you need is to hone the underlyingmuscles to create long, lean arms bycombing the elongating effects of balletwith the toning effects of boxing. CelebrityPilates trainer and founder of digital fitnessprogramme Get Set Body (sameastwoodcom) Sam Eastwood, recosmmends thiskey move. ‘Stand with your feet hipdistance apart, bend your knees and hingeforwards from your waist, keeping a neutralspine. Raise your fists, engage your absand, keeping your elbows up, box forwardwith your right hand. Bring your handsback to the centre and switch sides. Aimfor 20 reps in total.’

Summer Body Countdown

OPEN UP

‘Wide-legged forward fold variation –or Prasarita Padottonasana, to give itits Sanskrit name – is the perfect yoga poseto get you ready for summer as it invitesvitality, clarity and ease to the body andmind,’ explains yoga teacher Kate Beatty(katebyoga.co.uk). ‘Find a space on the floorand step your feet parallel and wide apart.Stretch out your arms at shoulder height,making sure your ankles are under yourwrists. Point your big toes forwards andground down through your feet. Engage yourquadriceps, pull up your kneecaps and bringyour hands to your hips. Inhale, lengthenyour front body from your hip bones to yourskull and fold fowards, keeping the length inyour front body. If you can’t reach your handsto the earth, use a block or stack of books.Take five breaths. Put your left hand on theearth or block underneath your heart centreand reach your right handup to the sky, aimingto stack your wrists.Repeat on theright, rememberto relax yourface andconsciouslybreathe.’

SPICE UP YOUR LIFE

Want to radiate health thissummer? Try some turmeric.‘This naturally cleansing spice will help yourskin glow, your eyes become bright, yourenergy levels soar and will also helpdiminish winter bloat,’ says nutritionistRose Chamber from New You Boot Camp(newyoubootcamp.com). ‘It’s a highlyeffective anti-oxidant and the therapybenefits are wonderful. Chamberrecommends including powdered turmericin your cooking or drinking it with a littlewater in the morning to cleanse your entiresystem, especially your liver.

Summer Body Countdown

SNACK HAPPY

We appreciate that few pre-holidaydiets encourage you to indulgeyour sweet tooth but even when thebeach beckons, it can be hard to turndown dessert. Happily, you can now nibbleon a chocolate brownie without feelingguilty. As long as it’s the new CocoaBrownie Paleo Protein Bar from ThePrimal Pantry (£29.90 for 15 bars,primalpantry.com), that is. Each delicious55g bar is packed with 10g of non-dairyhemp protein (vegans, rejoice!) as well asomega fatty acids and complex carbs.

SUPPLEMENT YOUR TAN

If you love being active outdoorsbut worry about the effects of the sunyour skin, you can prime your skin toprotect itself. How? By taking asupplement, of course. Perfectil PlusProtan (£34.95 for 60 tablets; vitabioticscom) contains all the skin, hair andnail-boosting benefits of the originalformula, plus a copper-biotin nutrientblend that helps to build the skin’sown natural protection over time byincreasing melatonin.

TREAT YOUR TRESSES

‘Many women process and heatstyle their hair more in winter andthis can leave strands dry and brittle,’ saysAnabel Kingsley, trichologist at PhilipKingsley Trichological Clinic (philipkingsley.co.uk). ‘To prepare your hair for summer, it’simportant to restore lost moisture andelasticity – especially as UV-ray exposure, aswell as salt and chlorinated water, can dofurther damage.’ Kingsley suggests using aweekly pre-shampoo conditioning treatment,such as multi-award winning PhilipKingsley Elasticizer (£19.50 for 150ml;philipkingsley.co.uk), now available in asummer-scented coconut breeze edition.‘Apply it to damp hair in sections, cover witha shower cap, and leave on for a minimum of20 minutes or go to sleep with it in. Thensimply shampoo and condition as usual.’As for your scalp, the winter monthscommonly increase flaking and itching. Ifyou find this is the case, Kingsleyrecommends shampooing your hair dailywith an anti-microbial shampoo, thenfollowing with a soothing scalp toner.‘Scalp health is vital to hair health so it’sessential to tackle issues quickly,’ he says.

Summer Body Countdown

Summer Body Countdown

TONE YOUR TUSH

Whether you’ll be working out in figure-hugging capris or working the latestskewed skirt hemlines this summer, yourbottom will benefit from being shapely.‘Targeting the bum during your workoutsis a fantastic way to add curves andshape to your body,’ says MotivatePT’sCEO Harkirat Mahal (motivatept.co.uk)who recommends a simple routine ofexercises that target this area. ‘Performthree sets of 10 squats, followed by 10bridges daily, and you’ll tone up yourderriere in a matter of weeks.’

Squat: Stand tall with your feetshoulder-width apart. Lower yourselfdown, leading with your buttocks as ifyou’re trying to sit on a low chair. Keepyour chest up and yourgaze straight ahead –don’t collapse your chestor lean too far forwards– and aim to get yourthighs parallel to thefloor. Complete threesets of 10 repetitions– just enough time forthe kettle to boil!

The Bridge: Start by lying supine onthe ground. Bring your heels in to yourbum, so that your knees are pointingupwards. Raise your hips towards theceiling and create a straight line fromyour shoulders to your knees. Squeezeyour buttocks tightly at the top andhold for three seconds, before slowlylowering down. Complete three sets of10 repetitions.

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