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Good Morning


Memorial Day is still almost a week away and yet, for a

month already, the magazines have been screaming summer, and the promise of a

beach- ready, head-turning physique:

"Get a Bikini Body!"

"Bikini Ready by June 1!"

"Get a Beach Body Now!"

While you may have dreams of a sleek, sexy body ... don't believe the hype.

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"Most men and women will never look like the men and women in the

magazines, no matter how much effort they put in," says Nancy Kouris, owner of

World Gym in Hampton Bays. "But that shouldn't stop you from wearing a bikini

or swimsuit if you have realistic [fitness] goals and an honest expectation of

how you will look."

Never too late

To really get "beach ready," you would have needed to start exercising

while the snowflakes were falling. That said, it's never too late to get in

shape - it just means that your summer unveiling may come a little closer to

Labor Day.

No matter what your starting point, if you want a body you can show off

from the Rockaways to Robert Moses, you're going to have to be diligent and

consistent. "If you've been sedentary, it's important to start slow, but that

also means you'll probably see the biggest gains in the shortest amount of

time," says Alyssa Shaffer, senior fitness editor for Fitness magazine.

In the men's and women's editions of his book, "The Body Sculpting Bible:

Swimsuit Workout" (Hatherleigh Press, $15.95), James Villepigue, co-owner of

Evolution Fitness in Oyster Bay, details an eight- week program for women and a

12-week program for men, divided into three phases: First, general

conditioning, then a weight-training phase to develop the muscles and finally,

what he calls a "cardio blast, to strip off the fat," revealing your new,

sleeker physique.

Differing goals

The regimens offered in the book have differing lengths, he says, to better

reflect the different objectives men and women have for their nearly-naked

selves. "Women are looking for a more toned and defined look in their bathing

suits," he said. "Men want to put on more muscle, and that takes a little more


Some of the exercises he emphasizes are, for women, lunges ("fantastic for

the leg and butt muscles") and incline push-ups and bench presses for men

("building the chest will give the look of a more defined waist.") As for diet,

he recommends cutting the size of your meals to reduce total calories by about

500 per day, while eating more frequently, having four to six smaller meals.

Start now and by the end of the season or sooner you'll have a body you can

be proud of.

"I think the idea of a bikini body is more metaphorical than literal,"

Shaffer says. "Not too many of us are willing to pull out a skimpy two-piece.

It's really more of a state of mind, of feeling comfortable and confident when

you're at the beach no matter what you have on."

Avoid quick fixes

So don't get discouraged. And perhaps more important, trainers say, don't

be tempted by the promise of a quick fix. "I don't believe any crash diet,

supplements or programs will undo months of neglect without some sort of

adverse or rebound effect," Kouris says.

On the flip side, a couple months of dedicated training and careful eating

can pay off in ways that will have ramifications well after the summer memories

have faded. "Sure, looking good in swimwear is a cosmetic goal," admits

Villepigue. "But people need motivation to take care of their bodies. And if

the payoff of this is better health in the long run, why not?"

Lifeguards lookin' good in swimsuits

If you want to look good in swimwear, why not take some tips from people who go

to work in theirs? Lifeguards.

According to veteran Jones Beach lifeguard captain Bob Lenti, lifeguards

work out about two hours a day, mostly on their breaks, starting with a three-

mile morning run, followed by a few thousand yards of swimming, either in the

pool or the ocean. Every other day, the lifeguards devote an hour to weight

training. (Most lifeguard shacks at Jones Beach have full complements of

equipment, he says.)

For each exercise, they do three sets of about 10 reps. "It's a pretty

old-fashioned workout," Lenti says, "but it works." (To learn proper form on

these and other exercises, visit the Exercise and Physical Fitness page of

Georgia State University's Dept. of Kinesiology and Health: www

Bench press

Dumbbell flyes

Shoulder presses

Lat pulldowns

Cable rows

Upright rows



Calf raises

For the abdominals, the guards do a series of five sets of crunches,

varying the foot and leg position on each, nonstop. "It's very intense, very

painful and very quick," Lenti says.

On nonlifting days, most guards take to the water to row and kayak,

although these days, Lenti notes, "we have guards who do yoga and tai chi, as


The main reason for the rigorous conditioning, of course, is to prepare the

lifeguards for the times when they have to bolt into the water on a rescue.

But, he concedes, "the real test is when you take your shirt off in public."

A note to our community:

As a public service, this article is available for all. Newsday readers support our strong local journalism by subscribing.  Please show you value this important work by becoming a subscriber now.


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