Following on from my fitness post a few weeks back, I thought I´d do a continuation with more of a concrete insight into how I´m getting bikini ready when it comes to my go-to beauty routine, more leading tips from fitness experts to get you going, and how nourishing your body (instead of depriving it), is the key to that long-term, healthy summer body.
Taking from my own personal experience and talking to leading industry experts, I´ve compiled everything within 3 simple steps: PAMPER, MOVE & NOURISH. To round it up; do the groundwork, get physical and keep nourishing your body!
As movie star turned wellness guru Cameron Diaz says in her new book “The Longevity Book: Live Stronger. Live Better. The Art of Ageing Well“: “If you hold on to one piece of practical information, here is what we would love for that to be: eating nutritious foods, moving often, and getting enough rest are the keys to healthy ageing”.
And who wouldn’t want to look like Cameron when they’re 43? I know I do.
I´m sure many of you know by now that no body comes without a bit of determination and preparation! Obviously, it´s great to continue your beauty regime throughout the summer months as well, but a lot of the ground work should start before, the sooner the better, really. But don´t fret if you haven´t already got going – there´s still lots that can help firm, buff and smooth that bod.
Investing in the right beauty care for you, is the first step, then all depending on how much you can be bothered to spend time on it, and of course, what your budget is… The good news? Some of it comes for free, and there are plentiful of great products out there that don´t cost an arm and a leg!
Being fortunate enough to work in the industry, I have tried and tested a lot of treatments and skincare ranges. Some incredible, some not so much… That´s not to say they’ve been pointless (well, some have been), but the key is to find a range or brand which works for you, in all aspects. You might be more into more scientific led products, must-have cult brands, or all-natural… I am definitely in the middle; I have a lot of respect for highly researched and scientifically proven brands, I have tried (and love) a lot of iconic products, but I am, and probably always will be a lover of natural skincare ingredients. I love the pure, no-chemical aspect; after all, whatever you put on your skin, goes straight into your bloodstream! Needless to say, I have a lot of ´clean` beauty products (coconut oil is my beauty-must), but I don’t use natural products for everything, and tend to rely on bit stronger and more concentrated ingredients when it comes to my face.
Whatever it is, the key is finding something which works for you. You might be lapping on a load of lotions and potions, which are all wrong for your specific concerns, needs and skin type. So, when I was introduced to natural skincare brand, MixNature, who has come up with an innovative solution that allows you to custom-blend your own beauty products (hooray!) using potent and naturally derived active ingredients – I was intrigued, to say the least.
Here is how it works… First up, you select your category (face, hair & body), then choose what product type you want (face creams, eye gels, body scrubs, hair masks). As I was looking for something to improve my body for the summer, I chose a body cream, body scrub, shower gel & foot cream.
Within each of these products, you select your body/skin type (normal, oily, dry or mature), and then onto the last and final step, which is where the real fun begins… Selecting the exact ingredients you want in it, creating your very own customised formula – choosing from over 50 natural essential oils, plant extracts and activating ‘booster’ agents such as hyaluronic acid, bio collagen, keratin, to only mention a few. Not sure what each ingredient actually does? Don’t fret. All the key benefits for every single ingredient is listed on the site, so you can pick out those best for targeting your personal beauty concerns!
Once you’ve tailored your order, it will be hand-blended in MixNature’s lab, packaged and shipped to your door within 1-3 working days. Simples.
Detoxify & Firm
One thing I never fail to do, is my morning dry body brushing. The benefits of dry body brushing is plentiful; it helps shed dead skin cells, encourages new cell renewal (resulting in smoother and brighter skin), and improves your blood circulation and lymphatic drainage (great for those stubborn pockets of fat and cellulite). I jump into the shower to start the process (don´t put the water on!), as the body sheds a lot of dry skin. Once I´m done, I pop on the shower and have a quick, warm rinse. I turn the shower off again, grab a towel and dry my body until it´s barely damp.
Then I apply the MixNature Body Scrub working upwards in a firm, circular massaging motions. This helps stimulate the lymphatic drainage and circulation, and removes the top layer of dull skin to get that smoothness we´re all after!
I chose a Body Scrub for Normal & Combination Skin, and added Bio Elastin, Bio Collagen and Echinacea, Green Coffee, Hyaluronic Acid and Dragon´s Blood extract. All of these were to firm, restore smoothness, fade marks, nourish and moisturise.
After that, I pop the shower back on, wash my hair and do a proper cleanse with MixNature´s Shower Gel. So many shower gels can be drying and really strip the skin, so bear that in mind when choosing your shower gel/cream.
I chose a Shower Gel for Normal & Combination Skin, and added Silk Protein, which nourishes, regenerates, tightens, improves elasticity and holds onto moisture.
Firm & Hydrate
After the shower I lightly pat my body dry, leaving it slightly wet and damp, and lather on the MixNature Body Lotion. It´s much more beneficial moisturising your body while it´s still warm and wet, as it absorbs the moisture from the products more effectively.
I chose a Body Lotion for Normal & Combination Skin, and added Bio Collagen, Ylang-Ylang and Rosewood Essential Oils, Rosehip, Chamomile and Green Coffee extract. All of these were to improve skin tonicity, stimulate skin renewal, encourage new cell growth, restore elasticity, soften and firm the skin.
Lastly, I lather on the MixNature Foot Cream.
I chose a Foot Cream for Nourishing properties, and added Achillea, Echinacea and Oats extract, Sandalwood and Bergamot Essential Oils and Silk Protein. All of these were to help remove dead skin cells, rejuvenate, soften and prevent flakiness.
The MixNature service is perfect for those with sensitive skin who need simple but effective blends of natural ingredients, and beauty junkies who really know what they want, will be in their element (I know I was). Free from colourants, silicon, parabens and other nasties (who doesn’t love that!?), the whole thing is easy, clean and straight forward. Not to mention they all smell dreamy, it´s affordable, vegan-friendly and cruelty-free.
All the products I selected were specifically aimed to tighten, firm, smooth, buff, moisturise and improve elasticity and skin tone – the perfect combination for the bikini season!
No pain, no gain, right? I actually hate this saying, but the truth of matter is that you have to work for your body. If not to achieve the perfect summer bod, to at least for feeling strong and healthy!
So whatever you enjoy the most – be it a sweaty spinning session, weights, Pilates, bootcamp style training… Find what works for you and your body, but don´t forget the key here is enjoyment. If you do something and resent it (which I for so many years did with the likes of HIIT, running etc.) it will actually have more of a negative effect on your body, producing too much Cortisol, a stress hormone which can actually make you gain weight (!), even when you’re doing everything “right.” So, whatever you do – do it because you love it.
As I was talking about in this fitness post, my current regime consists of Barre, toning and weights, and lots more Yoga and meditation. So instead of hitting it hard in the gym, or doing a gruelling high intensity session – I´m doing exercises at a much lower pace, and in turn, feeling so much fitter from it. But what works for me, might not work for you – so do whatever makes you and your body happy!
Elissa El Hadj (founder of FORM in Notting Hill and ex-Alessandra Ambrosio’s trainer in LA) says…
Focus on your balance: Incorporate balancing exercises into your workout routine to improve core strength and strengthen your neuromuscular system (brain health and memory). At FORM, our signature class METcore pilates is performed on a cylindrical devise to do just that. Our intelligent workout incorporates the usage of weight/resistance and cardio. It works the body in every plane of motion, stabilises joints which strengthens them, improves bone density, muscular definition, improves cognitive health, weight loss, rectifies imbalances in the body resulting in optimal movement and functionality and makes you feel invincible, guaranteed.
Get enough ZZZZ’s: It´s so important to get enough sleep and sleep before midnight in order to regenerate the body and brain sufficiently. Continual lack of sleep (6 hours or less) and sleeping after midnight affect the immune system to the detriment, mental focus is compromised, increase in sugar cravings and starchy carbs leading to obesity and Type 2 diabetes (which is rapidly on the rise), increases the risk of breast cancer, increases risk of cardiovascular disease and increases risk of accidents.
Anya Lahiri (Barry’s Bootcamp Master Trainer and Nike NTC Elite Trainer) says…
Mix it up: Try to include a mixture of HIIT and weighted resistance into your workouts. The cardio is great for fat burning and cardio respiratory health but the resistance will turn your body into a fat burning machine post workout.
Find a workout partner: Buddy up with someone and your workouts will not only become more fun but you’ll also have someone to keep you on track.
Incorporate split training into your workout routine: Work a different muscle group each day so that you are never too fatigued to exercise – for example arms and abs one day and butt and legs another day. This means you have the energy to train every day without tiring out the muscles.
Don’t be afraid to lift heavy: Challenging your muscles with heavier weights won’t turn you into Schwarzenegger! Instead, it will make you lean and make your body more efficient at burning fat.
The condition of your body is generally 70% nutrition and 30% fitness. So needless to say, your diet and nutrition is incredibly important! I´ve tried just about every diet fad there is out there, and it´s only now, at 30, where I´m so much more aware, smarter and more balanced with my diet. In other words; I eat what my body craves (which fortunately is mainly clean and wholesome food), I have a bit of everything, try not to restrict too much, and mainly eat plant based (which works really well for my body type).
1. Keep your gut healthy as an overproduction of bad bacteria or poor gut transit can lead to bloating. Include plenty of fibre in your diet, stay well hydrated and include probiotic foods in your diet such as live yoghurt.
2. Magnesium also plays a key role in the maintenance of a healthy gut so try including foods such as nuts, seeds and dark green vegetables.
3. Although beans and pulses are healthy and a brilliant source of fibre – you need to go easy to start with when including them in your diet as too much too soon can equal bloating.
4. Refined sugar, booze and yeast in excess can provide a feast for bad bacteria. Cutting right back on sugar and keeping alcohol to a minimum is a good approach and avoiding yeast-rich foods such as mushrooms, blue cheese, pickled or fermented foods, including soy sauce can help you to reduce the amount to yeast. For yeast-free breads try soda bread or pumpernickel.
5. Do dispel the myth….. There are no foods that will significantly increase your metabolism enough to lead to any noticeable weight loss! The only way to increase and maintain a healthy metabolism is regular exercise. Sorry guys, no easy way out!
6. If you do suffer with bloating then keep you fridge stocked with plenty of fresh mint. Adding fresh mint leaves along with caraway and fennel seeds can help to reduce bloating after meals.
Elissa El Hadj (founder of FORM in Notting Hill) golden rules are…
1. Ditch the sugar! It chronically ages the skin, causes inflammation in the body, depletes energy, causes break-out’s and excessive amounts cause Type 2 diabetes and is linked to cancer.
2. Drink warm water with fresh lemon to assist in the body’s natural elimination process, to cleanse the gut, to avoid muscle cramping, to avoid brain fog and dizziness, to energise and to speed up the metabolism.
3. Eat your greens! Food is medicine. You can never OD on greens. Contributing to glowing skin, energy and vitality, weight loss, disease prevention, optimal health, well being, and hydration.