"So you haven't been working out like it's your job the last couple months like you promised yourself you would...I understand. But I know that all it takes is one good cram session to change your body. It will be hard but a rapid slim-down can tone you in three weeks. Yes I said it...3 WEEKS! By combining proper nutrition with an intense (but totally doable) 21 day exercise program, the average woman can lose around 15 pounds. Holy cow!
Prepare your Body to Work
To get that metabolism moving, you need to get your muscles working. The more muscles you have, the more calories you burn at rest. Aim for four days of resistance training in this week along with 30-45 minutes of cardio on your "off days." Then use these tips to maximize your strength building in the short amount of time you have so you can build a foundation fast.
Power Your Pump
Add weights and lower reps when lifting. You will be working power v. endurance. Women have little testosterone, the hormone making it possible to bulk up. But some women have more than others. If you have a stockier body type (like myself...hey, being a soccer player/dancer my whole life has given me the "man legs" and being Greek and Italian gives me the curves including big butt, big boobs, and wide hips. *sigh*) stick to your regular amount of weight. If you are an average build, lift weights heavy enough that you can only do eight reps, then keep adding weight with each set until you can only do four or five. Do this every other strength session so your muscles stay challenged.
Push Your Muscles
Organize strength sessions so that you do two of them on consecutive days. Your muscles will get shocked into shape and will work harder. Just like the military-if you break them down, they will repair and build up again even more. Need an example? Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. You'll have enough time on Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday to recover, but if you're sore, do difference exercises to challenge your muscles. You'll benefit since your muscles will constantly be challenged and you'll burn more calories because you'll be forced to work harder.
Insulin levels drop when you are into your intense workouts. When these levels become irregular, your body produces cortisol, a stress hormone that breaks down muscle and has even been linked to excess belly fat. Replenish those glycogen stores as you exercise! Sipping a sports drink during a tough workout is a great answer! Water is great for moderate workouts but for the intense days? You need the calories and electrolytes!
Make Use of the Window
The 45-minute period after exercising is the best time for your body to metabolize nutrients. Since your metabolism is already elevated from working out, if you refuel correctly, you can keep the fire burning. Eat something that has carbs to restore glycogen and protein to help build muscle. You want to eat within the first 20 minutes after exercising because your blood sugar can be regulated faster.
Mix Your Meals
You should always mix protein, carbs, and fat when you eat. You will need this blend to keep your body fueled and staying satiated. If you only have one, you are more prone to feeling hungrier sooner and consume more food. Don't fear those good fats! They take longer to break down in your gut=feeling fuller, longer!
Max Your Metabolism
Now that you have gotten into a small groove and built some muscle, you should increase your intensity to further boost your metabolism. Swap one of your strength workouts with an extra cardio day to give yourself more time to burn calories at a higher level and add a session of intervals to make your cardio more intense! To learn more about cranking up your metabolism, go here.
Drinking more water throughout the day can give your metabolism a major boost. Dehydration (from sweating) can slow your resting metabolism by 2%.Water increases energy and your desire to exercise.
Stop and Go
Instead of jogging for 30 minutes, do intervals. Sprint for one minute, then rest for one minute. The change in intensity will increase metabolism and allow you to work harder while also giving you time to breathe. Here is a trick: Use one or two dice, multiply the number you roll by 10 and sprint for that many seconds (then rest for double that amount). You can also use the dice for circuit intervals during weight routines. If you roll and odd number, do crunches-the number of the roll is the number of reps. If you get an even number, do pushups, lunges, or squats. It's a simple way to vary the workout and also keep yourself moving!
When resting between sets, stay active to keep your heart rate up. Work a different muscle group-if you are doing lunges, do pushups between sets. You can also add cardio to your workout by performing jumping jacks or jogging in place. A cumulative 10 minutes of active rest will burn 85 calories.
Increase protein intake to rev that metabolism. Adding an extra 30g of protein to your diet will make your body work harder and burn more calories. Try adding 1/2 cup cottage cheese (15g) and 8 oz. of lowfat yogurt (11g), or 8oz. of skim milk (8g) and 3 oz. of tuna (22g). Taking a protein shake will also benefit. Make sure you RESEARCH the ingredients in the protein powder/shake you are about to take before consuming it. Not all protein powder is the best for you! Personally, after researching many different brands and even trying some, the one that works best for me is Amplified Wheybolic Extreme 60. I have both chocolate and vanilla flavors (vanilla I will put in a smoothie, chocolate I drink after a workout).
Get at least six hours of sleep each night. Your body releases growth hormones after six hours of sleep, which is when your muscles actually get toned. If you get enough rest to release these, you'll be able to push harder the next day. Add a slow day 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 normal routine.
Kick in the Afterburners
Now it's time! Time to burn as many calories as you can in your workout! Replace another strength session with cardio, which will increase your heart rate. Now your time is best spent doing cardio since you've already built muscle during the first two weeks.
Try Not to Talk
If you can hold a conversation for 20 minutes while jogging, you're fine. But to speed that metabolism up, get to the point where you can't talk. This is a great way to monitor your interval intensity levels. Go hard enough so you can't talk for two minutes. To burn the most fat, go as hard as you can for as long as you can.
Amplify your intervals by adding resistance. Hill repeats! Sprint up a hill and walk back down. Do five reps after a 5-10 minute warm-up. You can also increase the incline on a treadmill or crank the knob on that spin bike!
Extend Your Intervals
Do tempo runs, which are essentially long intervals, to maximize calorie burn both during and after your workouts. Run hard for 5 minutes, then jog for 5 minutes. If you can, push yourself to go harder than your regular pace for 15 minutes. Hint: If you run for 15 minutes at 7mph (check yourself on a treadmill), you will burn about 180 calories compared to the 110 you would burn if you ran at 4mph for the same amount of time. Warm-up and cool down by jogging for 10 minutes before and after your tempo run.
Control Your Hunger
When you exercise harder, you feel hungrier after you sweat. Drink a fruit and protein smoothie after your workouts. Blend 8oz. of plain lowfat yogurt, a banana, berries, and a cup of lowfat milk. (You can also add peanut butter instead of berries or protein powder).
Keep Your Body Wondering
Play with your work-to-rest ratios when doing intervals. 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. Run or pedal hard for two minutes, then rest for 30 seconds. Go hard for two minutes, then rest for one minute. Extend your rest periods by 30 seconds until you reach two minutes, then work your way back up to 30 second rest periods.
Pain Proof your Workout
Just because you are going hard, doesn't mean it should hurt. There is a good chance that your muscles will be feeling sore, stiff, and tired. (For more information about how to deal with pain during workouts, check out this post!) Use these tips to help prevent injuries, speed up recovery time, and stay pain-free!
WARM YOUR MUSCLES BEFORE A WORKOUT Do dynamic stretches (those that take your body through a full range of motion). Try walking lunges or a set of 10 squats. Want to prevent muscle soreness? Your cool down is key! Walk or bike for 10 minutes to flush lactic acid from our muscles. Be sure to do static stretches (your body stays in one place while you stretch a particular muscle), which relax your muscle and increase your flexibility. To relax your spine, shoulders, neck, back, hips, and thighs; lie on the floor on your back, bring your right knee to your chest, and then pull it across your body so that it's facing left. Extend your right arm to the side and look over your right shoulder. Hold for 30 seconds then repeat on the other side.
RUB ARNICA GEL OR CREAM onto your muscles after a workout. It is a classic homeopathic remedy that works on a cellular level to help muscles repair themselves. Topical arnica can be found at any health-food store and not to worry- it's fragrance free!
ADD EPSOM SALTS TO YOUR BATH WATER or use a mixture of 1 cup sea salt and 2 cups baking soda. The salt relaxes your muscles and help remove toxins.
RINSE WITH COLD WATER. You'll reduce inflammation and promote healing. You can also do self hydrotherapy by alternating your shower so that it runs hot then cold. This can help improve your circulation.
POP SOME IBUPROFEN OR ASPIRIN especially after hard workouts.
HEAL YOUR MUSCLES WITH A MASSAGE at the end of each week. This helps improve circulation and helps reduce soreness. Either look for a therapist that practices deep tissue massage (which can unkink and smooth out muscle fibers) or get that significant other to put their hands to work!
Last-Minute Weight Loss Plan...Literally
Whether they are doing photo shoots or on the red carpet, models and actresses are accustomed to showing lots of skin. Often they use these that I found common to help their bodies look their best!
PUMP FAST Do a quick strength training workout before hitting the beach. Do moves that tax your whole body. Increase your reps and speed to force your 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.
DRINK LOTS Guzzling water before heading to the beach will help flush your system and relieve bloating.
KNOW YOUR BLOAT FOODS Avoid beans if they are hard for you to digest and make you bloat. Minimize your sodium intake. Most Americans consume 5,500mg each day. While there is no recommended dietary allowance, most nutritionists suggest a range of 2,500 to 3,000mg per day. Staying under 3,000 will help avoid bloating."
For more information about a five day diet plan from Women's Health to jump start your recipe book (or dust it off), visit a previous post.
What are some ways you try to drop those last 5 lbs. quick and fast?!
With a combination of these tricks and ideas for the 5 Day Meal Plan, you'll be slim in no time and you would have done it...on your own two feet...
Until the next step bloggers...