Don’t Dread the Swimsuit

When swimsuit season is approaching, many of us begin to notice the extra pounds we’ve packed on over the winter months. If you’ve let a few extra pounds slip on, toning exercises can help you trim up.

You don’t need a lot of expensive equipment to do the job. Just your own weight and a few supplies will suffice.


There’s no need to get fancy. Tried-and-true pushups and squats can help tone your arms, chest, glutes and thighs. With each of these exercises, form is important to hit the intended muscles. For a push-up, start with your arms a little wider than shoulder width apart. Keep your back and legs straight as you raise and lower your body, lowering almost until your chest touches the ground, and avoid locking your elbows when you push back up. For a perfect squat, keep your feet hip-width apart, with your knees over your ankles, and sit in an invisible chair. Squeeze your abs to avoid arching your back. Add dumbbells to increase the intensity. WebMD recommends aiming for three sets of 8-12 repetitions.


Using a pair of dumbbells can add intensity to your workouts. Toning Timesaver: Deadlifts target the back, butt, and legs. Here’s how to execute a deadlift, according to Web MD. Stand with your legs slightly wider than shoulder-width. Lift the weights, keeping them close to your body. Raise your shoulders and hips together, and avoid arching your back. Do one set of 8-12 reps.


If you’re looking for flat abs, look to pilates. Pilates focuses on strengthening your core muscles and toning your hips and buttocks. Attend a class or use a video to get started.


If you’ve set a goal to drop a few pounds by swimsuit season, consider a low-carbohydrate diet. Even a few small changes can help you shed pounds. You might consider giving up beer, which can cause bloating, or limiting your salt intake. Look for ways to add protein to your diet, such as grilled fish and chicken. Beware protein bars and drinks, which can contain large amounts of carbohydrates.