If you've been promising yourself that you'll get a better body in time for summer and are shocked that it's June already, don't give up and bury your head in a pile of chips. Take some inspiration from these quick and effective tips which will get your thighs looking shorts-ready and your stomach bikini-trim in time for the hottest days of summer.
If you're looking to significantly change your weight or get a flat stomach, make sure you're eating a healthy diet based on low-fat protein (chicken, tofu, fish, lean red meat), carbs (sweet potatoes, porridge, wholemeal bread, brown rice), healthy oils (olive oil and omega 3s) fresh fruit and vegetables. Cut out alcohol, white flour, white sugar and fatty foods in order to see quick results. Spend five minutes in the kitchen preparing some healthy snacks every morning, so you don't get tempted when you're out - think oatcakes and frijimole, carrot sticks and low-fat cottage cheese or a raw fruit bar.
Know your abs
If your posture is out of alignment, your stomach is likely to stick out, as your shoulders slump in and your whole torso collapses in on itself. Pull your shoulders back and reacquaint yourself with the feeling of keeping your abdominal muscles pulled in, without holding your breath. Spend five minutes remembering to engage these core muscles throughout the day and it will become a habit to keep them taut - meaning better abs, instantly.
Make the most of warmer weather by getting outside whenever you can. Whether this means a quick jog round the park, walking to visit a friend rather than taking the bus, or going to an outdoor fitness class, you're more likely to be motivated to get fit outside in warmer weather, rather than visit the gym. Boost your workout by spending five minutes alternating 30 seconds of burpees, press-ups and sit-ups if you're already in good shape, or try some gentle squats and leg lifts if you're just starting out.
Locate the lido
Swimming is one of the most effective low-impact exercises around, so it's particularly good if you're worried about injuries or have a substantial amount of weight to lose. Mix up your strokes and vary your pace for the best workout, as this will work all your muscles groups. Consider taking a refresher swimming lesson to brush up on the best way to position your body in the water. Try an aqua aerobics class if you get bored with lengths. A great five minute exercise to target your glutes is to hang on to the side of the pool and kick (as if you were doing the front crawl). Kick hard for 30 seconds, recover (or kick slowly) for 30 seconds and repeat.
A classic Pilates exercise, called the "hundred" is a fantastic way of strengthening your core and getting better abs. Take a Pilates class in order to see a demonstration of how to perform this exercise without hurting your neck or back, then take five minutes every day to firm up your core.