5 mistakes stopping you from getting a bikini body

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How to get a bikini body in time for summer by avoiding these common exercise mistakes.

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The sun is out and we're all thinking the same thing. Which is that we've only got a few short weeks to get our bodies toned enough to look acceptable in a bikini. Eek.

But fear not. Follow these simple steps and you'll get a bikini body just in time for summer.

Stick to an exercise plan

The lack of a clear goal is one of the biggest reasons why we fail to stick to exercising, so give yourself a precise target.

So if you want to lose weight, tell yourself: "I will lose 10lb by 1 July". If it's dropping a dress size, then it can be: "I will be a size 12 by my holiday", etc. Don't be afraid of setting the bar high, as it'll give you more motivation.

Bad posture

All the celebs posing on the red carpet know it, good posture can instantly make you look taller, leaner and elegant.

But did you know good posture can also reduce stress to joints and muscles and lessen the likelihood of injury?

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To achieve the ultimate good posture, stand sideways at a full-length mirror and draw an imaginary line straight up from your ankle-bones. The line should pass through the middle of the knee joint, through your hip, the centre of your shoulder and your earlobe.

Avoid exercise machines

Sitting or lying on a machine only targets the muscles that are working out. A similar exercise performed with body weight, dumbbells or medicine ball requires you to use more muscles, therefore upping the number of calories burnt.

Stick to functionally integrated training exercises

Think push-ups, pull-ups, squats, lunges, step-ups, woodchops, etc, that integrate the upper body, lower body and core to provide huge improvement in muscle tone

Avoid isolation exercises

These exercises create overload on one area only, creating very little calorie demand and encouraging growth of the muscle. This rule goes for abdominals, too.

Basically, if you are focusing on one muscle at a time you are body-building. Instead, try finding ways of including the largest number of muscles (you have over 600 of them) in every exercise.

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You'll be pleasantly surprised at the results and your workouts will be far quicker, too! Set a small goal each and every time you go to the gym. Aim to do just one more repetition of every exercise and you'll be following the fundamental rule of progression. Ask a tiny bit more of your body on a regular basis and you'll start to see the results you seek.

Avoid cardiovascular conditioning

Try to avoid cardiovascular workouts, ie the treadmill, rower and bike - these may well be contributing to making you fatter! Why? Because when you exercise aerobically for any extended period of time you secrete greater quantities of the hormone cortisol, which breaks down muscle.

Focus instead on shorter periods of higher-intensity work that spares muscle and burns maximum calories. A great way of doing this is to use the 40:20 interval. Work at a moderate pace for 40 seconds and then 'go for it' for 20. Repeat this for five minutes and you'll get far more out of training than 15 to 20 minutes of 'traditional' cardio.

Are you getting ready for bikini season? Tweet us @handbagcom

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