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JJ Flizanes in The Daily Breeze

Posted by Levine Communications Office on May 13, 2011

Shape up for summer and find the right swimsuit for your shape

When swimsuit season arrives, insecurities seem to follow.

But there is a right swimsuit for every person – you just have to know how to find it.

Juliana Renz, who designs the celebrity-favorite swimwear line Le Doux, says the key to buying a swimsuit is knowing your body type.

“To me, swimwear is about knowing what your body looks like and how to create the illusion of proportion,” Renz said. “I think that’s what you try to accomplish when you buy swimwear – to hide the less pleasant areas, whatever it is. So to me, it’s about creating proportion where you don’t have it.”

On top of choosing the right bathing suit for your body, having the right workout and nutrition plan is crucial when it comes time for summer.

JJ Flizanes of El Segundo was named Best Personal Trainer in Los Angeles by Elite Traveler magazine. She has been featured in magazines such as Shape and Self, and recently published her first book, “Fit 2 Love” (Bush Street Press, 2010).

Flizanes recommends people looking to drop pounds go on a gluten-free, dairy-free and low-sugar diet, because all three can lead to bloating, stomach pain and water weight.

A gluten-free diet, she says, will eliminate many unnecessary carbohydrates, leaving people with a more paleolithic diet, which consists of mostly meats, fish, vegetables, fruits and nuts.

Flizanes also suggests consuming high-fiber vegetables and fruits, including artichokes and raspberries.

“Stay away from artificial sweeteners and the sugars – they can screw up your hormones and cravings and it leads you to eat more,” Flizanes said.

In addition to cardio workouts – during which, she says, people should use a heart monitor to ensure they are reaching their target heart rate – Flizanes has some exercise recommendations specific to certain body types.

Those exercises, paired with tips on what bathing suits work best for what body types, should help you shed those insecurities and look your swimsuit best.

Body type: Pear shape

Women who tend to be fuller in the lower body should stay away from thick bottoms such as boy shorts, because the more fabric there is in one area – especially in a solid color – the bigger it looks, says .

The idea, she says, is to stay away from anything – such as horizontal stripes – that makes you look wider in the lower half.

Renz recommends string-tie bottoms with a higher cut on the leg to make the area appear smaller, and a top with more fabric to give the illusion of proportion.

Carol McCormick, head of technical design for Speedo, says design elements that draw the attention up to the neck area and away from the lower body will help with this body type – for example, a solid bottom paired with a print top.

To look your best in a swimsuit, suggests pear-shaped women do lunges to work their quadriceps and glutes.

“It’s a strength-training exercise but it’s also going to tighten and lift,” Flizanes said. “Pear-shaped people, you just don’t want it to be jiggly. So if I grow muscle here (quads and glutes) it will be tighter and also give the appearance that it’s smaller. If you grow muscle there, not that it replaces fat, but it increases your metabolism and then changes your composition.”

swimwear designer Juliana Renz trainer JJ Flizanes Lunge

No equipment needed. Start with three sets of 20 to 25 repetitions on each side.

Step 1: Keep you feet in line with your hips and extend one leg back, toes facing forward.

Step 2: Bend your front knee until it is over the ankle. Lower your back leg to the floor.

Body type: Apple shape

One-piece bathing suits are ideal for women who carry weight in their midsection. A high cut on the thigh gives the illusion of a waistline, says Renz.

Renz also recommends embellishments, color or plunging necklines to take attention away from the midsection. A dark color around the waist will give it a slimming appearance.

McCormick suggests a one-piece that provides extra support in the stomach area.

“We have something that’s called Core Compression, and it’s like a tummy control in the suit,” McCormick said of Speedo swimwear. “We also have something that’s called the 360 Degree Core Control and it has a little more power to it than the Core Compression does, because it’s going to pull in the front of the body and the back of the body. It’s really going to pull it in all the way around.”

Cardio is going to be important for women who carry weight in their midsection, but Flizanes also recommends abdominal work.

Two exercises that focus more on the lower abs – which are generally not used as often – are the ball pass and reverse crunch.

Ball pass

Requires an exercise ball and a mat. Start with three sets of 20 full repetitions.

Step 1: While lying on your back, grab the ball with your hands and lift your legs into the air, making sure the lower back is tight against the floor.

Step 2: Use your pelvis and rib cage to draw your arms and legs to the center and place the ball between your legs.

Step 3: Grab the ball with your legs and relax back to the start position.

Reverse crunch

(below)

Requires a mat. Start with three sets of 20 to 25 repetitions.

Step 1: Lie on your back with your legs up and knees slightly bent.

Step 2: Draw in from the pubic bones and pull your pelvis forward. The spine should curl and lift off of the floor. Exhale when you crunch.

Body type: Smaller bust

Women with smaller busts want to choose a swimsuit with ruffles, ruching or anything across the front bust that gives it more depth, says Renz. Bandeau tops are appealing, she says, and suits that allow padding also are options.

To help take focus away from the bust area, Flizanes recommends toning and accentuating the shoulders. To do this, she suggests a shoulder press.

And by doing a shoulder press while sitting on a ball, she says, you get the added benefit of a core workout, as you are forced to balance yourself during the exercise.

Shoulder press

Requires an exercise ball and a pair of dumbbells – choose a weight appropriate for your strength. Start with three sets of 20 to 25 repetitions.

Step 1: Sit on the center of the ball with feet flat on the floor.

Step 2: With a dumbbell in each hand, bring your arms up to shoulder height and bend the elbows at a 90-degree angle. Keep the dumbbells by your ears – or slightly in front.

Step 3: Extend your arms up and over your head, using your shoulders to lift.

Body type: Larger bust

The most important thing women with larger busts should keep in mind, says Renz, is support. Halter tops, cups, and suits made with a band on the bottom to hold the chest in place are ideal, she says.

Speedo offers two solutions, the Hydro-Bra and the No Wire Underwire, both of which provide support similar to an underwire without an underwire present, says McCormick. She says plunging necklines also are appealing.

Women with larger busts want to be sure they do chest exercises, which will keep the area firm and lifted, says Flizanes. She recommends chest presses, which also work the shoulders and triceps.

Chest press

Requires an exercise ball, mat and a pair of dumbbells. Start with three sets of 25 to 30 slow repetitions.

Step 1: Lie on the ball with your head and shoulders supported and your feet flat on the floor.

Step 2: Lift your butt in the air to create a table with your lower body.

Step 3: Holding a dumbbell in each hand, lift the weights until your upper arms are in line with your shoulders. Lift the dumbbells higher by bending your elbows at a right angle.

Step 4: Lift the dumbbells until arms are straight, above chest.

Step 5: Pull in your abs, keep your chest up, and lower the dumbbells for a count of 2. Make an arc and focus on pulling – not pushing – your arms into the center with your chest.

Body type: Thin

Women who are thin can generally take risks with their swimwear, says Renz. For example, she says, one-piece bathing suits with cutouts on the sides are great for thin women.

McCormick recommends suits that provide some asymmetry, because women with a thin body type tend to be more linear. She also recommends some kind of embellishment to draw attention to the suit.

And though a woman may be thin, it doesn’t necessarily mean she is in shape, says Flizanes. A good, full-body exercise is the plank pose, which will work the shoulders, chest, triceps and core.

Plank

No equipment needed. Hold the position three times, for 60 seconds each.

Step 1: Start with your hands and knees on the floor, with your arms straight and positioned slightly wider than your shoulders.

Step 2: Transition onto your toes, and raise your butt until it is the same height or higher than your shoulders. Hold this position.

Note: To increase the difficulty, lift one leg into the air. This works your butt and hamstrings.

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