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How to Look Fit and Fab in Your Favorite Swimsuit

The girl in the well-known “Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weeny Yellow Polka Dot Bikini” suffers from a lack of bikini body confidence. In the song’s three verses, she hides herself and her sexy swimwear in a locker, a blanket, and the open ocean—all because she’s afraid to show off her figure.

Don’t fall into the same traps she did. It is possible to look great in that bikini you’ve been eyeing. Follow these 7 tips to get in bikini shape and you’ll look amazing as you stroll down the sand.

1. Tone Problem Areas

This tip is obvious, but it bears repeating because there’s no way around it. Looking your best in a bikini requires toning muscles that aren’t visible in everyday wear. Even other swimsuits hide problem areas a bikini exposes.

To make sure your body is ready to greet the summer, focus on exercises aimed at areas exposed in a barely-there bikini:

Torso. If you’re a traditionalist, use sit-ups and crunches to work your ab muscles. [1] For a fun alternative, break out that retro hula hoop and give your hips a twist.

Arms and back. Lifting light weights for multiple repetitions is the best way to build long lean muscle in your arms and back. [1] Push-ups and pull-ups also whip these areas into shape. [2]

Thighs and butt. Squats, lunges, and hip abductors target muscles in these areas. [1] [3] To combine toning with a cardio workout, try swimming or running. [3]

2. Watch What You Eat

Most women who aren’t swimsuit models carry extra fat somewhere on their frame. But, that doesn’t have to stop you from sporting that super-cute two-piece you’ve set your heart on.

Decreasing caloric intake requires your metabolism to look for energy from alternative sources. Choose from these foods to be sure you’re getting balanced, satisfying nutrition that still encourages weight loss:

  • Leafy green vegetables
  • Fresh fruit
  • Poultry
  • Fish
  • Eggs [1]
  • Steel cut oats
  • Quinoa [4]

At the same time, take a lesson from the food pyramid. Limit fats and sugars as much as possible because your body likes to save them for later.

3. Get Enough Sleep

Before catching waves in your new bikini, you’ll need to catch plenty of ZZZ’s. Sleep has plenty of health benefits, including promoting a healthy metabolism and enhancing weight loss efforts. [5]

One way to get better quality sleep is to limit screen time, especially before bed. [6] Electronic devices have multiple negative effects on sleep. For one, they stimulate brain activity, making it harder to settle down and get needed rest. For another, artificial light reduces melatonin, a chemical that encourages sleep. [7]

How many hours of sleep should you aim for? According to the National Sleep Foundation, there’s “no magic number” for everyone. Still, most adults should aim for 7 to 9 hours. [8]

4. Stop Drinking Your Calories

Envisioning a relaxing day on the beach conjures up thoughts of gently crashing waves, sturdy palm trees, a fully-reclined beach chair, and a tasty cocktail, complete with tiny paper umbrella.

But, it’s best to avoid or severely limit high-calorie drinks in the weeks leading up to your beach debut. [6]. These drinks please your taste buds, but don’t satisfy your appetite. That makes it easy to drink excess calories that end up hindering weight loss.

Steer clear of cocktails, beer, soda, and other high-calorie drinks to tip the scale in your favor quickly. Even diet and “zero” calorie drink options are best avoided. [2]

Instead, make water your best friend. [6] Proper hydration allows your whole body to operate at peak efficiency. It improves digestion, hydrates skin, and reduces bloating [2].

5. Reduce Bloating

A few days before you plan to wear your bikini, get down to the business of bloat control. Bloating hides many effects of your diet and exercise efforts.

Bloating is largely controlled through diet. For instance, some foods almost certainly cause bloating. Here’s a list of what not to eat:

  • Salt
  • Canned foods
  • Beer
  • Beans [9]

Luckily, other foods have the opposite effect. These foods actually decrease bloating:

  • Peppermint
  • Celery [4]
  • Asparagus
  • Lemon
  • Cucumber
  • Parsley [10]


6. Prep Your Skin

In the final stretch, it’s important to consider minor details about your overall appearance. Skipping these steps is like putting on a gown for a red carpet event and forgetting to do your hair and makeup. Adding that final polish means your bikini—and your bikini body—get the favorable attention they deserve.

Ready for the finishing touches? Use this checklist to assess your last-minute bikini readiness.

Hair removal. Get rid of unwanted hair on your legs, arms, and around your bikini line to look your best. After all, they don’t call it a bikini wax for nothing. Remove hair a few days in advance to allow time for skin sensitivity to subside.

Skin tone. While some women are blessed with naturally tan skin, many need to augment natural color to look beach-ready. To achieve a soft bronze glow, soak up some rays in a more private location or visit the tanning parlor. For a super-quick fix, apply self-tanning lotion.

Foot care. You may not think about putting your best foot forward for a day at the beach. After all, your toes are likely to be in sand or water most of the day. But, getting a pedicure ensures your bikini confidence extends from head to toe.

7. Stand Up Straight

The day has finally arrived. Your efforts at applying the other tips have paid off, and you’re about to step out in that teeny bikini. This final tip shows off your confidence and accentuates your assets.

Make your mother proud by practicing proper posture. That means keeping the shoulders back, head up, and back straight. [9] You might not instantly look like Miss America, but good posture gives a sleeker appearance to the figure. This is particularly true of your midsection and back. [2]

Whatever your reason for stepping out in a bikini, these 7 tips offer a surefire way transform your body to its hot, summer shape. Unlike the girl in the yellow polka dot number, you’ll be ready to turn some heads.


Mike Jackson is nutritional consultant as well as a freelance writer for in the field of health and fitness. He specializes physique transformation and contest preparation for all levels of competitor. Mike is currently based out of Salt Lake City, Utah.


[1] “How to Get a Bikini Worthy Body.”

[2] Clark, Shannon. “20 Tips for a Bikini-Ready Body.” 2007 Mar 29.

[3] “How to Get in Shape for a Bikini.”

[4] Smith, Jessica. “The Best and Worst Foods for a Bikini Body.”

[5] “11 Surprising Health Benefits of Sleep.”

[6] Meyers, Laura Marie. “5 No-Sweat Ways to Kick-Start Your Bikini Body.” 2012 Mar 19.

[7] O’Connor, Anahad. “Really? Using a Computer Before Bed Can Disrupt Sleep.”  NY Times blogs. 2012 Sep 10.

[8] National Sleep Foundation. “How Much Sleep Do We Really Need?”

[9] WebMD. “Bikini Countdown Slideshow: 25 Ways to Get Ready for Swimsuit Season.”

[10] Egan, Christine. “Bikini Body Breakdown: 8 Tips To Accelerate Your Body Into A Swimsuit.” 2011 May 11.