If I’m honest, I am not a massive fan of working out. That said, I do like to look good in a bikini when I’m on holiday. With my own summer vacation fast approaching, I thought what better time to catch up with my personal trainer (PT) Ben Weekes, who has just launched Life Balance to find out from him how to get bikini body ready in just two weeks!
Ben is a PT with extensive experience in the industry having worked for various Nuffield’s for the best part of a decade. He’s recently set up his own personal training company called Life Balance because that’s what it’s all about – helping busy Londoners to achieve better health and balance in their lives by exercising more effectively. Ben focuses on training clients outside in green spaces or urban environments because most of us spend so much time inside, and this is a simple way to make their exercise time more enjoyable, as well as teach them to do useful movements, outside the repetitive actions of gym machines. Life Balance will also be offering group classes in the near future.
Why did you become a Personal Trainer and Wellbeing Advisor?
I always loved fitness, even as a young teenager – it’s pretty normal to pretend to be older to sneak into the pub, but I used to pretend to be older to gain access to the gym. Becoming a PT happened by chance. My dad is a sports journalist, and not knowing what I wanted to study, I ended up doing journalism at university – I hated it and dropped out in my second year.
I was broke, depressed and not sure what I was going to do with my life. I spent my last £60 on becoming a member at the local gym and became such a familiar face there that I was offered a stopgap job working there. My love for exercise made becoming a PT the obvious next step. I started taking courses and studying like crazy, and after many years of experience and courses later, I am where I am today.
What’s the most common mistake you see people make when they start training/ dieting; how could this be avoided?
People go too fast too soon. The desire to see instant results means people throw themselves into routines that are unsustainable and will never help them achieve long-term change. Small, lasting tweaks in your lifestyle are all you need to succeed over the long term. If you need a quick fix, by all means, jump on a strict diet and workout regime, just be aware that it’s probably not going to do you much good in the long-term.
What’s the most common reason people fail to reach their goals? What could they do to ensure this doesn’t happen?
Consistency. Nobody needs to be working at 100% every minute of every workout in order to achieve their goals, but you do need to have consistency in your training. Always have your end goals in mind when you’re thinking ‘I might just skip that workout today…’, keep in mind that it might feel like a treat today, but it’ll make life harder tomorrow.
What matters more: diet or training? (Being a girl who loves her cheeseburger, this was an important one for me to ask)!
There are some big misconceptions with both, and to make it even more complicated, it changes from person to person. As we know, there are some lucky bastards in the world who seem able to eat absolutely anything and look even more ripped than ever, and others who just look at a carb and put on an extra 5kg. Not only that, but there are some people who put on muscle really easily, but also put on fat easily. And then some who are the complete opposite to that, losing fat super easily but struggling to increase muscle mass, or struggle to gain weight at all.
My point is everybody is different! Everyone needs to refuel their body and everyone needs to move their bodies. People will struggle to achieve their overall goals without one or the other depending on who they are and what their body likes. Diet definitely underpins exercise, whether you’re talking health or aesthetics.
What’s the most effective one single exercise people can do?
For me, my go-to exercise is a Kettlebell swing. It gets your whole body moving, and it’s cardio and strength training in one. Targeting a ridiculous amount of muscle groups, this exercise works the whole of the posterior chain (rear of the body). Our modern lifestyle simultaneously neglects and puts strain on this area of the body (so many of us spend all day sitting down), so it’s even more important to target this region to use your body more effectively
How to get bikini body ready
I’ve been training with Ben for a couple of months now, and have surprisingly really enjoyed it. I haven’t instantly transformed into a Victoria Secret’s model, but I am looking lean and toned, and I feel stronger. So, I was keen to challenge him ahead of my holiday and give me a simple workout that would not require too much time (10 – 20 minutes), that would get me bikini ready, and that I could do while away when I didn’t want to spend too much time focusing on staying in shape. Check out his simple plan.
Round 1 – 20 seconds on, 10 seconds off
Squat jumps: stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Start by doing a regular squat, then engage your core and jump up explosively. When you land, lower your body back into the squat position to complete one rep. Land as quietly as possible, which requires control.
Forward lunge into reverse lunge: start off in a neutral position with your feet next to one another and then move into a forward lunge with the right leg. Then move directly into a reverse lunge on that same right leg.
Side skaters: start in a small squat. Jump sideways to the right, landing on your right leg. Bring your right leg close to your left ankle, but don’t let it touch the floor. Reverse direction by jumping to the left with your left leg to complete one rep.
Spiderman plank: start in an elbow or full plank. Draw one knee to the outside shoulder. Return to plank and repeat while alternating sides.
Round 2 – 20 seconds on, 10 seconds off
Plyo lunge: stand with your left foot in front of you and point both feet forward. Lunge down while leaning your torso forward slightly without rounding your spine. Exhale and jump straight up, swinging your arms over your head and extending your torso. Land gently on the ground in the same position as you had started and repeat the jump as fast as you can.
Sumo squat pulses: start with your feet in a wide stance, toes pointed out as far as is comfortable. Keeping your back and spine in a neutral position, and torso upright, tighten your core. Bend the knees outwards so they remain over your ankles, and sit down with your butt into a squat position. Squeezing your glutes, rise up about 2-3 inches, and then lower. This is one ‘pulse’.
Burpees: a burpee is a four-point move. From a standing position, drop into a squat with your hands on the ground just in front of your feet. Then kick your feet back behind you, keeping your arms extended so you are in a raised plank position. Remain in the raised plank and jump your feet back towards your hands. Then round off the manoeuvre by leaping into the air with your arms straight above you.
Plank donkey kick: begin in a plank position with your arms directly under shoulders, abs engaged toward the spine. Don’t let the pelvis sag down or pop up. Lift left leg off the ground, bending your knee so the sole of your foot is toward the ceiling.
Round 3 – 20 seconds on, 10 seconds off
Jumping knee tucks: start with your feet apart and your chest up. Drop your butt back and down, drive your arms up and push off the floor whilst lifting your knees toward your chest. Bend your knees as you land to absorb the impact.
Single leg glute bridge: Lay on the floor with your feet flat and knees bent. Raise one leg off of the ground, pulling the knee into a tabletop position. This will be your starting position. Drive through the heel, extending your hip upward and raising your glutes off of the ground.
Plank jack: begin in a plank position with your shoulders over your wrists, your feet together, and your body in a straight line.Similar to the motion of a jumping jack, jump your feet wide keeping your bum down. Jump your feet back together.
Reverse crunch: Lie on the ground in a traditional crunch position, your feet flat on the floor and hands underneath your head. Press your lower back into the floor and pull in your belly button to lift your feet off of the floor. Keep your knees together, bent at 90-degree angles.
If you have time, REPEAT!
If you are interested in training with Life Balance, you can find out more about their packages here, you can also follow Life Balance on Instagram @life_balance_personal_training.Good luck with your pre-holiday workout. Ben and I hope that you find this routine helpful and would love to hear how you get on!
Until next time, safe travels.
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