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The Ultimate Guide to Getting Beach Fit

The summer holidays are here…eek! Are you ready to don your swimsuit and pose on the beach? No? Time to get your butt into gear…

Step One: Get moving!

While you don’t need to know the physiology behind it, what you do need to know is that cardiovascular exercise raises your heart rate and gets your blood pumping while weight training is good for building muscle, burning fat and reducing the risk of osteoporosis. Alternative exercises, like yoga and pilates, are great to stretch and tone your body, and have a positive effect on the mind, too. Try these training tips:

  • To shed extra kilos, aim for at least three thirty minute cardio sessions a week.
  • Choose a cardio activity that you enjoy – dancercise classes, running, walking, swimming, horse riding or cycling…there is something for everyone.
  • Weight training isn’t without its hazards, so secure the services of a good personal trainer until you know what you’re doing. If you’re training without a trainer, get a friend to spot for you (this means they should be ready to catch the weight should you drop it, to prevent injury)
  • Always get your doctor to give you the once over before you embark on any exercise programme.

Step Two: Eat Right

Exercise means nothing, if you’re not eating correctly. If you’ve been indulging in too many comfort foods, it’s time to get a grip. Here’s how:

  • Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Wholegrain cereals with low fat milk, or a couple of slices of wholewheat toast are good choices. If you’re pressed for time in the mornings, drink a smoothie.
  • Pack yourself a healthy lunch – a salad or wholewheat roll, plus some fruit or yoghurt for mid-morning and mid-afternoon snacks.
  • At dinnertime, opt for low fat proteins (chicken or fish), wholegrain rices and pastas and salad.
  • Go easy on the alcohol and soda drinks. Drink plenty of water to ditch the bloat and rehydrate your body.

Step Three: Get an All-Over Glow

Winters spent indoors with artificial heating can leave our skin feeling dry and looking dull. Restore your skin’s glow by treating yourself to an invigorating body scrub at a health spa. Or do-it-yourself, by making your own body scrub:

  • You will need: 1 cup brown sugar, ¼ to ½ cup olive oil, ½ teaspoon essential oil (grapeseed, grapefruit, wheatgerm and sandalwood are good choices).
  • Mix the sugar and olive oil in a bowl, adding just enough oil to moisten the sugar and turn it into a moisturising scrub.
  • Add the essential oils.
  • Apply the scrub in upward, circular motions, paying attention to the rough areas of your body – hands, feet, elbows and those areas damaged by shaving.
  • Rinse off and follow with a good moisturiser.

Step Four: Face It

The delicate skin on our faces needs extra-special attention. Spa facial treatments are designed to tone and nourish the skin, leaving you looking fresher, healthier and more youthful. After a complete skin care analysis, your beauty therapist will suggest the right treatment for you, and ways in which you can maintain the glow after you leave the spa. Money well spent! But if you’re pressed for cash, you can do your own facial at home. Here’s how…

  • Cleanse your face thoroughly, then drape a towel over your head and lean over a bowl of steaming water to increase blood circulation.
  • Make this easy, restorative mask: mash ½ an avocado, and add a teaspoon of honey
  • Apply your homemade mask over the face, taking care to avoid the eye area. • Leave on for 10-15 minutes, then rinse.
  • Lastly, tone and moisturise.

Step Five: Soothe your Soles

Our feet have been snugly wrapped up in boots but now it’s time to show them off in a pair of sexy summer sandals. Getting a pedicure in a salon will give you perfect twinkly toes, but you can give yourself a decent home pedicure

  • Fill a clean, wide bowl with warm water
  • For extra comfort while you’re soaking your feet, you can fold a towel and place it at the bottom of the bowl
  • Throw in half a cup of Epsom salts and a few drops of essential oils
  • Remove old nail polish and clip nails straight across. Use an emory board to smooth the edges.
  • Soak feet for five minutes and use a scrubbing brush to thoroughly clean nails
  • Use a foot file to smooth heals, toes and the balls of your feet
  • Pat feet dry and then push cuticles back with a cuticle stick
  • Use an exfoliating scrub to slough off dead skin and rinse
  • Pat dry and apply a moisturising lotion for feet, and let it soak in
  • Apply base coat, two coats of colour and a top coat.

Step Six: Get Your Polish On

Our hands take a battering during the cold, dry months of winter and while nothing can beat a good manicure by a professional, you can treat your hands and fingernails at home…

  • First, remove old polish and soaks hands in warm water with a few drops of essential oils
  • Use a scrubbing brush to thoroughly clean nails
  • Pat hands dry and use a cuticle stick to gently push back your cuticles
  • Massage cuticle oil into the cuticles – this will help soften them and prevent breakage. Wipe off excess oil
  • Apply a base coat, two coats of polish and a top coat
  • When polish is dry, use a moisturising cream for hands.
  • Hot nail polish colours for summer include bright and pale pinks, light greens, baby blues and taupe.

Step Seven: Get Beach Hair

Classic beach babe hair is tossled, wavy, kissed by the sun and bleached by seawater. Book a visit to your hairstylist before you hit the coast to ensure that you’re one ahead of the girls with instant beach hair:

  • Have a good trim to get rid of split ends. Cut in some layers for texture.
  • Ask your stylist about adding highlights and lowlights that complement your base hair colour and skin tone.
  • To minimise frizz, keep hair well moisturised by using the best quality shampoo, conditioner and detangler you can afford
  • If you’re using heat styling tools remember to use a thermal protection spray. Try GHD Thermal Protector Spray or Tressemé Thermal Creations Iron Style and Hold Spray
  • You don’t have to go to the sea to look like you’ve just come in from the water. Try GHD Sea Spray for matte waves; SO Sea Salt Spray to create laid-back beach waves or Toni & Guy Beach Curl Spray to separate curls and waves.

And Beach Babes Don’t Forget To…

  • Remove unwanted body hair. Try Philips Body Perfect Trimmer, Shaper and Shaver; Veet’s Hair Removal Shower Cream or book a wax at a salon.
  • Apply a self tanner or bronzer. Try St Tropez Self Tan Bronzing Mousse or Lotion; Caribbean Tan Home Products or Nivea Body Summer Beauty.
  • Wear a fresh, floral summer fragrance. Try Jean Paul Gaultier Classic Summer Fragrance; DKNY Be Delicious or The Body Shop’s Love Etc.
  • Keep make-up fresh and light. Try Bobbi Brown Extra SPF 25 Tinted Moisturising Balm; The Body Shop Bronzing Powder and Softlips Glimmer Gloss for Lips
  • Drink plenty of water to fight water retention and dehydration
  • Invest in a flattering swimsuit
  • Wear sunscreen and a sunhat!

Also read: South African Spas Guide to Sunless Tanning

Author: South African Spas