published Thursday, May 28th, 2009

Get a bathing suit body on your own time

by Laura Galbraith
Audio clip

Mark Douglas

For many women the arrival of swimsuit season is a cringe-worthy thought.

While the gym is always an option, there are other efficient (not to mention money-saving) ways to shave off calories and tone muscle.

Here are tips from local personal trainers.

* Watch portion sizes.

“A small saucer size (of food) is actually good five times a day,” said Mark Douglas, a personal trainer and owner of Body Fit Concepts on Lookout Mountain.

* Control calories.

Obviously, the foods one chooses to eat will play a factor in weight.

“The most important thing is going to be calorie control and changing what kinds of food that they eat,” said Jack Bell, owner of Absolute Fit Inc. in Fort Oglethorpe.

* Make use of what’s in your home.

Tone your arms by doing pushups off the back of the couch, and strengthen your quadriceps by practicing dips with a household chair. Designate other areas in your house to jog in place, skip rope or do lunges.

“Basically, what we try to get people to do is develop a little circuit program in their house where they hit like 10 little stations where people can do (activities) like lunges,” he said. “What we tell them is to hit about 40 to 45 seconds at each station.”

Household items can come in handy as well.

Kevin Harvey, the owner of a Live Active Personal Training and Scenic City Boot Camp, recommends filling empty milk jugs with water.

“They actually weigh anywhere from eight to 10 pounds, so if you get two of those, you can do your lunges and your squats and biceps curls,” he said.

* Keep track of your steps

It’s no secret. Movement, even something as simple as walking, burns calories.

“The minimum step count per day for Americans should be 10,000,” Mr. Douglas said.

Purchase a pedometer and carry it around with you all day. Take it everywhere, even the gym or the grocery store, to monitor progress.

* Hire a trainer temporarily

Most people want to do things their own way, but a little guidance never hurts.

“I do suggest hiring a trainer at least once or twice to maybe come into your house and kind of set up a program for you,” Mr. Harvey said. “Most trainers are $40 to $60 an hour, so you pay somebody once to set up a whole program for you and you’re done.”

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