Tough Love: Bikini Edition

As you all may have noticed, swimsuit season is rapidly approaching.  The people at my gym sure have noticed; it was busy busy busy on Saturday morning.  With swimsuit season comes a barrage of bikini tips and tricks.  You’ve probably started noticing headlines like these:


I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but these types of articles aren’t usually written with your best interest in mind.  The mass media’s so sneaky! 


Margaritas Are Not Flat-Belly Foods

Writers often write what you want to hear – you know, like the plethora of articles saying wine and chocolate are good for you.  (I’m not denying they certainly have health perks, but these articles repeatedly make the news because that’s what people want to hear.  “Ten Ways Broccoli Helps Your Heart” is a less sexy cover story.)


This post wasn’t written to tell you what you want to hear.  You’re welcome.  I have compiled a few tips that have worked for me in the past.  You’ve probably heard them all, but a little reminder never hurt anyone.


  • Muscles boost metabolism.  Doing cardio all day will burn mega calories, but if you want to keep that incinerator burning all day long, you’ve got to add muscle.  (Side Note: Weenie weights don’t add muscle.)
  • Abs are made in the kitchen. A million crunches per day won’t get you a six-pack if you’ve got a layer of fat covering the abs.  Abs hide very easily, so even a thin layer can mask your hard work.  Diet is key!
  • Target-toning is a myth.  You can work on trouble spots every once in a while, but only doing crunches for a tight tummy or only doing squats for a perky bum won’t work.  Sorry.  I wish it were so simple.
  • Too much tummy toning can backfire.  Many training programs (ie: workout dvds) focus on oblique muscles (side abs) because working them makes you feel the burn.  However, over-training this area can actually make your torso wider.  Jennifer Nicole Lee (fitness model) discusses here take HERE, and I 100% agree.
  • Sugar is the enemy.  Fat is no longer the enemy since we get the good stuff from avocados, flax, and other great sources.  Sugar, on the other hand, is still evil. Fruit is great in moderation, but be VERY mindful of added sugars.
  • Some foods can help with weight loss, but their powers are exaggerated. It’s true that eggs are a wonderful source of nutrients with a protein punch.  It’s also true that celery is extremely low-calorie.  But we all know that one cannot live on “10 flat-ab foods” alone.  Just follow Michael Pollan’s advice:


Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.


That wasn’t too much tough love was it?  I don’t think so.  Sugar-coating weight loss advice is like sugar-coating food.  It doesn’t help you reach your goals any faster.


  • Any extra tips I missed?

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26 Responses to Tough Love: Bikini Edition

  1. Great tips girl! I totally agree with all of this. It drives me crazy when I see girls doing an hour of cardio at the gym followed by ab work… yet they never even pick up a set of weights! 😛 If they really want abs, weights are the way to go for sure.

  2. Awesome post! Now, only if I could get myself to do everything on here.

  3. You don’t beat around that bush and I like it! I think those mag articles often say true things but people pull out what they like and then go extreme with it. I agree with all your tips and they are good reminders and bathing suit seasons rolls around!

  4. SO true. I love this post. And weenie weights drive me nuts haha

  5. GREAT advice! You are so right about the muscle… and the sugar. It is the devil. Tasty… but the devil.

    I wish some one would invent red wine that makes you develop 6 pack abs.

  6. I LOVE this quote: Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.

  7. I absolutely LOVE this post! I agree with your tips 100%. I didn’t know that about the abs though! I rarely spot train, so I don’t usually have issues with over training that area, but still, so interesting!!

    Ok, I lied, I do spot train some, but it is not to lose weight. I am working to build the muscles in my hips so they are stronger when I run … before they would hurt when I ran, now … it only happens if I push myself too far.

    Great post!

    • Tiff says:

      I’m so happy to hear your hips are doing better, even if they’re not 100% yet. I think my hip exercises are helping, slowly but surely.

  8. It really is all about finding a balance with what you eat and making sure to get off your butt and move each day! I tend to have a problem snacking (esp since I work on a computer all day) If I have food around me I’ll eat it!

    • Tiff says:

      I work at a computer too, and I am NOT one of those people who can keep a candy jar on their desk. I’d be refilling it all the time!

  9. Allie says:

    THANK YOU for this post and some reality! Those magazine articles make me want to punch them–and none of them approach it from a, “Hey, just be and healthy and you” approach. Should everyone want to look like the models they put in those articles? Nope. Eat well, live well, stay active. And rock that bikini with confidence and you’ll look good, regardless!

  10. Yes! I love Michael Pollan’s advice (and yours)!! 🙂

  11. Great tips, I knew them all but a refresher can’t hurt. And I love that you mentioned Michael Pollan – the man is great.

  12. Great post! 🙂 I have a cruise in 30 days and am trying to limit the beer between now and then. Yikes.

  13. Thanks for telling it like it is and super helpful tips! I can’t wait til beer becomes one of the “flat abs” foods 🙂

  14. awesome post Tiff….
    you mean I cant live on eggs and celery??? LOL
    Love the article about obliques too… very interesting.

    xoxo from Trinidad

  15. Ugh. Hate to read it, because you know it’s true.

  16. Great tips and all so true. You know I’m a big fan of the strength training one.

  17. Love this! Great tips…and honesty is way better when it comes to stuff like this!

  18. This is definitely true! I need to upgrade my strength training I think…and eat healthier at night.. AND cut down on drinking. Booo

  19. Favorite quote: “Weenie weights don’t add muscle”!!! 🙂 One tip I use sometimes is to spend weekends around my house in a bikini or at least shorts and sports bra. Certainly helps me remember to NOT snack aimlessly or over indulge!!

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