For us on the island, it’s very normal to walk in a bikini or a swimsuit. I mean every day is a good beach day, and the water is always enjoyable. In a couple of months, the high season will arrive, but all of us in Sint Maarten will first enjoy a quieter time with family and friends.

It’s true that we do have more time for ourselves in the summer season when the kids are on vacation. Although in Sint Maarten, we can walk in a swimsuit every day, we are planning our strategy. It is time to prepare for bikini season.

Get a head start on bikini season by starting your preparations NOW! Since it can take some four to six weeks to see any sort of results from a diet- and exercise-plan, this gives you plenty of time to get ready for that bikini or swimsuit.

Start your toning program by daily targeting problem areas such as “saggy” arms. For people who have not trained before, you can use small hand-held weights of about three pounds for women and five pounds for men to exercise your muscles. Do 25 repetitions of bicep curls, followed by 25 repetitions of triceps curls then rest for 15 seconds before repeating four times.

Firm your backside by lying on your stomach with your legs stretched out and your elbows bent, with hands placed under your chin. Press your hips onto the floor while lifting your head and shoulders. Lift your straightened legs as far up as possible, and then lower them back to the floor in a controlled manner. Repeat 30 times twice daily to obtain good overall tone.

Give your tummy a workout with standard crunches, the plank and air bicycling. Have a partner hold your feet to the floor as you raise yourself up in a crunch. Don’t put pressure on your neck, and remember that small, controlled motions do more than quick “up and down” movements. Do as many as you can. When bicycling, keep your back straight and relaxed and your legs going for at least 30 seconds.

Do 10 push-ups on knees or toes every day. Do two sets a day. Walk every day for 20 min. Walk two minutes fast and one minute normal. Have a dog? This could be a nice training for your dog too.

Diet sensibly by following a plan that includes a variety of every food group and does not drop below 1,500 calories per day for women and 2,000 calories for men – even 1,500 calories a day is on the low side for the average person. Remember that losing more than two pounds per week can be detrimental to your health and the weight you lose in a “crash” tends to return quickly.

Avoid drinking your calories. Research has shown that liquid calories don’t satisfy us the same way that solid food does. From frozen coffee drinks to sodas and juices, these drinks provide calories but little to no beneficial nutrients. Other empty-calorie liquid losers are alcoholic beverages. Alcohol provides seven calories per gram, more than carbohydrates and protein, which each provides four calories per gram (fat provides the most at nine calories per gram). Those happy-hour cocktails and weekend beers at your friends’ barbeques can add just enough extra calories to keep you from dropping those last few pounds.

Cut out the cake and other sweets. Many of us like a little something sweet after a meal, but consider cutting out extra sweets and desserts for the next few months. If you’re craving something sweet, reach for some fresh fruit, a dessert-flavoured yogurt with 100 calories or less or a sugar-free pudding cup. For a nearly calorie-free treat, grab some sugar-free jello or pop in a piece of sugar-free gum to satisfy that sweet tooth.

Leave a little on your plate. Many of us were taught from a young age to “clean our plates.” However, abiding by this old rule is counter intuitive because it tells us not to listen to our bodies. We eat every bite on our plates and we do so very rapidly. Try to leave just a few bites of food on your plate at each meal, and you’ll be cutting calories left and right. You may not think four-five bites can really make a difference, but if done often enough, these dropped calories will really add up, equalling weight-loss success.

We’ve become a nation of constant snackers. We snack at every chance we get, regardless of whether we are truly hungry. You may even be enjoying a snack while reading these words. Snacks can be a part of a well-balanced diet but choosing the right snacks at the right times can make a big difference when it comes to whittling your waist. If your usual daily snack contains around 200 calories, consider slashing that in half. Doing this once a day each day will cut 700 calories a week. If you snack twice a day and downsize your snacks, you’ll cut 1,400 calories from your weekly intake.

Enough tips for that rock-hard bikini body! Remember: Abs are made in the kitchen and NOT in the gym. To help you out, hang this note on your fridge: “Are you hungry or just bored?” Resist the temptation to buy the unhealthy stuff in the supermarket! If you bring it home, you have to keep resisting it.

Have fun preparing your body!

If you need any help, be my guest. We have a Personal Training summer special at a huge discount for the months of June, July and August. We are located on Welfare Road, next to North Eastern Insurance, on the first level of the building. Call us at 524-7700 or check us out by liking our Fitness Coaching page on Facebook or following us on Instagram.