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Your last chance to get bikini-ready this season

Yasmin Karachiwala, celeb trainer to stars including Deepika Padukone and Katrina Kaif, says that fitness hinges on three things: nutrition, rest and the correct mindset.

“With-out rest, you function sub-optimally, without fuel, you use up reserves, which get depleted fast, and without the mindset, you just go through the motions rather than investing 100%,” says Karachiwala.

In order to achieve bikini-bod perfection, Karachiwala shares that overall fitness is important. This is supplemented by doing specific exercises for individual body parts, which help lend definition.

On busy days, Karachiwala suggests going for a Pilates class, instead of skipping out on a workout entirely, as the body-conditioning exercises help energise the body. “Make it a point to work out at least three times a week for specific goals, plus three times a week for cardiovascular endurance,” suggests Karachiwala.

The plank
Good for working: Abs (including internal ab muscles), back, arms, legs.
How to do It: The plank is an isolation move used in Pilates. Lie face down on a mat with elbows resting on floor, close to chest. Push your body off the floor in a push-up position with body resting on elbows or hands. Contract the abdominal muscles, ensuring that the body is in a straight line from head to toe. Hold for 30 to 60 seconds and repeat.
Try: Beginners can try doing three sets of 20 reps of ab crunches, using an exercise ball; advanced exercises can be a set of one hundred of this signature Pilates move.
Who does it: Deepika Padukone and Katrina Kaif. “Pilates makes your stomach leaner,” says Karachiwala, who advises abstaining from alcohol. “Katrina loves working on her abs and the hard work showed when she shimmied in Chikni Chameli.”

Lunges
Good for working: Most of the muscles in the leg, as well as the butt.
How to do it: Stand with the right leg forward and the left leg back. Bend knees and lower body into a lunge, keeping the front knee and back knee at 90-degree angles. Slowly push back up to starting position, keeping the weight in your heels. Ensure that your knee doesn’t bend past your toes.
Try: 12 to 16 reps, gradually building up to 40 reps; variations with back lunges and side lunges.
Who does it: Deepika Padukone does five different types of lunges, forward lunges, reverse lunges, stationary lunges, pulse lunges and walking lunges.

Push-ups
Good for working: Shoulders, chest, triceps, back and abs.
How to do it: Lie on the floor and using your hands, slowly lift off the floor, stopping when your elbows are at 90 degrees. Ensure that your body is in a straight line from head to toe. Don’t let your belly drop to the floor and don’t stick your butt in the air.
Try: Start with one set of 10 reps the first time, adding a rep each time you do the exercise, until you’re up to 40 reps
Who does it:  Actress Katrina Kaif, who does push-ups and pull-ups using suspension training (TRX).

Squats
Good for working: Butt, thighs, hamstrings (back of thigh) and calves.
How to do it: Stand with the feet hip-width apart. Slowly bend the knees, ensuring that the torso is straight and your abs are pulled in tight, and lower hips towards the floor. Do not go lower than ninety degrees, and ensure that the knees are behind the toes.
Try: Start with ten reps and gradually increase it to two sets of 20 reps, each
Who does it: Squats are one of Deepika Padukone’s favourite exercises, which she does with dumbbells. “I think she loves to work her legs,” says Karachiwala, adding that the actress is always willing to push herself harder, even when tired.
*Before you embark on any fitness programme, please consult a doctor.

Watch what you eat
Diet plays a crucial role in any fitness programme. Deepika Padukone stuck to eating six, small balanced meals through the day at regular intervals. Closer to the bikini shoot, she also had to cut down on her intake of sugary fruits like mango, chickoo and grapes.

Bonus tip: stay hydrated
Yasmin says it’s crucial to stay well hydrated by drinking enough water through the day. Karachiwala suggests having a glass of veggie juices (beetroot-carrot-celery mix or a carrot-dudhi-tomato-amla mix) that ups nutrient intake and helps impart a healthy glow to the skin.

Dinner at 8
“If you’re trying to be healthier — whether to wear a bikini or to climb a mountain — you must try to finish your last meal of the day before 8:30 pm,” says Karachiwala.
 

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