You have a goal to get your body in greater shape and want to meet your goal in less than two weeks. This will require a little extra effort, but it doesn’t have to be stressful or expensive. The key to toning up in a short window is to remember: simplify. No fad diets, no deprivation, and no two-hour-long gym sessions. Streamline your routine so that even after your goals are met, you’ll be able to incorporate these healthy tips into your lifestyle.
Tip #1: Feet first
Get those extra steps in when you can. Choose the stairs over the elevator, park your car at the farthest end of the parking lot, and take your calls by foot. Going for a stroll after dinner will help lower your blood sugar, and it’s a great way to wind down your day. Not only is it environmentally friendly, but walking is also a form of mindful movement and meditation. Keep track of your steps using a fitness app on your phone and you’ll be surprised how many extra steps you can squeeze into a single day.
Tip #2: Eat more color
Decorate your plate with whole, real foods such as fruits and vegetables, lean protein like chicken and fish, and healthy fats like avocado, olive oil, nuts, and seeds. Say YES to low-glycemic, slow-burning carbs such as lentils, whole grains, and quinoa, as they’ll fuel you and keep your body functions working properly. Put processed foods and sugars aside and opt for healthier options such as mixed berries with coconut cream or avocado cacao fudge.
Tip #3: Buy equipment that you can take anywhere
Two of my favorite pieces of equipment are a jump rope and resistance bands. They are inexpensive, easy to travel with, and they’ll take your exercise routine to a whole new level. Ten minutes of jumping rope is equivalent to a 30-minute run. Consider jumping rope to warm up before working out, or use it in an internal circuit (like Kourt does). Resistance bands offer massive exercise variety and can challenge your endurance. Using resistance bands will get you toned fast, and they help to recruit your stabilizing muscles, such as your abdominals, hamstrings, quadriceps, and trapezius.
Tip #4: Hydrate
When you first wake up in the morning, have a glass of room-temperature water before your morning caffeine. Our bodies are dehydrated upon waking up, and it is really important that we practice good hydration. Water helps to transport nutrients throughout our bodies, move toxins out, regulate our body temperature, and lubricate the joints. When our body is not properly hydrated, it cannot perform at its best.
Not sure how much water to drink each day? Take your weight in pounds, divide it by two, and that is how many ounces of water you should aim for. Invest in a reusable water bottle and keep it at your side throughout the day. Add some cucumber or lemon slices, fresh mint leaves, rosemary, or ginger to better the flavor.
Tip #5: Buddy system
Encourage a friend to join you and hold each other accountable. Choosing to focus on a goal such as this can be more motivating if you have someone doing it with you. Consider taking workout classes together, either in person or virtually, and share recipes that you can also make together and have an in-person or virtual dinner date, celebrating your hard-earned achievements.
Tip #6: Try something new
Aerobic means “with oxygen,” so this includes activities like brisk walking, swimming, cycling, and even dancing. Exercise doesn’t have to be boring, and in fact, when you choose to do an activity that is outside of the norm, your body is more likely to respond to it, and you’ll see and feel faster results. Start with 20 minutes of a HIIT or Tabata-style workout or try a dance cardio class. Better yet, get your friends to also join you for this and make it a fun (virtual or safely spaced) group activity.
Tip #7: Stretch
Stretching aids in muscle recovery, range-of-motion betterment, joint alignment, and connective-tissue strengthening. It helps to keep muscles strong and flexible and keeps them from shortening, which would hinder the body’s ability to withstand certain activities. Make sure you stretch before, after, and even during your workouts. Use a foam roller to encourage a deeper stretch and relieve muscle soreness.
Tip #8: Eat mindfully
Oftentimes when we sit down to eat our meals, we also invite other distractions such as our phones, TV, or emails. When we choose to eat without distractions, it allows us to eat slower and more mindfully. Eating mindfully will help with portion control, prevent overeating, and encourage you to enjoy your food, bite by bite, noting all the unique flavors and aromas. Eating is a form of art and meditation, so treat it as such.
Tip #9: Listen to your body
If you wake up one day and your body is physically in need of rest, honor it. Take a rest day if you need it, and if you’re able to practice more gentle exercises such as walking or yoga, both are great options.
Tip #10: Catch those zzz’s
No amount of exercise or healthy eating will do you good if you aren’t getting adequate sleep each night. Create an evening routine that helps you wind down and encourages a good night’s sleep (seven to eight hours is key). Think: lavender oil, silk pillowcases, white noise, and no electronics.