How to achieve a summer-ready body

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Copy of st nivea girl . Summer is here and it is time to bring out those swimming costumes.

Summer is here and it is time to bring out those swimming costumes, which means shedding off the few extra kilos you may have put on during winter, especially around the mid-section.

To get a flat tummy, Sarah Maxwell, Nivea’s fitness expert, says you should:

* Drink water and snack smart (4 to 6 times a day) to keep your metabolism in high gear. Smart choices include a piece of low-fat cheese, a low-fat yoghurt or a healthy dip and raw vegetable sticks.

* Eat good fats. Research has shown that mono-unsaturated fats actually help to prevent tummy fat. The Mediterranean-style diet that includes nuts, avocados and olive oil is ideal.

* Reduce salt, as it will make you retain water.

* Burn fat with cardio exercises. Try a 30 minute walk every day to the point where you’re feeling slightly out of breath.

*l Do flab-tightening exercises. Maxwell has come up with exercises you can do in front of the TV. Week One includes the following five exercises:

1. REAR LEG RAISE WITH HAMSTRING CURL (works back of thighs and bottom): Get down on your knees and elbows. Pull in abdominals. Raise your left leg straight behind you, but no higher than hip level. Bend your left knee and raise and lower your leg with your foot flexed and the sole pointing to the ceiling. Repeat 16 times slowly and with control, then extend the leg out straight behind you and pull your heel back to your bottom to change legs.

2. FRONT PLANK WITH KNEELING BACK EXTENSION (works tummy and back): To do the plank, lie face down resting on your forearms and push off the floor, raising up on to toes and resting on your elbows. Keep your back flat, pull in the abdominals and pull up your pelvic floor, hold for 15-60 seconds, then go into back extension.

On your hands and knees, extend your arm out in front of you (the same level as your shoulder) and raise your opposite leg. Hold the position for 5 seconds. rest and repeat and then change sides. All the time keep your pelvic floor pulled up and abdominals pulled in. If you feel strong, return to the plank position.

3. HALF PRESS-UPS (works upper body, especially chest): Lie on your front with your hands flat on the floor, slightly more than shoulder-width apart. Keep your feet in the air and both knees on the ground, abdominals pulled in, finger tips facing forward and maintain a straight back. Steadily breathe out as you push yourself up without letting your elbows lock. Aim for 3 x 8 repeats and build gradually.

4. INNER THIGH RAISE/PULSE COMBO (works the inner thighs): Lie on the floor on your left side with your left arm stretched straight above your head, with your head resting on it. Bend your right knee (top leg) with your right foot in front of the left leg. Keep your left leg (bottom leg) straight with your knee slightly bent and begin to raise your left leg straight up until you feel a contraction on your inner thigh. Do 1 x 16 large lifts (as high as you can and back to the floor) and 1 x 16 small lifts at the highest point. Repeat, then change to the other side.

5. REVERSE LUNGES (thighs and bottom): Stand with your feet about shoulder width apart, hands on your hips or at your sides. Raise your right knee up in front of you, then extend it behind you like you are taking a really big step to walk backwards. Bring the same leg back to the start position and repeat the same movement with your other leg. Ensure you keep a straight back and abdominals pulled in. Do 2 x 8 repeats on each leg. -The Star

* For the rest of the training programme, see the website, www.nivea.co.za

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