Q: For our 20th anniversary, my husband surprised me with a vacation to Hawaii, which is wonderful, but the very thought of trying to fit my backside into a swimsuit that I’d look halfway decent in makes me want to cry. The problem is that between my job and chasing after my kids, I just don’t have time to try to get in shape. Our trip is less than a month away – HELP! – Janice, Colorado Springs
A: Janice, quit wasting your time with excuses and start spending it on productive exercise and a healthy food diet. Even thirty minutes a day will set you on the right path toward a firmer, leaner physique. Make a conscious choice to take time each and every day for exercise as well as preparing and packing low-fat, nutritious meals and snacks. Think you can’t work out because of soccer practice or carpool? Set your alarm 30 minutes earlier and do some lifting or cardio first thing in the morning. Your lunches are from the office vending machine because deadlines are looming? Take 5 minutes at night to pack and refrigerate a healthy lunch that you can eat at your desk while you work.
And don’t worry – you still have plenty of time to slim down your backside and make it “swim-suit ready.” Try this plan of attack 5-7 days of the week for the next four weeks:
- Start with 20 minutes of cardio – walking, running, or elliptical machine
- Finish with 10 minutes of exercise geared specifically for firming your rear. Try some of these moves:
Walking Lunges: Start by standing up straight, feet shoulder width apart. Step forward with your left leg and allow your right knee to almost touch the floor. Now push off and bring your right leg forward to meet your left. Repeat with right leg, traveling forward at least 30 feet. Do 2-3 sets.
Step Ups: Position yourself behind a platform or step, feet shoulder width apart. Plant your right foot on the step and lift up. Slowly step back down and repeat 15 times with right foot then switch to the left foot. Do 2-3 sets.
Walking Kicks: Stand up straight with arms to your sides. With knees completely straight, kick your right leg up and touch your toes with your outstretched left arm while taking a step forward (think “goose step”). Repeat with your left leg and right arm.
Donkey Kicks: On an exercise mat, get down on all fours. With your right knee bent, left your leg behind you so that the bottom of your foot is reaching toward the ceiling. Squeeze your glute muscles while lifting your leg. Return to the start position and repeat 20 times then switch to your left leg. Do 2-3 sets.
Squats: Stand up straight with feet shoulder width apart. Slowly lower your bottom as though you’re sitting in an imaginary chair (if balance is a problem for you, you might do this exercise in front of a real chair or bench). Try to go low enough so that your thighs are parallel to the floor. Push through your heels to rise back up to the starting position. Repeat 10 times; do 2-3 sets.