When it comes to looking and feeling our best in a little black dress (or whatever sexy number you feel like wearing), there is nothing like baring beautifully toned arms and shoulders, and feeling slim in you waist and tummy. What if, however, you have a special event coming up in the next few days and your workouts mostly have been comprised of lounging by the pool, sipping cocktails and eating junk food? Although there is honestly no substitute to a regular workout program that comprises strength training, there are a few tricks you can use to get a sleeker looking you within a week or even a day or two of your big event:
- Drop the Salt: Too much salt in ones diet can lead to health issues, such as high blood-pressure. However, it can also cause you to retain water, which can easily add a few extra pounds of weight and cause your body to look bloated. Remove salt from your diet for the week before your big event. Good foods to avoid altogether include Asian food, prepared sauces (soy, ketchup, A-1, BBQ, etc.) and canned or processed foods. All of these tend to contain high amounts of salt and/or sodium. Also, cook without salt and avoid fast or fried food. When you do consume packaged foods, look for those that are low-sodium or sodium-free.
- Hydration = Detox: Drink a minimum of 64 ounces of water a day. Drinking a lot of water ensures that you are flushing out your system and removing excess salt from your body and cells. It also helps to promote regularity, which will help keep your digestive tract from getting constipated or sluggish. One last benefit is that it helps to keep your stomach feels full between meals so that you don’t become overly hungry. If you can, add some lemon juice or fresh lemon to your water for an extra cleansing effect.
- Stay Liquid for the Day: Although I’m not a big proponent of liquid diets, sticking with liquid meals for one or two days is a great way to promote regularity and clean out your system of waste. A clean digestive tract will help your stomach look slimmer and will also make you feel slimmer. A few recipes to try include: Apple Cinnamon Protein Shake, Mixed Berry Smoothie and the Lean Green Machine. These tasty shakes are all high in nutrients and high in fiber, keeping you energized and satisfied throughout the day.
- Arm Exercises: Just because you haven’t been doing strength training until now, doesn’t mean you can’t start. For a few hours after we do strength training exercises, the muscles we work swell slightly, causing them to look more toned and defined. Before you take a shower on the day of your event, do 3 sets of 10 push-ups, 3 sets of 10 triceps push-ups and 3 sets of upright rows (watch video). A triceps push up is done in the following way: Sit on a chair and extend your legs straight-out in front of you. Put your hands on the edge of the chair with your palms facing down. Supporting yourself with your hands, dip your body down until your upper arms are parallel to the floor. Straighten up and repeat. Also, if traditional push-ups are difficult, drop your knees to the floor for assistance.
- Get a Glow: Have you ever noticed how tan body-builders and competitive weight lifters look? There’s a reason…there muscles look more toned and defined with a tan. Granted, you wouldn’t want to look as tan as they do, but let’s face it…we all look better with a little sun-kissed glow. Get natural looking color with a gradual tanner, such as Aveeno’s Active Naturals Moisturizing Lotion – Continuous Radiance, L’Oreal’s Sublime Bronze, Gradual Self-Tanning Lotion or Dove’s Energy Glow Daily Moisturizer with Subtle Self Tanners for Medium Skin Tones. I like the gradual tanners, because you are less likely to look too dark, to mess up and look streaky or to look overly “orangey.” Just be sure to tan for a few days ahead of time so you can build up the tan to a decent color for your big day.
Remember, the most important thing you can do to look great is to feel great and to feel good about yourself! So make sure you don’t obsess about how perfect (or imperfect) you look. Love yourself and enjoy the evening!