Get a bikini body like Lucy Mecklenburgh: Flat stomach tips, circuit training and weights

The Only Way is Essex star Lucy Mecklenburgh is looking bloomin' fantastic thanks to a new hardcore workout routine.

The reality TV star has a to-die-for flat stomach, toned hips, slim thighs and, most importantly, she's still in glowingly good health. If you're looking at this picture of Lucy and wishing you had a similar physique, now's the time to get motivated.

Lucy's been working hard to film her new fitness channel, Results With Lucy, that focuses on bums, tums, cardio and strength training.

If you're feeling inspired, take a look at this advice to get you started on your journey towards a tight and toned tummy...

1. Watch what you eat

You can do a million crunches, but if your abs are covered with a layer of fat all that hard-work will be for nothing. Make like Lucy and work on cutting your body fat levels with a diet of veggies, fruit, wholegrains and 'good fats' like avocados and nuts. If you're an adventurous cook, you could try making your own sushi like Lucy, which is low in fat and high in protein.

Remember it's not about starving yourself. You need to feed your muscles and stay strong because this is what maintains a fast metabolism. Eat small, healthy, low calorie meals regularly for the best results.

2. Don't try and 'spot reduce' stomach fat

It's not physically possible to burn fat in your desired area. No matter how much you hate your stomach, fat won't necessarily drop off there first. The trick is to focus on an all-over body workout, including cardiovascular exercises like running, skipping and rowing.

3. Start with a simple circuit

If you don't want to go to the gym (or can't afford the hefty price of memberships) try this simple circuit that you can do in front of the television. Start with squat jumps: Stand with your feet roughly shoulder-width apart, then slowly bend your legs and arms to about 90 degrees at the same time. Once your thighs are parallel to the floor, explode into the air as high as you can go. Land softly and repeat the motion again.

Now that the weather's nice follow squats with some skipping rope action and then burpees. These two exercises work your whole body and will improve your coordination, footwork and balance. Start in a standing position and bend down to place your hands on the floor. Shoot both of your legs backward into a push-up position, then bring them back to your chest quickly. Stand up and repeat the movement for eight to ten repetitions.

Add lunges and push-ups to tone your thighs, bum and upper chest. Lunges can be performed with no added weight or with a dumbbell in each hand for more of a challenge. Start with eight to ten reps or 20 to 25 seconds and modify the resistance or reps according to your fitness level.

4. Even Lucy was worried about building too much muscle...

In this video, Lucy mentions that she was initially worried about becoming too bulky, but it's actually a training myth. Building lots of muscle that alters your body shape takes many years, expert nutrition and complete dedication. Unlike men, women don't produces masses of testosterone which is key in building big bulky muscles. Instead weight training will make you shapelier, thinner and more toned.

Start by doing the circuit routine above with small dumbbells, or add some ankle and wrist weights when you're walking to the local shops.

5. Tackle those hips, saddle bags and upper thighs

Start with side planks by laying on your side with your body in a straight line, your elbow under your shoulder and your feet stacked. Keeping tall and tight, raise your hips off the floor and hold the position. Do not let your hips drop and squeeze your glutes to keep your hips forward and your body in a straight line.

Next try leg extensions: These are a great strength training exercise so start on your stomach on an exercise or yoga mat. Make sure that your legs are fully extended behind you. Rest your arms by your sides, or extended out and away from your body. Take a deep breath. As you exhale, use the muscles in your thighs to extend your legs up towards the sky. Inhale your breath, and slowly lower your legs back to the floor. Perform two sets of ten repetitions of the exercise in order to ensure optimal results.

6. Be consistent and stay motivated

Lucy's fellow TOWIE star Lydia Bright believes the best way to stay motivated is to put the perfect picture of yourself on the fridge. Find a snap of yourself looking your best and use it to ward you off those choccie biscuits.

If you're really determined to lose weight and get a body like Lucy's, you have to stick to a plan. There's no point giving up after a few weeks. Only you can make a significant difference to your body - Yes you'll be tired, yes you'll be sweaty but, boy, will you feel great when you've done it!

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