Getting your body ready for summer is not as simple as cutting out entire food groups for a couple of weeks or going for a half-hearted gym session here and there.

According to healthy living expert Laura Williams, we need to concentrate on both diet and exercise in order to hone our bum, stomach and thighs ahead of the annual beach holiday.

"Exercise will tone and firm trouble spots and burn fat too, while diet is equally if not more effective at helping the body shed fat stores," she said.

As with most things, practice makes perfect - so make small but long-term changes to your diet and exercise regime to see the best results.

"In the run up to bikini season, it’s better to be consistent earlier on. Last minute shape ups are a long shot at getting beach ready - if you’ve been working on your diet and exercise routine for a couple of months beforehand, you’ve got a better chance of looking how you want," explained Laura.

As well as doing generic cardio activities to get your heart rate up and start burning off those calories, the best way to sculpt your body is to add specific exercises to your regime.

"The best exercises for toning the bottom are exercises like squats, lunges, deadlifts. You can also isolate the gluteal (bottom) muscles with moves like bridges and kickbacks," the expert added.

Investing in quality Yoga mats could be an ideal way to tone up before the summer as Yoga is said to help devotees lose weight, become more flexible and trim their figure if practised frequently.

There are plenty of Yoga options to choose between, including basic stretching poses, Ashanti Yoga and the super-heated Bikram Yoga, in which exercisers stay in a room heated to 105 degrees Fahrenheit while they perfect their sun salutations.

Posted by Freya Harper