Summer's Nearly Here! Get in Shape Fast Without Going to Extremes

We asked some of the country's top fitness and nutrition experts to share their best tips to help you shape up and slim down for summer quick

Summer is almost here -- if you’ve been in denial about bathing suit season, we’re got some helpful tips from top trainers to help you slim down fast without going to extremes.

Tack on 10 more minutes to your workout
Already exercising regularly? Good for you! If you want to speed up your bikini body results, simply tack on an extra 10 minutes to your current workout routine, recommends Andrea Metcalf, a certified fitness expert and author of Naked Fitness. When her celeb clients need to shape up quick, Metcalf suggests adding 10 minutes of high-intensity cardio, like jumping rope, to help blast off an average 140 calories more per workout. Adding 10 minutes to four more workouts could help you burn an additional 560 calories (or about half a pound) in a one week.

Write it on the mirror
Want to fit into a new bathing suit by your July vacation trip to the Bahamas? Write down your goal on the bathroom mirror using a dry erase marker, recommends Pete McCall, an exercise physiologist for the American Council on Exercise. Posting your goal where you’ll see it first thing in the morning and last thing at night helps you stay focused on achieving your goal, he says.

Tone with strength-training
Shaping up for summer isn’t just about losing weight, it’s about creating a toned, tight bod that looks great in and out of your swimsuit. In addition to cardio, hit the weight room, too. For a more sculpted physique, McCall recommends using this “drop set” technique: Start an exercise (such as biceps curls) using a heavier weight, then, when you can’t do another rep, switch to a lighter weight and keep going until you're struggling to lift with good form. This type of training helps ensure that all of the muscle fibers are fatigued, which is important for creating definition, he explains.

Sign up for heated yoga
Hot or heated yoga (also known as Bikram) can help relieve cells of fluid retention, says Jenn Zerling, an instructor at Hot 8 Yoga in Beverly Hills and author of Breaking the Chains of Obesity. Not only does this sweaty, active form of yoga (classes are usually performed in rooms heated to about 105 degrees F) help her clients shed inches, it also helps improve their posture for an instant slimming effect.

Flex multiple muscles at once
For faster results in less time, diet and fitness expert, and author of Side Effect: Skinny! Denise Austin recommends doing exercises that work multiple muscle groups at once, like squats with overhead presses or rear lunges with bicep curls. When you work several muscles at the same time, you build more muscle overall and burn more calories in half the time, she explains. Need a full routine to get started? Try this at-home total body workout for beginners -- all you need is a chair to do it.

Don't diet every day
If you find it tough to stick to a reduced-calorie diet, you aren’t alone. And the good news is you may get better results by mixing up your ‘diet days’ anyway. Alternating your total calorie counts every two days or so can help boost your metabolism, suggests Austin. “It’s easy to stay on a diet when you know you can have more calories in a day or two,” she says. Research backs up this idea too: A University of Illinois at Chicago study found that dieters who restricted their calorie intake one day and then ate normally the next lost more weight than those that didn’t take ‘off’ days.

Spring clean your eating habits
Prep refrigerator for the warmer months just like you would your closet -- along with the heavy sweaters, toss out those heavy comfort foods too, says Kristin McGee, a yoga and Pilates expert who trains celebs like Steve Martin, Bethenny Frankel and Tina Fey. Summertime favorites like salads and seasonal fruits are satiating since they are fiber-filled, and they're packed with nutrients, making it easier to reduce your calorie intake without deprivation during the warmer months.

Power up with plyometrics
Hollywood trainer Teddy Bass, who works with Cameron Diaz, Lucy Liu and Jennifer Lopez, recommends adding a 30-minute circuit workout once a week and incorporating one plyometric exercise to each group of exercises. Plyometric moves are mainly jumping-oriented exercises (such as squat jumps) that require explosive power, quick speed and/or strength. They boost your metabolism and heart rate even more and have been shown to build bone density and prevent injuries.

Have a cup of soup
If you really want to slim down fast before a special summer event, skip the starvation diets and crazy cleanses and try swapping out lunch or dinner for a bowl of healthy soup, recommends Gabe Johns, who trains Hilary Duff and Stacy Keibler. “Just make sure it's not loaded down with salt. Most brands carry a low sodium healthy version these days,” he says. And, even if you simply dine on a bowl before your regular meal, it could help you consume less calories overall. One Penn State University study found that subjects who ate a broth or vegetable-based soup before a meal ate 20 percent less. Not in the mood for soup in warmer weather? Try one of these healthy, easy-to-make cold soup recipes.

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