Do a quick strength workout before hitting the beach. Do moves that tax your whole body. But increase your reps and speed up your pace to force blood into your muscles. Decrease the weight so that you can do sets of 15 reps.
The more blood you have in your muscles, the more toned you’ll look.Guzzling a few glasses of water before hitting the beach will help flush your system and relieve bloating.
You may have used self-tanner before to minimize the appearance of cellulite, but now that you’re training, use it to enhance the look of your muscles. Color makes your muscle definition pop because it brings out the shadows.
Avoid beans, for example, if they’re hard for you to digest or make you bloat. Dairy has the same effect for some.
And most important, minimize your sodium intake. Most Americans consume 5,500 milligrams of salt each day.
While there’s no Recommended Dietary Allowance, most nutritionists suggest you stay under 2,500 or 3,000 mg. Keep your intake under 3,000 mg per day to avoid bloating.
We know. Between being ready for tomorrow’s monster meeting and making sure Rufus gets his yearly shots on time, you’ve got enough deadlines in your life.
Which is exactly why you’ve spent no time thinking about the public debut of your new Triscuit-sized bikini. Until now, that is, when heat, sunshine, and visions of a beach vacation make you want to dress light – and feel lighter.
Okay, so you haven’t been religious about your workouts the last few months; we understand. But we also realize that all it takes is one good cram session to change your body.
Yes, you’ll have to work hard to do it, but this rapid slim-down plan will flatten and tone you in just 3 weeks. In fact, by combining proper nutrition with an intense – yet thoroughly doable – 21-day exercise program, the average fit woman can lose as many as 15 pounds.
Add weight and lower your reps when lifting. It’s better for strength building because you’re working power versus endurance.
You’ll tax your muscles more, making this more efficient for muscle building in a tight time frame. Women, thankfully, have little testosterone, the hormone responsible for bulking up.
But some women have more of it than others. If you tend to be stocky, stick to your regular amount of weight.
But if you have an average build, you should lift weights heavy enough that you can only complete eight reps, and keep adding weight with each set until you can only do four or five reps. Try this every other strength session to keep your muscles challenged.
Your insulin levels drop during intense exercise (anything where you’re working at 75 percent of your maximum heart rate, such as a spinning class). When your insulin levels become irregular, your body produces cortisol, a stress hormone that breaks down muscle and has been linked to belly fat production.
You need to replenish your glycogen stores as you work to regulate your insulin levels. Anytime you do multiple sets, your glycogen levels drop 40 percent.
Sip a sports drink during intense exercise. Don’t worry about the calories: An 8-ounce serving of Gatorade contains just 50 of them.
And though water is fine for moderate exercise, for intense sessions you’ll need the calories and electrolytes to keep your muscles and metabolism primed. Always mix protein, carbs, and fat when you eat.
You need the blend to fuel your body and stay satiated. Whenever you have one group alone, you’re more likely to feel hungrier sooner and consume more food.
And don’t fear healthy fats. They take longer to break down in the gut, so you’ll feel fuller longer and will end up consuming less calories.
Instead of spooning fat-free yogurt, for example, choose low-fat. Stir-fry veggies in olive oil, or spread peanut butter on a bagel.
Drinking more water can maximize your metabolism. Researchers at the University of Utah found that dehydration (from sweating) can slow your resting metabolism (RMR) by 2 percent, which, if your RMR is 1,500 calories, amounts to 30 unburned calories per day.
In another study they found that drinking 12 8-ounce glasses of water raises metabolism higher than drinking four or eight 8-ounce glasses. Drinking more water also increases energy, along with the desire to exercise.
If you can drink two tall bottles of water a day, you’ll help your metabolism peak. When you rest between sets, stay active to keep your heart rate up.
Work a different muscle group – if you’re doing lunges, do pushups between sets. You could also add cardio by performing jumping jacks or jogging in place.
A cumulative 10 minutes of these exercises during rest will torch an extra 85 calories. Get at least 6 hours of sleep each night.
Your body releases growth hormones after 6 hours of sleep, which is when your muscles actually get toned. If you get enough rest to release those muscle-toning hormones, you’ll be able to push harder the next day.
It’s also important to add a slow day – possibly midweek – to give your muscles a break and a chance to grow even more. Go for a long walk or an easy jog instead of your usual tough routine.
If you can hold a conversation for 20 minutes while jogging, you’re fine. But to speed up your metabolism, go beyond your comfort zone, to the point where you can’t talk.
Use this as a way to raise interval intensity levels, too. Go hard enough so that you can’t talk for 2 minutes, and slow down so that you can chat for 2 minutes.
To burn the most fat and calories, go as hard as you can for as long as you can. Do tempo runs, which are essentially long intervals, to maximize your calorie burn both during and after your workout. (The increased intensity keeps your metabolism higher for a longer post-exercise period.)
Run hard for 5 minutes and then jog for 5 minutes. If you can, push yourself to go harder than your typical pace for 15 minutes.
Incentive: If you run for 15 minutes at 7 mph (try this on a treadmill to note your speed), you’ll burn about 180 calories versus the 110 you’d burn if you were jogging for the same time (based on a 140-pound woman). Jog for 10 minutes to warm up before your tempo run, and then for 10 minutes postrun to cool down.
Play with your work-to-rest ratios when doing intervals to keep your body guessing. When your body can’t adapt to your plan, it’s forced to work harder, so you’re always working in your fat-burning capacity. “Undulate” your intervals: For example, run or pedal hard for 2 minutes, and then rest for 30 seconds.
Go hard again for 2 minutes, and then rest for 1 minute. Extend your rest periods by 30 seconds until you reach 2 minutes, and then work your way back to 30-second rest periods, clipping 30 seconds at a time.