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How to score a Brazilian bikini body

Woman in bikini with football - How to score a Brazilian beach body - Diet&wellbeing -

All eyes are on the action in the World Cup in the South American nation known for producing some of the world’s hottest talent both on and off the football pitch.

Who'd like a belly like Gisele Bundchen? Legs like Alessandra Ambrosio? Or a backside like Adriana Lima?

According to fitness expert Regina Joseph, anyone can have a fantastic bikini body – you just have to live life the Brazilian way.

The creator of the Brazilian Bikini Body Programme promises you a physique to rival that of Amazonian hotties Gisele and co in just 30 days. As Joseph puts it: 'What woman doesn’t want to be the girl from Ipanema?'

Combine a carefree approach with good eating, including top Brazilian superfoods like açai, and regular fun exercise like the martial art capoeira, and you’ll be ready for Copacabana in no time!

Here’s how you can score a fantastic physique in just a few weeks…

What is the Brazilian Bikini Body Programme?

The best-selling book is the creation of workout mogul Regina Joseph who has tempted women around the world with the goal of being able to eat wholesomely and well while keeping your body fit and strong.

'Who, man or woman, doesn’t want to approach their lives with a winning smile and a body to match?' she says. 'It’s an attitude, a look and a presence that I call the Brazilian Bikini Body.'

If you follow Joseph’s advice on how to eat and exercise the Brazilian way, she claims the programme will increase energy and produce fat loss while sculpting the body, leaving dieters bikini-ready in just 30 days.

But you have to be prepared to commit to making long-term changes too. 'In the last five years, after the cyclical waves of success and relapse experienced by the millions who jumped on diet ‘revolutions’ like Atkins and others, people have finally begun to accept that diets are not effective at creating long-lasting changes in your health and body,' she says.

'Only lifestyle programmes that combine realistic eating plans with exercise regimens have the efficacy required to deliver long-term body transformations.'

How does it differ from other diets?

As Joseph says, it’s the season for signing up to some long-term changes. Don’t think of it as a diet, because it isn’t!

'The BBBP is not a diet. It is a lifestyle programme designed to instil good eating and fitness habits. Try it for yourself, and then see if you can't get your partner, your kids, your parents, and your friends to add a little Brazilian flair to staying healthy,' she says.

'This is a holistic system that addresses both body and mind in three parts: attitude, food and movement. It is based on Brazilian foods, culture and, most important, style.'

Joseph outlines the Brazilian way of eating by packing fruit and veg into each meal – like adding cooked veggies to mashed potato and frying, for a tasty and nutritious South American version of a hashbrown - and highlights Brazilian superfoods to boost nutrition. She also offers dieters a fun way to exercise with a combination of Pilates and the Brazilian martial art, capoeira.

'How do the Brazilians do it?' she asks. 'They don’t deprive themselves, or beat themselves up at the gym, and yet they radiate vitality and embrace life. The answer lies in attitude; Brazilians view eating as an opportunity to savour delicious and nutritious meals in the midst of their busy lives. Secondly they include movement – fun, playful movement – as part of their everyday experience.'

Embrace your imperfections

Refreshingly, Joseph places a great deal of emphasis on the reduction of stress by adopting the Brazilian approach to life of passion and joy. She promises to have you bikini-ready, but also points out that it’s okay to embrace your imperfections; Brazilians tend to be more willing than most when it comes to showing off their bodies on the beach, no matter their size.

'You can sculpt a body fit for the beach in Rio and adapt an outlook resilient enough to shrug off whatever life throws at you, as well as the flair to carry it off memorably,' she says.

And chuck any size zero obsessions out the window! 'Westerners obsessed with becoming a size zero could take a confidence lesson from Brazilians,' adds Joseph, who points out that becoming body confident will pay off in your relationship and in your working life.

'While American women struggle and starve in their media-driven pursuits, Brazilians don't see anything sexy in a body that can fit in a size zero dress. The Brazilian embrace of what defines sexiness is also a critical component of the BBBP. This psychological component, a change in perspective of what it is to be sexy and how to live life well, is also a key part of the BBBP.'

Add that Latin flavour

The world may be going crazy for all things Brazilian in 2014, but that’s nothing new for Joseph who started developing the programme after a healing trip to the country some 10 years ago.

'People around the world are fascinated by this legendarily sexy and creative nation - famous for its football, beautiful people, music, architecture and design, cinema and literature, and for its hedonistic celebration of life, the apotheosis of which is the annual Carnaval,' she says.

And as an evangelist for all things Brazilian, she’s keen that women around the world can learn from their Latina counterparts.

'While there, I could see that people's attitudes towards their bodies, their food, and their lives were extremely different,' writes Joseph online. 'An inherent embrace of pragmatism, joie de vivre, and sexiness, in spite of very difficult living conditions, were the hallmarks of the Brazilian experience. I began to envision how this sensibility could be translated for people outside of Brazil.'

Keep things green

As well as eating healthily, thinking positively and moving more, the programme is unique in offering a more sustainable way of living as well as a more streamlined you.

Dubbing the updated plan ‘the first comprehensive eco-friendly guide to looking better and feeling sexier while making a positive impact in the conservation of the Earth's resources’, Joseph has tapped into the fact that many people want to know more about ‘how the food they eat affects the world they live in’.

'Brazil's Amazon region provides not only extremely nutritious and important foods like açaí, other fruits and nuts … but also a testing ground in which fair trade practice in harvesting and selling these products can have a direct impact on conservation of the forest and indirectly, economic and climate policies.'

She says the programme’s development was partly driven by the importance of the South American nation’s agricultural exports, as well as its natural resources: 'Whether it's the food we eat, or the fuel that powers our vehicles, Brazil's bounty is now under the spotlight of the world stage.'

What can I eat?

Don’t worry – you won’t be scoring an own goal by living on tiny portions or vegan fare for weeks on end. This isn’t a low-carb plan, dairy is included… and so is dessert 'in portions that offer a few small but sweet mouthfuls, offer a counterpoint to meals that can prevent you from tipping over into bad habits due to deprivation'.

The emphasis is on fresh foods used in Brazilian cuisine with fruit smoothies and juices, vegetable salads, grilled seafood and meat with the addition of nuts and legumes to round out the meal plans. Grains are limited to small portions, as the majority of carbohydrates are obtained from fruit and vegetables, and the flavours are bold and delicious – think coconut, lime, red palm oil, cherries, kale, salt cod and pumpkin.

As Joseph puts it, 'For 30 days, your breakfast, lunch and dinner will be composed of the very Brazilian flavours of key superfoods.'

Try a sample daily menu

Read up on Brazilian superfoods

Breakfast Superfood smoothie, made from açai pulp with guarana, banana, vanilla soy milk and peanut butter
Morning snack
Coconut water
Tuna salad made with tuna, red onion, pickle, celery, olive oil, lime juice and hard-boiled egg, served with watercress salad with palm heart stalks and tomato
Afternoon snack
Honey nut crumble and a cup of maté
Fried fish served with broccoli and cauliflower with spinach sauce
Coconut flan and prune compote

Get active

Joseph, a trained Pilates instructor, has combined Pilates exercises with a capoeira workout to provide a balanced fitness program that includes cardiovascular, muscle strengthening and flexibility. 

'Both require strength and propulsion from the lower abdominal and back muscles and must be initiated from the core and extend outward to the limbs,' she says of the two approaches. 'And both emphasise total focus and concentration and establishing a connection between the mind and body.'

'But where capoeira demands speed, agility and power, Pilates optimises the body’s ability to deliver all three. The effect gives practitioners a longer, leaner look; heightens the sense of strength, control and mastery over one’s body; and consequently leaves exercisers feeling rejuvenated and exhilarated.'

In the book, workouts are tailored to fit your lifestyle, depending on whether you can fit in ten minutes, half an hour or an hour. She also shakes it up with a little yoga and even the odd cha-cha-cha!

To perform the capoeira move known as 'ginga', stand with feet hip-width apart and parallel, knees bent (your weight should be on the balls of your feet).

Extend your right leg behind you and bend your left knee slightly. Raise your right arm in front of your face while moving your left hand behind you.

Then bring your right leg forward again and stand with legs parallel. Keep your centre of gravity low, leaning the upper body forward as if you were about to sit down. 

Repeat the movements for the left side – do 10 on each side.

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