The 5 day emergency bikini plan

If you booked your Caribbean yacht vacation to escape the cold and dark of January at home but indulged a little too much over the party season, chances are you're probably not feeling quite beach-ready at the moment. There's nothing like the chance to relax in a tropical destination on your own superyacht but hectic post-Christmas schedules can leave you with little time to prepare. Leading nutritionists and trainers give Lucia Berni the lowdown on looking brilliant in the best bikinis – even when you have less than a week to go.


David Kirsch, who has trained yacht-loving models Kate Upton, and Heidi Klum, recommends “eating five meals between 7am and 7pm as this will help speed up your metabolism”. Aim for breakfast, lunch and dinner with a snack morning and afternoon. A protein shake or handful of almonds with lean protein will work as one of the snacks.

Nutritionist Ian Marber suggests “a low-carb, high protein diet for five days, though it’s not good to stick to this long term. Choose as many green vegetables as possible (less sugar)”.

Trainer and author James Duigan, who has trained Elle Macpherson and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, reminds us: “Avoid alcohol. It’s your worst enemy when you are trying to get into shape and just makes you sluggish and bloated.” Remember to snack wisely. Duigan advises turkey slices, nuts or blueberries.


Trainer Josh Clark, responsible for some of the best bikini bodies in West London, says, “If you really want to shed pounds, try 40 minutes of cardio every morning before breakfast. You’ll need to combine this with a combination of walking lunges (40 each leg), squat jumps (aim for 50), push-ups and crunches (as many as you can do) to see results.”

Elissa El Hadj, founder of London’s Form Studios and METcore training (a combination of cardio, Pilates, ballet and more) says, “The quickest way to tone upper arms is a daily series of different push-ups including regular, close grip and triangle. These can be done on holiday, too, as they don’t require any equipment.”

Trainer Matt Roberts warns against dropping all the good work when you’re away, “Any routines that work in small spaces are great, but I’ll also coordinate with the captain on the schedule and ask whether they are mooring offshore or in a harbour; offshore, there is surprisingly little chance of swimming the length of a 100 metre yacht. Much easier to do in a harbour.”

Extra tips

Limit coffee to one cup per day and try Josh Clark’s early morning brew: “Before cardio try a green tea with half a squeezed lemon and a teaspoon of cinnamon. This is a natural fat burner.” For a flatter tummy, Ian Marber advises a probiotic supplement for at least five days. “This reduces inflammation and bloating. Optibac Probiotic Every Day Extra Strength is excellent.”


Josh Wood Atelier’s Dress Size Downsize (£85) is a 90-minute body massage and mask, which is popular because it does what it says: a temporary loss of a few centimetres on waist, hips and thighs. It’s a combination of sea salt and essential oil exfoliation followed by a heated body wrap and then a very cold algae body mask that peels off to reveal Jessica Alba-soft skin and smoother, slimmer thighs.


Epsom Salts have been used for years by models before photo-shoots. The salts are full of magnesium and encourage the body to shed toxins quickly and may boost digestion. Pour two capfuls into a hot bath and soak for at least 20 minutes three times a week.

Dry body brushing makes legs, upper arms and tummy appear more toned. It helps with lymphatic drainage, exfoliates and makes everything look smoother. The Mio Body Brush (£14.50) has tiny massage nodules; follow with a toning body oil. Clarins Tonic Body Treatment Oil (£40) is one of its best sellers.

Finally, a good fake tan can make you look – and feel – pounds lighter. Our favourite is St Tropez Self Tan Express Advanced Bronzing Mousse (£33).


Don’t underestimate the power of a well-cut bikini. Swimwear designer Melissa Odabash advises, “If you have a smaller bust go for a bandeau style with ruching or frills. If you have shorter legs, go for a tie-side brief to help elongate the legs and if you have an hourglass shape be sure to go for anything that shows off your waist.”

Pictured: Aruba bandeau bikini, from £97, Melissa Odabash; Cancun triangle bikini, £97, Melissa Odabash