Whether you’ll be sitting starry eyed with your sweetie at a romantic restaurant or venturing out solo in search of true love, Valentine’s Day is the perfect occasion to show off your sizzlin’ hot shape. With just four weeks to go, now’s the time to start ramping up your fitness routine and cleaning up your diet so you can slide—not squeeze—into that sexy red dress. Here are 10 ways to make it happen.
1. Commit to the goal. The countdown is on! A lot can be accomplished in a month, but you’re going to need a plan, and you have to stick with it. Make time in your schedule for you, and stay focused by reminding yourself of the end results: you’re going to look and feel great on that special date!
2. Increase workout frequency. For results that can actually be seen, add several extra exercise sessions to your weekly routine. You should already be working out a minimum of three days a week. Five or six is optimal.
3. Kick up cardio workouts. Cardio exercise should be part of every workout. Aim for 30 to 45 minutes at a good pace, with your heart rate in the fat-burning range. No strolling on the treadmill!
4. Give HIIT training a go. High-intensity interval training (HIIT) is a great way to get moving, increase heart rate and burn fat. The method is simple: perform an exercise for 20 seconds, rest for 10 seconds, then repeat for three rounds. Move on to another exercise and repeat for a total of 20 to 30 minutes of HIIT per session.
5. Don’t starve yourself. Eat six small, healthy meals throughout the day, spaced about three hours apart. This will help keep energy levels up, curb appetite and discourage binge eating. Keep healthy snacks on hand—and take them with you so you’re not tempted to hit vending machines or cave to fast food while you’re out.
6. Eat clean. Steer clear of processed foods, fried food, soda and excess caffeine. Choose fresh, whole foods as often as possible, with each meal consisting of a lean protein (chicken breast, fish, lean pork), whole grain carbs (oatmeal, quinoa, sweet potatoes, vegetables or rice) and a healthy fat (nut butter, olive oil, coconut oil).
7. Don’t skip breakfast. Eating breakfast will not only refuel your body after sleep but will encourage healthy eating the rest of the day. Start your day off eating right, and chances are greater you’ll want to continue to the pattern.
8. Sip on green tea. Swap out your daily coffee for some green tea. Hot or iced, it’s not just refreshing, green tea supplies antioxidants and may help support healthy metabolism.
9. Snack smart. Making the right snack choices can make a big difference in your diet. A handful of crackers might curb hunger and satisfy crunch craving, but a better choice would be half an apple with a tablespoon of natural peanut butter or a plain Greek yogurt flavored with stevia drops and sprinkled with walnuts—both of which supply vitamins, protein, fiber and other nutrients to fuel and nourish your body.
10. Get support from supplements. While there’s no magic pill to melt away fat, there are a few supplements that can support your slim-down efforts, such as Vitacost CLA. Short for conjugated linoleic acid, CLA is a healthy fat from safflower oil that’s been shown to support healthy weight when used as a part of a regular diet and exercise program.* Or you could try Vitacost ARO Burn Stimulant Free, which features a potent Burning Blend with Garcinia cambogia, raspberry ketones, green coffee bean extract and other herbs.
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
IFBB figure professional Melissa Transou, a fitness expert, wife and mother, blogs about the unique sports and nutrition needs of women and female athletes exclusively for Vitacost.com. Learn more about Melissa in this recent RXMuscle.com spotlight article, connect with her on Facebook or email her at email@example.com.