Is Your Body Halloween-Ready?
Heidi Klum's annual bash has put a hot-body spin on the candy-centric holiday. Use these next seven days to prepare for a big reveal.
Thanks in large part to the mother of all Halloween bashes—the annual Heidi Klum fete—looking amazing in your costume is nonnegotiable. And while neither Rome nor German supermodels were built in a day, there are some small tweaks you can make to your diet and exercise routine to amp up results. “When you initiate change in your workout, you do the same for you body—and it doesn’t take as long as you might think to see results,” says Ben Hart, a Tier 3 personal trainer in New York City. Here, Hart and Christina Meyer-Jax, M.S., R.D., who teaches nutrition at the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota and consults for food and beverage companies including Smartwater, a sponsor of Klum's bash and Equinox partner, share their best several-days-out strategies.
In Your Workout:
1) Strength-train with supersets. “People often think that going heavier will get them more toned,” says Hart. “But you should actually aim to do more reps and a superset circuit instead of pausing between each move.” Add about three more reps than you typically complete (around 12 or 15 total), and give yourself 10 seconds rest max between moves. Plus, skip movements that only target one muscle group for those that incorporate two or more. Hart's combo of choice: A weighted deep, deep squat; a few compound moves, like bent-over rows; renegade rows (go into a plank position with hands on dumbbells, and lift weights to each side between push-ups), finished off with one minute of quick-paced mountain climbers to skyrocket your heart rate. Repeat the entire sequence five times.
2) Maximize 30 treadmill minutes: “Cut the hour-long cardio sessions in half but work twice as hard,” says Hart. Switch between sprinting at about a 6% incline for one minute and an active recovery—a two-minute slow run at a 2% incline. Repeat ten times for a total of 30 minutes, and whatever you do, don’t jump off to the sides or walk in between sprints. “By slowing down the body but still jogging, although your muscles aren’t in as much of a full range of motion as the sprint, the calorie burn difference can be significant,” says Hart.
3) Try a HIIT cardio circuit: “The Versa Climber and rower are two of the most unused machines at the gym, but by far give you the biggest cardiovascular boost,” says Hart. Hit up each for two minutes total with about 20 seconds rest between each. Next, sprint in place for two minutes, then go into power jumps (act like you are jumping on a imaginary plyo box, says Hart). Repeat this entire cardio circuit three times, going as fast you can for each move. Says Hart: “With shorter high intensity training, your heart rate and metabolic rate will increase, and you’ll burn significantly more calories for the entire day — whether you are sitting, eating or sleeping.” Or, say, walking around in a skin-tight jumpsuit.
In Your Diet:
1) Beware bloat-forming veggies. Produce should always earn major real estate on your plate, but choosing wisely the days up to and of an event is a simple strategy. Says Meyer-Jax: "The day before and the day of an event, be careful of varieties like broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage. And while beans, legumes and lentils are wonderful fiber- and protein-filled wonders, they will lead to the bloating bump. Not the look you are going for!"
2) Bypass the salt shaker, and stay flush. When you want to look lean, steer clear of super-salty fare a few days beforehand. "Salt is a required nutrient for health and athletics, and the average American gets well over the recommended 2300 daily milligrams," says Meyer-Jax. "And while salt helps retain water, too much can contribute to that puffy feeling." To make sure you put your best face (and whatever other parts your costume accentuates) forward, make proper hydration a priority. "Our skin loses water every day," says Meyer-Jax. "Keeping our skin glowing requires proper hydration. All the face lotion in the world won’t do the job. Fantastic-looking skin starts from the inside out."