If You Have 3 Days
You Can: Firm up your whole body and drop up to three pounds.
What to Do: "Your metabolism stays elevated for about five hours after exercising, so break your cardio workout into two sessions," says Ian Smith, MD, author of Extreme Fat Smash Diet. "That way, you'll burn more calories all day long."
- In the morning: Do 40 minutes of at least two types of cardio to challenge different muscles and keep your intensity high (aim for about an 8 on a scale of 1 to 10). For instance, jog for 20 minutes on the treadmill, then hit the elliptical for 20.
- In the late afternoon: Do another 30 minutes of moderately intense cardio. Run/walk around your neighborhood, hop on a bike, or slip in a kickboxing DVD.
What to Eat: Aim for a 1,400-calorie diet, says Smith. "Don't go below that, because you need fuel to exercise," he explains. "You should still lose weight because your metabolism is stoked." Load up on lean protein like fish, chicken, and turkey, plus fruits and vegetables — they'll fill you up for few calories and the water in them can beat bloat. Steer clear of white bread, rice and potatoes, and sugary packaged food.
Inspiring Words: "Plunging necklines elongate your body because they draw eyes up. As for color, peacock blue is forgiving and fun." — Susan Moses, celebrity stylist to Queen Latifah
If You Have 2 Hours
You Can: Sculpt your way confident with time to spare to get beach-ready.
What to Do: A mix of cardio and strength-training will make you feel your best.
- First, do 50 minutes of cardio. Take a kickboxing class, do a DVD at home, or use a stationary bike or elliptical. Or do treadmill sprint intervals: Walk/jog at a moderate pace for 15 minutes. For the next 25 minutes, alternate between walking at 3.5 mph for a minute, then boosting your speed to 6.5 or 7.0 for 90 seconds. End with 10 minutes of moderate walking/jogging.
- Next, do 25 minutes of weight training. Use 5- to 8-pound weights and do the exercises in the order given to keep your heart rate elevated. Aim for 12 to 15 reps and do the circuit three times through. Stretch afterward.
What to Eat: A huge salad. "You'll have tons of energy from the nutrients — no empty calories here," says Smith. Combine two cups of spinach with tomatoes, carrots, broccoli, onions, and a tablespoon of vinaigrette and chow down!
Inspiring Words: "Just think sexy! You'll stand taller, and that's the best way to cover up flaws in a swimsuit." — Kimberley Locke, former American Idol finalist and a Jenny Craig client
If You Have 1 Minute
You Can: Stand taller and look thinner!
What to Do: "The warrior pose makes me feel like a strong, confident woman," says Adrienne Reed, an award- winning yoga instructor and creator of the Power Yoga for Athletes DVD. "It works your shoulders — an instant way to feel taller." Hold the pose for 1 minute.
- Warrior pose: Stand with feet hip-width apart and lunge forward with left leg. Turn right foot out so left heel aligns with arch of right foot. Raise arms over your head, palms facing each other, shoulders relaxed, away from ears. Hold position and take three deep breaths. Repeat on the other side.
What to Eat: Whip up a creamy strawberry protein shake in an instant. It'll fill you up now and even help you burn fat while you relax at the beach, says Daniella Chace, author of More Smoothies for Life.
- To make: Blend 1 cup fat-free milk, 1 cup frozen strawberries, and 1 cup low-fat cottage cheese until smooth.
3 Quick Beach Beauty Musts
- Self-tan and moisturize. "Self-tanner can camouflage a whole host of rippling," says David Bank, MD, a dermatologist in Mount Kisco, New York. "When skin is darker, light doesn't reflect off it as much, making it appear less dimply." And moisturizing dehydrated skin can make wrinkles less pronounced, he says.
- Take an energy shower: Three or four times, turn the water to steamy hot for a minute, then turn it down to icy cold for 30 seconds, says Tim Davis, director of personal training at Peak Performance in New York City. You'll get your blood circulating to flush out toxins, making you feel refreshed.
- Lather on the SPF 30! After all, the key to looking great next summer is to protect yourself from sun damage this summer!
Originally published in FITNESS magazine, August 2007.