Courtesy Mandy Yeh

Courtesy Mandy Yeh

The hype of fitness and diet season at the start of January may have piped down, but it’s not too late to get in shape for bikini season. As a fitness guru and Turbo Kick instructor, here are my suggestions for easy workouts that will give you the best results in no time.

What do I do if I’m stuck in a weight-loss plateau?

Keep your workout routine interesting and change up your everyday regimen. If you find yourself always hopping on the treadmill, try doing some squats and abs first and then heading outside for a run. Running outside can challenge your body in different ways with the natural terrain. Kicking up your workout a few notches will create new muscle in your body. Since muscle burns more calories than fat, this workout will result in a stimulated metabolism and ultimately lead to faster weight loss.

Try using a journal or calendar to keep tabs on your weight loss and diet. Remember, this should be as much about making healthier food choices as slimming down. Keeping a food log can also track progress while preventing food boredom. Note that many beverages contain a fair amount of calories, so try to moderate your consumption of soft drinks, fruits juices and other flavored drinks.

How do I get better stamina?

Exercising too much at a time can tire you out easily and make you feel less energized. Try doing easier workouts and gradually building up your time. Every day, switch between at least 5-minute increments or an intensity push (i.e. going from 10 push-ups on your knees to 10 push-ups on your feet). Before you know it, you’ll be up at 45 to 60 minutes at high intensity. For example, while training for a half marathon, I try to increase my running distance by half a mile every time I run until my anticipated 13.1 miles. In addition, try to eat food that is rich in fiber and protein to give you the energy to help your workouts. Eating healthy will not only make you feel better, but do better as well; I have seen an improvement in my stamina when I munch on healthier foods.

How do I set new fitness goals?

Research some new workout routines. Do you normally run on the treadmill? Then try switching to the elliptical or rowing machine. Sometimes, the easiest way to find new workouts without machines is to take group fitness classes—also a great way to meet new people and challenge yourself. Your body will appreciate the new movement, and you’ll feel the soreness in the morning. Don’t have a gym membership? Take it outside—ride a bike, go kayaking, play tennis or hiking.

How do I make the most out of my workout?

Stay focused on your goals and keep reminders of them for extra motivation. For example, post a picture of yourself when you felt the healthiest and aim to reach that goal–or beyond. Perform each activity to the best of your ability, and you will see serious results.

Ever wonder why people have their iPods with them while they work out? Research shows that when you listen to feel-good music, you perform better. Create a playlist full of songs that make you happy so that you’ll feel inspired when you’re running.

How can I tone my “problem” areas?

Keep in mind that you cannot lose fat on one specific part of your body. In order to get great abs, for example, you have to do cardio to lose the top layers of fat that are covering them. Then, you can sculpt and tone through Pilates or other intense core exercises to get that six-pack to show through.

For arms, try lifting 5-8 lb dumbbells. You can do basic bicep curls, going three counts up and taking it one count down, and vice versa. Try doing 3 sets of 10 reps for shape over bulk. For legs, lunges are the easiest quick fix. Be sure that you have a good stance—don’t let your front knee pass your foot and keep your hips squared. For a stronger core, skip the crunches on the mat, and challenge yourself on a big fitness ball. Make sure you switch it up so that you are not doing the same move every time.

Remember to pair these workout goals with a healthy diet, and you are good to go. See you at the beach! If you’ve got any fitness questions, shoot us an e-mail at jackelyn@mochimag.com.