May is National Fitness Month and Mental Health Month, and the two couldn't fit better together—research shows that physical fitness sharpens the body and the mind.» read more
Find out how to stay swimsuit-ready and feast on scrumptious summer fare with advice from top luxury spa chefs and a Gold's Gym Fitness Institute trainer. PLUS: Recipes straight from spa kitchens!
Make a Healthy Summer Picnic
Roll over the picture of your favorite food to find healthier, summery alternatives that came straight from the kitchens of Canyon Ranch Spa Resorts and Miraval Luxury Resort and Spa. (Be sure to check out Miraval's Mindful Eating available on May 1!)
Three essential beach season moves:
Instead of going on a weeklong hunger strike or committing to a cabbage soup diet to get back into that cute bikini or cool pair of board shorts, maybe consider this alternative: Eat healthy food (see below for more on that) and work out regularly. We swear it has proven results. To get you started on a smart summer regimen—instead of a starvation stint—we spoke to Gold's Gym Fitness Institute trainer Nikki Kimbrough to find out her favorite moves to get toned for swimsuit season.
"I always say ‘squats are your bottom's best friend' because they tone the glutes, plus the hamstrings, quads and core," says Nikki Kimbrough. Squats help women feel more confident slipping on those bikini bottoms and guys can work toward more sculpted legs sticking out of their board shorts. To get even more out of this classic move, try a squat jump. "The explosive plyometric movement forces you to really use your glutes to get up in the air."
Basic Squat: Stand with your feet hip-distance apart; keep your back straight and your head up. Bend your knees and drop your torso. Lower your butt toward the floor as if you were sitting in a chair. As you stand back up, push through the heels of your feet.
Advanced Squat Jump: Stand with your feet hip-distance apart; keep your back straight and your head up. Bend your knees and drop your torso. Lower your butt toward the floor as if you were sitting in a chair. From that lowered position, push off your heels and jump into the air. Try to keep your feet parallel with the floor. Land with your knees bent, chest slightly forward, and neck aligned with the spine.
"Good ol' fashioned push-ups are great for working your upper back and chest, and, when done correctly, core abdominal muscles and lower back," she explains. "Push-ups also help women guard against dreaded upper arm flab and "armpit fat" (i.e. the bulge that hangs over tube tops or out of tight dresses) and help guys get their pecs and triceps in show-off beach shape." For a tougher version, you can do the robot!
Basic Push-up: Lie facedown with your hands slightly more than shoulder-width apart and your feet together. Keeping your body straight, push up. Lower back down slowly. (Beginners can lower their knees to the floor.)
Advanced Robot Push-ups: Start in a raised push-up position, then lower the right arm so that you are resting on your forearm in an elbow plank position, and lower the left one in the same manner. Raise and straighten the right arm and do the same with the left arm. Repeat.
"Nothing can beat Supermans—literally," Kimbrough says. "These back extenders are awesome at strengthening the lower back and your glutes." Plus they help you get a lean and shapely lower back so you won't have any muffin top hanging out over your bathing suit. Add a twist to make this pose even more superhero.
Basic Superman: Lie facedown with your arms stretched above your head and your feet about hip-distance apart. Keeping your neck straight and your eyes on the floor, lift your arms, legs and torso as far off the ground as you can.
Advanced Superman Twist: Clasp your hands behind your head. As you lift up, twist to the right side, come down close to the ground without touching, and twist to the left.
Great cardio to mix in to your routine:
The best mindset to have:
Recipes provided are Courtesy of Canyon Ranch and Miraval Spa and Resort's upcoming book,Nourish, copyright of Hay House, May 2012.
How Spa Chefs Do Summer
Stock a Perfect Summer Kitchen
What are the must-have summer spices?
...fruit bowl favorites?
...essential summer fare?
Chef Chad can't resist barbecued pork ribs and coleslaw, so he freshened up his seasonal favorite. "I make it healthier by substituting lean pork tenderloin for the ribs and make coleslaw with a light vinaigrette instead of mayonnaise and sugar."
What to drink on a hot day...