Updated: July 29th, 2019

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Different body types create different challenges when it comes to fitness goals.

If you’re reading this, you probably fall into the ‘skinny girl’ category. And by skinny girl category, I mean: you’re a hard gainer. Whether it be fat or muscle, it’s hard for your body to gain and even harder for it to hang on to!

This makes you, an ectomorph.

This body type is characterized as having long, slim limbs and muscle fibers. Scientifically speaking, the revved-up metabolism and greater sympathetic nervous system dominance seen in most ectomorphs, does not make for an ideal muscle (or fat) building environment.

Does this mean you’re bound to curve-lessness forever? Absolutely not! But it does mean you will have to work a little smarter for it! In this article, you’ll find some skinny to strong diet and exercise advise, and the perfect skinny girl workout to try out.


Achieving That ‘Toned Look’ As an Ectomorph

As an ectomorph of note myself, I have dealt with the ‘skinny girl’ problems first hand! Girlfriend, I hear you! Luckily with clever eating and equally clever training, you CAN achieve that ‘toned, fit look’.


A key element in toning that skinny girl booty is your diet. Ectomorphs seem to chew through calories at an accelerated rate. Tracking your calories is a good idea to make sure you are getting enough in each day. Here is an easy way to calculate how many calories you need.

Research suggests that ectomorphs are best suited to a diet that is higher in carbohydrates, for example, 50% carbs, 25% protein, 25% fat. In my experience with my own ectomorph-ness and working with clients of this body type, this appears to be a trustworthy suggestion.

Eating regularly (every 3 hours or so), choosing complex carbohydrates and nutrient dense snacks, and loading up on green vegetables is a good way to approach your goals of a toned, fit body. In addition to this, making use of a post-workout protein supplement can also be helpful.


Ectomorphs naturally excel at endurance type activities. Consequently, they choose cardio over weight-training. However, when it comes to developing that shapely body, ectomorphs respond best to weight-training. Specifically, major muscle group, compound exercises.

These exercises are best performed on the lower end of the repetition scale (8 to 12 reps), and with as much weight as safely possible. It’s also a good idea to allow for adequate rest times between exercises, to spend less time in your ‘intense HR zone’.

Cardio and high-intensity activities should be kept to a (healthy) minimum to preserve muscle mass and avoid burning unnecessary calories.

To help you out, here is a workout that ticks all the ectomorph boxes.

The Skinny Girl Workout Plan

This workout is designed to target your major muscle groups and create a strong and shapely body. Of course, this needs to be done in conjunction with a suitable diet for best results! If you have any health concerns, it is important you consult your physician prior to commencing this or any exercise regime.

To complete this workout, you will require some dumbbells, barbells, a bench and cable/pull down machine.

  • Beginners how to: Perform all the exercises as shown in the exercise section below for 12 repetitions. The weight you use should be safely manageable for your rep range. If need be, the leg exercises can be done with bodyweight only. Rest for 30 seconds in between each exercise. Complete 2 or 3 rounds.
  • Intermediate/advanced how to: Perform all the exercises as shown in the exercise section below for 10 repetitions. The weight you use should be as heavy as you can safely manage for your rep range. Rest for 45 seconds in between each exercise. Complete 3 or 4 rounds.
  • Warm ups/cool downs: For an ideal warm up, complete a handful of dynamic stretches. To cool down, complete 5 minutes of gentle walking on the treadmill. Static stretching is a great idea 4 to 6 hours after exercise.

1. Barbell Back Squats

Proper Squatting Form | Squats with Weights

Muscles targeted: Legs, lower back and core

Instructions: Begin standing with your feet shoulder width apart. Rest a barbell on your back, holding it with an overhand grip. Initiate the squat position through hinging at the hips and bending your knees until your quads are parallel to the ground (depending on your mobility). Lock your hips and squeeze your glutes when you return to standing position.

It’s important to keep your core engaged to support a neutral spine and avoid pelvic tilt during your squat. Your knees should not, at any stage, go beyond your toes. A good way to avoid this is by keeping your weight concentrated in your heels.

2. Close Grip Bench Press

Amanda – Close Grip BB Bench Press – Women

Muscles targeted: Chest, arms

Instructions: Lie on a flat bench holding a barbell with your hands shoulder width apart. Your eyes should be under the bar, in terms of the positioning of the bench in the rack. Lift the bar off the rack and lower it down to your chest whilst inhaling. Drive your heels into the ground, exhale and push the bar back up.

Wrist positioning is an important element of a good bench press. Try to hold the bar with a neutral wrist positioning, rather than flexed back. At the bottom of the lift, your wrists and elbows should line up straight, or close to.

Read more: 5 Close Grip Bench Press Benefits You Might Not Have Heard About

3. Dumbbell Walking Lunges

Walking Lunges – Dumbbell – Women

Muscles targeted: Legs, lower back and core

Instructions: Hold a dumbbell in each hand with your arms by your sides. Take a big step forward and bend your knees to lower your hips towards the ground. Keep your chest upright and a maintain a neutral spine. The knee of your back leg should not touch the ground. Push back upwards through the heel of your front foot and take a step forward with the other leg.

Focus on stepping out of each lunge with your heel and glutes (bum muscles) rather than your quads (thighs) and toes. This will increase the muscle activity through your posterior chain and boost those booty gains!

Note: The repetitions, in this case, refer to each leg. So, 10 reps = 20 walking lunges and 12 reps = 24 walking lunges.

Read more: 8 Awesome Benefits of Lunges & Why We Should All Be Doing Them

4. Wide Grip Lat Pull Down

Wide Grip Front Lat Pulldown

Muscles targeted: Back, arms

Instructions: Sit in the wide grip machine holding the bar with a wide grip. Extend through your thoracic spine and engage through your lats (underarms) then pull the bar down to just above your chest. On the upward phase of the movement, control the bar and ensure that you go to full extension through the arms.

When doing this exercise, I like to hold the position at the bottom part of the movement for the count of 2. At this point in the exercise, your back muscles are fully contracted and are working at their hardest. Feel the burn!

Also try: 5 Powerful Lat Pulldown Alternatives With Dumbbells

5. Stiff Leg Deadlifts

Stiff Legged Barbell Deadlift

Muscles targeted: Legs, back, core

Instructions: Hold a barbell with a neutral/shoulder width, overhand grip. Before you start the movement, you should be standing with a hip width foot stance, an upright torso, and a slight bend in the knees. From here, without increasing the bend in your knees, lower the barbell down the front of the legs. This is achieved by pushing your hips backwards, keeping a neutral spine.

Once you feel a stretch through your hamstrings, pull back up to starting position. Avoid leaning too far back at the top of the movement – standing up to straight will suffice.

33+ Amazing Benefits of Deadlifts (for Every Part of Your Body)

9 Best Back Exercises for Women (Beginner to Advanced)

6. Standing Barbell Press

Lift Like a Girl: How to Perform the Barbell Press

Muscles targeted: Arms, core

Instructions: Stand with your feet shoulder width apart, holding a barbell on your chest. Your grip should be over shoulder with apart and your wrists should be comfortable. Keeping your core engaged, push the barbell up overhead. Inhale as you lower the barbell back down to your chest.

People tend to push/flex their hips back to help them push the weight up overhead. This shifts a lot of the load from your shoulders to your lower back. Not only does this make the exercise less effective, but it also sets you up for injury. Before pushing the barbell overhead, ensure your core is engaged and your hips are tucked under to protect your lower back.

7. Russian Twists


Muscles targeted: Core, arms

Instructions: Hold a dumbbell between your hands whilst sitting on the ground with knees bent and your ankles crossed. Lift your ankles off the ground so you’re balancing on your tail bone. Avoid rounding your back. Twist through your core to move the dumbbell from the left to right of your body.

Try to keep your torso and legs still, whilst you twist through the center of your body. If your legs are whipping from side to side, chances are you’re twisting with momentum rather than using your abdominal muscles.

Note: The repetitions, in this case, refer to each side. So, 10 reps = 20 Russian twists and 12 reps = 24 Russian twists.

Wrapping Up

I hope you now feel better equipped to transform your body from skinny to strong!

Understanding your body type is a crucial step in making changes to it. All body types come with their own unique set of pros and cons, and it goes without saying that we all want what we don’t have.

Regardless of what body type you were blessed with, determination and dedication to the fit girl lifestyle is necessary to reach any serious fitness goals. The consistent work that goes into a toned, athletic physique is not to be underestimated.

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If you are a hard gainer, also called an ectomorph, you find it very difficult to gain weight, whether it’s in the form of muscle or fat. Because of the different way ectomorphs’ bodies work, the most common workout trends today do not apply to you. Skinny girls should check out this workout from KickAssHomeGym.

But the good news is that if others can lose body fat, you can build muscle. Check out the following tips to get a more toned body from that skinny build of yours.

1. Eat Well

Because your metabolism is crazy fast, and your body burns calories quickly, you need to eat healthy to help you gain muscle. All those working out in the gym will just be in vain if you skip this part of toning up your body. Also you can use vegan pre workout supplements for more energy and faster results.

Here are some key points you need to remember.

  • You need to fuel up your body since building more muscle needs energy.
  • Without an excess in calories, the body will only keep its current size.
  • The key idea here is to eat 200-250 calories more than your regular daily food intake and add this to your regular meals, not on snacks or desserts.
  • Focus on eating a balanced diet composed of healthy foods from different food groups:
    • Lean proteins – beans and lentils, nuts and seeds
    • Complex carbohydrates – sweet potatoes, brown rice, yams, pumpkins, quinoa, oatmeal
    • Healthy fats – avocados, walnuts, olives and olive oil, dark chocolate
  • Get enough protein, which is important in building muscle and giving you those shapely curves. Consume around one gram of protein each day for every pound of your body weight.

You can also leverage wifi enabled kitchen appliances to get the most out of your cooking and stay healthy.

2. Do Lifts

Most women fear lifting weights because of the misconception that they will have bodies like the male weightlifters they see working out in the gym. Now it’s time to correct this misunderstanding.

Testosterone is an essential muscle-building hormone. While men produce between 200 and 1,200 nanograms per deciliter, women only have between 15 and 70 nanograms per deciliter. Normal women will never grow muscles as large as men primarily because of the much lesser testosterone women produce than men.

Here are the major ideas to remember.

  • If you want to get curvier, build muscles by lifting weights.
  • Forget the five-pounders you’re currently using and challenge yourself to go heavier or as heavy as you can.
  • The muscles will grow under stress, and this can be done by heavy resistance training, where you gradually increase the weights you lift in the gym.
  • Heavy lifting will break down muscle tissue through repairing and rebuilding, making them larger and stronger.
  • If you are not feeling fatigued by the 10th repetition of an exercise, it’s time to level up the weight you’re lifting.

3. Think Big

While exercising a group of muscles may be enough for others, you need to work out the big muscle groups in your body. This way, you can train more muscles at the same time. Not only will doing this challenge your body and build muscles, but it will also add curves fast.

  • Isolation exercises, which focus on a single group of muscles in the routine, are good but aren’t the best way to use your time.
  • If you’re in a hurry to see results, think about doing compound movements, which allow you to use more than one muscle group. Consider deadlifts, squats, presses, rows, and pull-ups.
  • These exercises will let you train more muscles at the same time, and lift more weights.
  • The exercises are simple enough to progress, fun to do, will let you work more frequently, and inspire you to work harder.

4. Get Intense

Cardio is essential, but too much aerobic exercises can hamper the growth of those curves you want. Excessive aerobic training can deplete the body’s energy needed for muscle growth.

Here’s what to do instead:

  • Ditch those boring workouts on the treadmill and go for high-intensity interval training (HIIT).
  • HIIT, as the name implies, alternates between low- and high-intensity exercises with rests in between them.
  • Try doing twenty minutes of interval sprints to strengthen your lower body while developing your glutes.

Closing Thoughts

Some girls are just born skinny that no matter what and how much they eat, they don’t seem to gain any weight. Even if you’re born with the ectomorph body type, there’s certainly hope that you can achieve a shapely figure. With healthy eating habits and commitment to work hard to build your muscles, you’ll get the desired curves you want that embrace your body type. However, it’s best to remember that before doing any exercise program, you should first consult your physician.

What To Do If You’re Skinny Fat

Last Updated December 11, 2019, 2:53 PM

The term ”skinny fat” might sound contradictory – how can someone be skinny and fat at the same time?

Skinny fat people are those that look skinny in clothes and maintain a low or moderate BMI (body mass index) but have high levels of body fat and low muscle mass.

So, underneath those clothes – they actually look soft and flabby.

Both men and women can be skinny fat, but I’m just going to focus on women in this blog post and what they need to do to fix the skinny fat look.


There are some common traits all skinny fat girls seem to have:

  • Skinny fat women tend to carry most of their fat around their midsection (stomach) and hips and thighs (You know, the dreaded “muffin top/love handles” and “saddlebags.”).
  • Skinny fat girls’ diet typically consists of excess carbohydrates, artificial sweeteners, sugar or processed foods. Basically, you’re avoiding vegetables as much as you can and eating crappy food.
  • Skinny fat women usually do not work out at all, or do only cardio.
  • They also tend to eat a low protein diet (usually substituted with processed food and sugar).
  • Skinny fat women usually look good in clothes, but very flabby underneath.
  • They also seem to have a constant “sugar crash,” or suffer from ”brain fog.”

If you are skinny, but struggle with fat around your midsection, hips and thighs that you can’t seem to get rid of, then you might be skinny fat.


As mentioned above, one, two – or all of these – usually cause the skinny fat body:

  1. Doing cardio only and avoiding resistance training
  2. Poor diet
  3. Genetics

Skinny fat is a result of losing muscle mass (which lowers your metabolic rate) and adding fat by eating the same calories – usually from unhealthy food sources (with a lower metabolic rate).

You may maintain the same weight, go slightly above, or even lower in weight- but it’s mainly fat, not muscle.


I often see the skinny fat syndrome in women who do lots of cardio and don’t do any resistance training, because they’re afraid it will make them look bulky.

If that’s the case, I encourage you to read my blog post on how to do get lean and toned but without getting bulky.

Cardio keeps you slim but doesn’t build enough muscle to keep your body fat level down.

As you get older, your metabolism aturally slows down. Building muscle helps to keep your metabolism up and your body fat levels down.

Avoiding resistance training can cause a skinny fat look.


A poor diet – high in carbohydrates and refined foods – will also cause you to look skinny fat and store a lot of excess body weight in the mid-region.

The old golden rule still applies – You can not out-train a bad diet!


Being skinny fat can be a genetic trait, so you can thank your parents for that.

If you genetically have this kind of body fat to muscle ratio, it is not impossible to change.

With the right workout program and a good diet, you can become skinny and toned!


I should also mention that in some cases, skinny fat women struggle because of a range of health conditions, which

include hypothyroidism, hormone imbalances, certain medications (such as the contraceptive pill and antibiotics), gut health issues and more.


Lastly, a skinny fat look can happen when a person loses a lot of weight by just dramatically cutting his/her calorie intake, without exercising.

That is why girls who diet a lot usually end up looking skinny fat (flabby).

If you have been exercising consistently (both cardio and resistance training) and eating a good diet, but still can’t seem to lose weight and tone up, then it could be worth seeing a health professional.


Skinny fat girls are, in most cases, those who do not exercise at all, or do only cardio, but somehow seem to get away with pizza, pasta and tons of bread – every day. This can be destructive.

As much as we are about body positivity and the ”skinny fat” term can use some rebranding – if you’re struggling with the skinny fat look, you must be aware it can come with serious consequences.

Women with an amazing metabolism, and ”skinny genes,” may not look like it, but they can suffer from the same medical conditions as an obese person:

  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Blood sugar issues
  • Increased cholesterol levels

This is why a healthy BMI, or your scale, are not the most accurate representation of your health and fitness.

According to Times magazine: ‘‘If you eat a diet high in sugar and processed food you may suffer from visceral fat that can cause a lot of issues – some being a higher risk of cardiovascular disease, Alzheimers and stroke (Dr. Mark Hyman, author of The Blood Sugar Solution 10-Day Detox Diet).”

Luckily, you can fix your skinny fat look by doing the right exercise regime and eating a healthy diet.


I’ve received a lot of questions from girls asking me, ”Can I really go from skinny fat to fit?”

The answer is: ”Absolutely!”

Below, I’ve covered the best skinny fat exercise and diet programs that will help you gain some lean muscle, decrease your body fat and make you healthier overall.

But, before we cover the details, I want to share some transformation photos of the Lean Legs Girls that struggled with getting rid of the skinny fat look.


For skinny fat girls who want to tone up and lose a bit of excess body fat, you will need to do a combination of resistance training and cardio.


As I mentioned above, it’s really important that you don’t neglect resistance training. Building muscle will help boost your metabolism and also reduce your body fat levels.

The resistance training should include both a mix of high-intensity interval training (HIIT) and circuits, using weights or bodyweight.

HIIT is an awesome exercise for skinny fat people because it burns a really high number of calories in a short period of time. But the best part is, after your HIIT workout, you will continue to burn more calories.

HIIT is one of the best exercise regimens to get rid of the skinny fat body.

However, another really common complaint I hear from women is that they become too muscular when doing HIIT and lifting weights, particularly in their legs.

I have written a blog post on how to lift weights without getting bulky, to help with this exact issue. It has some good guidelines and workout ideas that will help you tone up without getting bigger and too muscular.


If you are already skinny, you don’t necessarily need to do a lot of cardio. But I do recommend it so that you stay slim with all of the HIIT and weight lifting you will be doing.

Please have a read of this blog post on cardio and why it’s so important for getting lean legs.


The workout program below is only a framework to guide you.

If you really want to get started and get results, it is best to have a proper plan to follow. You will be much more likely to stick to it and be consistent if you are able to follow a guide.

The workout plan in my program is great for skinny fat women because the workouts will help you tone up and get rid of your skinny fat body, but without becoming bigger.

The link to my program is below.

If you are serious about getting results, then it is definitely worth investing time and money into yourself.

My weekly workout recommendation for a skinny fat person would include the following:


You don’t need to lift heavy weights – you can use bodyweight only, lighter dumbbells, resistance bands, ankle weights, and gliding discs. Just get those muscles working. Aim for a 30-minute resistance training workout.

Also, please have a look at the blog post I mentioned above some guidelines on how to lift weights without getting bulky.


As I mentioned, HIIT is amazing for getting rid of the skinny fat look, and the workouts don’t need to take long! You can do a great HIIT workout in 20-30 minute.

Just be careful not to overdo it on lower body HIIT exercises, such as burpees, jump squats, jump lunges, box jumps, etc. as they can make your legs overly muscular.

I have posted lots of different HIIT workouts that won’t cause bulk, so have a look at these for some workout ideas.

If you prefer not to do HIIT (especially endomorph women who may get bigger with HIIT), that’s OK. You can still get great results, with full body resistance training, and I would aim for a total of 3 sessions per week.


High-intensity cardio can include exercises such as running, swimming, dancing, cycling, etc.

Do something that you love so that you will actually stick to it! Keep your high-intensity cardio workouts to 20-30 minutes (obviously, if it’s a dance class or spin class, you can go longer).

Plus, it’s a great idea to try and fit in as much low-intensity cardio as you can!


It’s really important to give your body some time to rest and your muscles to recover. Overtraining can cause you to hold onto excess body fat, so if you feel like your body needs a break, give it one.


Diet plays a huge part in your body’s ability to lose weight, so you can’t just rely on a good workout program alone.

If you don’t eat a good diet, you won’t get rid of excess body fat.

In general, someone who is skinny fat and looking to lose excess body fat will follow similar guidelines to anyone that is trying to lose body fat. If you’re curious about my diet, you may read about it in detail here.


You don’t need to do anything fancy with your nutrition – just cut out the packaged foods (think anything unnatural that comes in a bottle, packet, tin or box), processed foods, fizzy drinks, sugary foods, deep fried food and anything that is “typical” junk food, such as cakes and chocolate.

I’m not saying that you can never eat these, just try to limit them to a few times per week and keep portion sizes under contro


It is becoming more and more well-known that a diet lower in carbohydrates will help you lose weight quicker.

Don’t cut out carbs completely, as your body still needs them and that’s where all the fiber is! You just need to be smart about it.

  • Switch any white carbs (i.e. bread, rice) to brown and whole-meal varieties
  • Eat more carbs on your workout days and fewer carbs on your rest days
  • Try to eat most of your carbs at breakfast or post workout
  • Aim to get most of your carbs from fruit, vegetables and whole grains


Fruit and starchy vegetables, such as potatoes, contain carbohydrates, but they also contain a range of vitamins, minerals and fiber, which your body needs.

I know you probably always hear people talking about fiber and how you should try to eat more of it. But it really does play a huge part in keeping you full and regular.

Aim for 2-3 pieces of fruit per day and at least 5 servings of vegetables. This can be hard to do without consciously thinking about it, so you really need to make the effort.

Try to eat vegetables with every single meal and snack to get those 5 servings in.

If you have smoothies for breakfast, add some spinach. If you have an omelette, add spinach and other green vegetables.

Some of my favourite healthy snacks are carrot sticks and hummus, egg cups made from eggs and vegetables in muffin tins and whole pieces of fruit.

Lunch and dinner are a little easier to eat vegetables. Pack them in as much as you can! One cup of vegetables has very little calories compared to any other foods, so it will keep you full, fill you with nutrients and won’t result in weight gain.


It can also be hard to drink the required 2l of water per day if you’re not consciously thinking about it.

Try recording your water intake for a couple of days to see how much you are actually drinking, and aim for 2-3l per day. This will also help with bloating.

One of my favourite tips is to carry a water bottle with you everywhere you go. It will help you drink more water!

I should also mention my 7 Day Meal Plan that is gluten, dairy and refined sugar–free. So, if you’re not sure where to start, this meal plan would be a great starting point. And it’s completely free! 🙂


I would also recommend that you to learn your body type. You see, there are three different body types and they all gain muscle and lose weight differently.

I have a skinny fat recommended workout plan, but I assure you that you’ll get the best results after you learn which body type you are!:)

I have created a special Body Type Quiz that will help you learn your body type in just 2 minutes, and it is completely free. After you take it, you will also get tips on how to eat and train specifically for your body type.


To summarise all of the information above:

  • Skinny fat people are those who look skinny in clothes, but underneath the clothes look soft and flabby
  • The skinny fat body is caused by doing cardio only, eating a poor diet and genetic factors
  • Workout for skinny fat body types include a mix of resistance training (HIIT and lifting weights) plus cardio
  • The skinny fat diet includes reducing carbs and sugar and eating more fruit and vegetables
  • Drinking lots of water is very important and will help with bloating.
  • Learn your body type to get the best possible results

If you stick to a good workout and nutrition plan, you will get results. But you need to be consistent and actually put in the work!

Eating healthy for a few days and then binging, going out for lots of meals, drinking alcohol or skipping workouts will set you back.

You need to be consistent!


If you need help with a skinny fat workout plan, you don’t know where to start with resistance training, or you tend to get bulky when you lift weights, then my program is perfect for you!

My program includes a full workout and nutrition program which will help you get a lean and toned body, and get rid of your skinny fat body forever. And because all of us are different, I have created separate programs for each of the 3 main body types. This way, you can be sure you are going to get the best possible results!

And from now on, the resistance training part of my program will also have FULL-LENGTH VIDEOS you can follow from warm-up to cool down.

To find out more about my 3 Steps to Lean Legs Program click the link below.


Rachael xx

Written by Rachael Attard

Rachael is an Australian born certified personal trainer and nutritionist who holds a Bachelor degree in Science.
After struggling for years to find an exercise and diet program that is tailored to women striving for lean and toned body with no bulk she designed her Lean Legs Program. This program is tailored to each body type and focused on helping women get toned but feminine bodies, without getting bulky.
Her mission is to empower women and help them stay in shape in a healthy and balanced way.

40 Fun Ways to Drop a Jeans Size, Stat!

Transforming your body can be a major commitment—but if you simply want to drop back down to the jean size you always were, it doesn’t have to be an overwhelming undertaking. Instead, it can actually be fun!

Don’t believe us? Whether you’re slimming down by getting sweaty outside with your pets or blogging about what you did today, there is a mountain made up of ways that can do wonders for your health and belly fat. The trick is finding which ones have a meaningful effect on your daily habits and motivation and then repeatedly doing them. Cherry-pick the advice below and find the ideas that could amuse you, make you feel more organized or on top of things, and fits in with your lifestyle. Steer clear of these 50 Unhealthiest Foods on the Planet, and you’ll have dropped your jean size in no time!


Find a Healthy Food Obsession

There are some amazing health foods that are all the rage right now, from turmeric to pulse pastas to apple cider vinegar. If we had to pick one that a ton of people swear by and seem to be obsessed with, it’s overnight oats. All you have to do to whip up a bowl is fill a mason jar or Tupperware container with grains, toppings, add-ins and a liquid like milk or water. Then you throw it in the refrigerator overnight; while you’re sleeping, the flavors fuse together. Start feeding your healthy obsession with these 50 Best Overnight Oats Recipes for Weight Loss!


Play in the Park

Instead of grabbing drinks or dinner with your friends, head to the park with a frisbee or a football and log some playtime. In the cooler months, hit a ping pong or pool hall for a bit of friendly, active competition—just steer clear of the beer and caloric cocktails.


Extend Fido’s Walk

If you’re already outside walking your pup, why not take an extra lap or two? The extra steps will aid your weight loss efforts and will benefit your four-legged friend, too! Bonus: Want to burn even more calories? Pick up your pace. Walking at 4 MPH, instead of 3.5 MPH can help you work off an extra 1,200 calories a month, assuming you move your feet every day for 20 minutes.


Get It On

This is one of our favorites. Why? First of all, having sex is fun. Second, a romp between the sheets can help you stay lean by burning off the extra nibbles you take throughout the day. According to a University of Montreal study, women burn off 69 calories during the average sex session, while men burn off 100 calories. And as you likely assumed, the longer the session, the more calories you’ll burn. To help extend your pleasure—and incinerate more flab—check out these 30 Best Proteins for Your Penis.


Do Random Acts of Kindness

If you have trouble motivating yourself to move more—which is one of the most effective ways to burn calories—commit to doing one active act of kindness daily. Knowing someone else’s happiness and wellbeing is on the line is a great motivator. Not sure where to start? Return your shopping cart to the store rather than leaving it in the parking lot, pick up your own coffee instead of asking an intern to grab it for you, or give up your seat on the bus or subway. Every bit of movement can get you one step closer to success! Note: Don’t make your kind acts about baking cookies; that’s just too much temptation!


Take a Pre-Dinner Stroll

Grab the kids or throw in your headphone and take a quick walk around the block before sitting down to your next meal. Not only will you burn some calories and get your blood flowing, studies suggest that getting in some fitness before you nosh, increases the chances you’ll reach for a healthier dish. Not sure what to cook? All of these healthy chicken recipes are solid picks!


Take Daily Selfies

Better yet, make it a full body shot (hello, #OOTD!). Why? Well, it turns out that a picture can be worth a lot of lost pounds. A recent study from a nutrition clinic in Colombia revealed that people who took routine photos of themselves while on a weight loss plan were more likely to finish the plan than the non-selfie snapping participants—and a whopping 71.3 percent met their goal weight. So instead of waiting for that one exciting “After” pic, get snappy with yourself right away!


Play With Your Kids

Instead of sending your little one to the backyard to play on his own, lace up your sneaks and head outside with him! Not only are backyard games like tag, hopscotch, and catch, enjoyable and fun, they can actually burn off a fair share of calories. Have some extra time on your hands? Head to the park to shoot hoops or hit the local mini golf course—your kids and your body will love it! This kind of quality time is also one of the biggest 25 Ways to Be Happier Now.


Go Dancing

Next time you’re in the mood for a night out on the town, why not hit up a dance club? From salsa and jazz to hip hop and trance, there’s something for every type of music lover. The only caveat: You’ll have to cut yourself off after one cocktail to ensure you burn off more than you take in. And speaking of calories, if you’re trying to take in fewer of them, check out these 50 Snacks With 50 Calories or Less.


Start a Vegetable Garden

Growing your own fruits, veggies and herbs in your backyard is a win-win for weight loss. Gardening can actually burn between 200 and 400 calories per hour and once your crops are ready to be picked, you’ll have an abundance of low-calorie, nutritious fare to add into your family’s meals. That’s what we like to call a win-win!


Take a Healthy Cooking Class

Need some help with your healthy meal prep game? Chains like Sur La Table offer a variety of cooking classes that can help. On a budget? You can get some awesome cooking class deals on Groupon. The best part is—aside from the eating, of course—cooking actually burns about 100 calories per hour (far more than you’ll scorch ordering from Seamless), so honing your new skill can actually help you reach your happy weight is two different ways.


Plan Theme Menus

Trying to eat more low-cal foods like fruits and veggies can be a snooze—especially if you make the same few dishes over and over again. To keep your taste buds entertained, turn your meals into festive events, suggests Lori Zanini, registered dietitian and Spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. “For example, you could have an ‘Italian’ theme and incorporate a number of tomato dishes throughout the week.” Or throw a fiesta with fresh avocado recipes and set the table with colorful plates and utensils.


Cook For Your Friends

More often than not, you’re likely catching up with friends over plates of fatty, sodium-packed restaurant food. In fact, a recent study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics found that the average restaurant meal contains a whopping 1,205 calories—about half the recommended daily intake. Yikes! To take in fewer calories—without putting a kink in your social life—offer to have your friends over for a healthy dinner. This way you can control everything that winds up on your plate. If your friends offer to contribute, put them on fruit salad or veggies-and-dip duty—it’s near impossible for either of those things to go awry.


Make it a Date

You know what’s hotter than seeing your honey dice up a tomato or saute some shrimp? Absolutely nothing. Pick a one of these slimming 20 Best-Ever Recipes for Zero Belly, light the candles, cue up Netflix and have a waistline-friendly night in with your sweetie. To burn even more calories, skip dessert and take things to the bedroom for a sexy workout.


Check Out New Healthy Restaurants

There’s a fast food boom happening—and for once, Eat This, Not That! is happy about it. Although burger joints and mall foods still reign supreme, a new breed of healthy, fast casual restaurants like Dig Inn and Sweetgreen are dominating the market. Next time you’re friends suggest meeting up for a bite, why not suggest checking out one of the new, healthy eateries in your area? Not only will your meal be kind to your waistline, checking out a new hot spot is far more fun than going to the pizza joint in your neighborhood—yet again. And if you do still find yourself at a chain restaurant, be sure to have read up 20 Things You Should Never Eat at a Chain Restaurant, first!


Compete with Your Friends

If you track your fitness with Fitbit, Jawbone, Misfit, iPhone 5s+ or Apple Watch you can challenge your friends to an activity duel on Matchup. The app allows friends using different trackers to go head to head on a shared leaderboard to see who moves the most. You and your friends can also complete as a team and challenge other groups of trackers to see who log the most steps.


Go Exploring

Lace up your sneakers and play tourist in your own city! Check out historic walking tours in your area or find a nearby nature path with a killer view. Walking is easy on the joints, burns a fair number of calories and is a great way to take in new sites and sounds.


Have a Cleaning Party

Scouring surfaces might give you bad Annie flashbacks, but it can actually be a good full-body workout, engaging your biceps, triceps, and core. Max it out by mopping the floor—for a 150-pound person, it burns 43 calories in 15 minutes. To make the scrubbing and sweeping more fun, enlist your roomie or significant other to help and turn on some upbeat tunes! If you really want to challenge yourself, do some burpees or lunges every time the song changes.



Volunteering at a dog shelter or lending a hand at a park clean-up is an engaging way to meet others, give back to your community and add some extra activity to your day.


Get a Massage

Strange but true: Women who are considered to be more accepting of their bodies are far more likely to stick to a healthy diet, say Ohio State University researchers. No, you don’t have to recite a body image mantra every day to boost your self-esteem, a relaxing massage can actually do the trick. Experts say that when women allow others to touch their body it can help them feel more at ease with where they’re bodies are at. So go ahead and indulge!


Snooze More

Snuggling under the covers and dozing off is more than just relaxing—it’s fun! And thankfully for all you sleepyheads out there snoozing more can help you eat healthier and lose weight. In fact, a recent study found that sub-par sleep could undermine weight loss by as much as 55 percent! The good news is just a few simple tweaks to your p.m. routine can mean serious weight loss success—like these 30 Things to Do 30 Minutes Before Bed to Lose Weight


Start a Social Diet Diary

Sick of your food journal? “From time to time my friends and I start a message strand where we have to share our daily food intake and our workouts,” says Shaun T, Insanity Trainer and host of last winter’s “My Diet Is Better Than Yours”. “We have to be completely honest, too. If we eat it, we text it. You are far more likely to make smart food choices and get your workout in when you know that there is someone on the other side of that text message depending on you.” Not to mention, any way to make weight loss more social is bound to be fun, too!


Sweeten Up Your Morning

Pancake and waffle lovers, we’ve got some good news: According to a Tel Aviv University Medical Center researchers, dieters who eat a large breakfast that includes something sweet lost 37 more pounds in 8 months than study participants who consumed just as many calories but ate smaller, low-carb breakfasts. Not sure how to sweeten your morning? These 50 Best Overnight Oats Recipes are all delicious picks.


Try a Spiralizer

If you have trouble sticking to a normal portion of pasta, then it’s time to try the guilt-free alternative. A hand-held spiralizer makes it easy to turn veggies into fun-to-eat spaghetti shapes that resemble pasta. Top with your favorite sauces and you can enjoy a healthy, lower calorie, more nutrient dense meal that will bring you closer to your weight loss goals. You can find a cheap spiralizer on our list 20 Life-Changing Weight Loss Tools Under $20!


Snack On Air-Popped Popcorn

Another affordable tool on the above list we just mentioned is a popcorn air-popper. Snack time can often be a huge pitfall for most of us when it comes to weight loss. Crunchy, salty, calorie-laden, sugar-ridden temptations are around every corner. However, if you’re armed with the right tools—and these 20 Delicious Ways to Dress Up Popcorn that are obsession-worthy—you’ll be one step ahead of your cravings. So yum, so fun!


Try Urban Rebounding

Want to add some bounce and fun to your fitness routine? Then urban rebounding may be for you! The low-impact cardiovascular workout uses a small trampoline to challenge your heart and your lower body in ways a treadmill or elliptical never could. Classes are offered at various gyms nationwide, so head to Google to find one near you.


Create A Buddy Bootcamp

Join forces with a few friends who enjoy high-intensity workouts and create your own outdoor weekly boot camp club. Take turns coming up with the workout to ensure your sweat session stays fresh and fun. The best part? Your workout will be totally free and you get to spend time with your pals. You can all unwind and recover afterward with one of these 23 Best Protein Shake Recipes.


Try Doga

Doga, or “dog yoga” may sound a little eccentric, but it’s actually growing trend—and a great way to take your yoga routine to the next level. In doga classes, dogs are used as props, which makes moves like warrior one more of a calorie-burner. And since you have to hold your pooch above your head, you’ll build strength and burn more fat, too. For even more ways to tighten your bod, check out these 44 Ways to Lose 4 Inches of Body Fat,


Join a Team

For people who played a lot of sports growing up, hitting up the gym can be a major drag. Sound like you? Join an adult rec league! Soccer, softball, field hockey, basketball, you name it, there’s a sporting league for it. If you missed the chance to sign up for the current season, offer to be an alternate. After the season gets underway, people are bound to miss games and need subs.


Sign Up For a Race

Looking for something that combines fitness with fun and adventure? Sign up for a themed race or obstacle course. Color run participants are showered with colored powder while Warrior Dash participants brave barbed wire fences and mud holes—talk about an exciting way to get your sweat on!


Reward Yourself Right

“Often times I see my patients reward a weight loss by indulging in foods they know aren’t the best for their goals. Instead, I suggest using things like manicures, SoulCycle classes and workout gear as a reward for all their hard work, says registered dietitian Leah Kaufman. If you know you have a prize waiting for your at the week if you hit your workout goal, you’re far more likely to stick to it! Plus, it’s fun to give yourself little presents.


Join Class Pass or Groupon

Online discounts sites like Groupon, LivingSocial and ClassPass offer great deals on fitness classes and can help keep your fitness routine fresh and interesting. You can get deals on anything from yoga and boot camp classes to sailing lessons and rock climbing gyms.


Try Pole Dancing

Unleash your inner wild child and work your upper body and flexibility at the same time. Pole dancing classes have been growing in popularity as of late and they’re rumored to be a ton of fun and make you feel really sexy. Hit up a local class with a few friends to burn some calories and share a few laughs.


Rev Up Your Workout Playlist

Sure, your time on the treadmill may seem like a great time to catch up on the news and your favorite sitcom, but doing so might make your cardio session less effective. (Cue the groans!) Research shows that people are more likely to stick to an exercise program if they listen to music while working out— especially fast-paced, motivational jams that include phrases like “push it,” “I believe,” and “work it.” How’s it work? One theory is that they help you move faster which subconsciously motivates you to keep at it which can help you lose 10 pounds—fast!


Sign Up For an Out-of-the-Box Class

How about trapeze? If you love a good adrenaline rush—or have always just secretly loved the circus—this unique class may be for you. It’s a great upper body and core workout and something you definitely can’t do at your local Equinox. Look for other ideas (Parkour, anyone?) that might blow your mind—and blast your belly fat!


Take a Hike

Round up some friends, head out to the country and get your hike on! Taking in the breathtaking views from the top of a mountain is far more satisfying and fun than spending your day in a gym. It also scorches major calories and works a ton of leg and back muscles you’ve probably forgotten all about.


Schedule Sessions with a Friend

You wouldn’t blow off your 6 a.m. run if you knew your friends were waiting for you at the park, would you? Of course not! Which is why it’s a great idea to set up morning workout dates. Not only will it get your tush out from under the covers, it will make you sweat session more fun, too! And after your done with your workout, why not refuel with one of these delicious protein shake recipes?


Add Motivational Messages to Your Alarm

Make that blaring 5 a.m. alarm more tolerable by giving it a motivating label in your iPhone. “Wake up badass, it’s time to hit the gym!” It may seem silly, but it’s sure to motivate you and put a smile on your face every time you’re considering going back to bed.


Set Out Your Workout Gear

—or better yet, sleep in it. If you wake up dressed and ready to hit your Pilates class, odds are pretty low that you’ll skip it. And speaking of getting fit and toned, be sure to check out these
30 Skinny Secrets from the World’s Sexiest Women.


Schedule Brunch

It may sound odd, but penciling in plans with friends for after your run will actually ensure you’ll log those miles—especially if you tell everyone you’ll be coming from a workout. Not only will it hold you accountable to your run, it will give you a great excuse to rock all of your new athleisure gear afterward. You may also find your workout more enjoyable, knowing you have some playtime to look forward to when you’re done!

Get the New Book!

Want to lose 10, 20, even 30 pounds—all without dieting?! Get your copy of Eat This, Not That: The Best (& Worst) Foods in America!, and learn how to indulge smarter and lose weight fast!

Drop A Dress Size In Just Two Weeks

Women’s Fitness

If you have a major event in just two weeks’ time and you are desperate to shed some weight in order to fit into your dress, then we’ve got you covered. We’ve compiled a diet and exercise plan on how to drop a dress size in just a fortnight.

If you have a major event in just two weeks’ time and you are desperate to shed some weight in order to fit into your dress, then we’ve got you covered. We’ve compiled a diet and exercise plan on how to drop a dress size in just a fortnight.

Provided you are willing to put in some effort, you can really make a difference to your weight in just 14 days and drop a dress size. Okay, so you can’t – and shouldn’t – undergo a major transformation in two weeks, but you can shed a little excess weight, firm up slack muscles, overhaul your posture and get your body firing on all cylinders – thereby ridding yourself of sluggish digestion, bloating, poor circulation and flagging energy levels.

It is important to point out that this is not a sustainable weight-loss plan for the long term! The best way to lose weight in the long term is to follow a balanced, healthy diet that brings about a gradual and sustainable weight loss, coupled with an increase in physical activity.

How to drop a dress size: The 14-day weight loss exercise plan

Our 14-day plan tackles excess body weight by encouraging you to do aerobic exercise, resistance training and reduce your calorie intake:

Aerobic exercise will increase your calorie expenditure and, of course, get your most important muscle of all (your heart, girls, not your butt!) in shape. Your ‘daily dose’ of aerobic exercise should aim to burn 300-400 calories per session and it is best to vary the type of activity you choose, both to reduce the risk of injury and to provide physical and mental variety.

Resistance training will firm and strengthen weak, flabby muscles and prevent the loss of lean muscle mass that usually accompanies dieting. It will also improve your posture by creating balance between opposing muscle groups, enhancing the function of stabilizing muscles, and improving the range of motion. The full-body resistance workout gets all your major muscles involved with just nine moves, by working more than one muscle group at a time thereby saving time and getting you the best results.

The third prong of the fork is moderate calorie reduction, in order to maximise the deficit between the amount of energy you consume and the amount you burn. We suggest cutting your intake by 350 calories per day which amounts to a 17.5 per cent reduction on a typical 2,000-calorie-per-day diet. This is sufficient to make a significant difference, but not so much that you won’t have the energy to complete your workouts.

How to drop a dress size: Your day-by-day exercise action plan

Day 1

Daily dose: 45 minutes of brisk walking (at least 4 mph/6.4 km pace), swimming, or cycling. Resistance circuit.

Extra helper: Take a conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) supplement every day for the next two weeks, as they have been shown to enhance fat burning and lean tissue growth.

Day 2

Daily dose: 30 minutes of running (at least ten-minute-mile pace), elliptical training, or rowing.

Extra helper: Drink a cup of coffee an hour before your workout today to maximize the use of fat as a fuel.

Day 3

Daily dose: 45 minutes of brisk walking (at least 4 mph/6.4 km pace), swimming, or cycling. Resistance circuit.

Extra helper: Substitute one sugary canned drink or an alcoholic one with a fresh juice or fruit smoothie (containing no added sugar). This will help to reduce your calorie intake.

Day 4

Daily dose: 45-minute to one-hour aerobics or step class, or exercise video.

Extra helper: Ensure you are getting eight hours’ sleep a night, to help you recover from the workouts.

Day 5

Daily dose: 30 minutes of running (at least 10-minute-mile pace), elliptical training, or rowing. Resistance circuit.

Extra helper: Eliminate bloating by ensuring you eat plenty of potassium-rich foods, such as dried apricots, bananas, potatoes and kiwi fruit.

Day 6

Daily dose: 45 minutes of brisk walking (at least 4 mph/6.4 km pace), swimming, or cycling.

Extra helper: Practise drawing your navel in towards your spine throughout the day. This is the tummy-flattening move you’ll need for that figure-hugging dress!

Day 7

Daily dose: Resistance circuit.

Extra helper: Stretch out classically tight hip flexors, chest and shoulders with yoga’s ‘inverted staff’ posture. To do this, lie face-up across a foot stool with a pillow on it, with your feet on the floor and your arms outstretched beside your ears. Hold the position for at least a minute. You could alternatively use a Swiss ball instead of a foot stool.

Day 8

Daily dose: 30 minutes of running (at least 10-minute-mile pace), elliptical training, or rowing.

Extra helper: Make sure you eat some protein with every meal – it helps you to feel satisfied and uses up more calories in digestion than fat or carbohydrate.

Day 9

Daily dose: 45 minutes of brisk walking (at least 4 mph/6.4 km pace), swimming, or cycling. Resistance circuit.

Extra helper: Start body brushing to boost circulation and aid the release of toxins. It gets your skin glowing, too! Always brush upwards, towards the heart.

Day 10

Daily dose: 45-minute to one-hour aerobics or step class, or exercise video.

Extra helper: Practise the ‘carb curfew’ (i.e. don’t eat any carbs after 5pm) for the next four days. That means no pasta, rice, bread or potatoes with your evening meal, but plenty of veg or salad. The body holds on to 3g of water for every 1g of carbohydrate it stores, so this strategy will help you to shed weight by reducing your overall carbohydrate intake.

Day 11

Daily dose: 30 minutes of running (at least 10-minute-mile pace), elliptical training, or rowing. Resistance circuit.

Extra helper: Drink green tea. Studies show that it boosts the metabolism which means you’ll burn calories more quickly.

Day 12

Daily dose: 45 minutes of brisk walking (at least 4 mph/6.4 km pace), swimming, or cycling.

Extra helper: Book yourself in for a professional fake tan (or DIY it!). Darker skin will make you look slimmer!

Day 13

Daily dose: Resistance circuit.

Extra helper: Follow your final resistance circuit with a full-body stretch, holding each position for at least 30 seconds. Alternatively, treat yourself to a sports massage to iron out tension and tightness.

Day 14

Daily dose: 45-minute to one-hour aerobics or step class, or exercise video.

Extra helper: When you go to your planned party, wear solid colours (black, brown and other dark shades are most slimming), put your hair up, and wear heels to create a taller, longer, slimmer silhouette! Go girl…

Drop a dress size exercises: The resistance circuit

Perform the resistance circuit after your aerobic exercise (running, swimming, cycling, elliptical training, rowing, or walking) to save time warming up. On days where there is no aerobic exercise listed, warm up for at least five minutes by walking, marching on the spot, and performing some general gentle circling, bending and extending motions.

Aim to do one set of each of the following nine exercises, and then repeat the whole sequence again (the number of repetitions suggested is given in each case). Do the exercises in the order shown, so you give muscles that have just been worked a chance to recover before they are called upon again.


Squat jump

Works 70 per cent of the body’s musculature, according to studies – including pretty much every muscle below the belt!

Stand with feet below hipbones, tummy gently pulled in and arms relaxed by your sides. Lower your bottom down into a squat position (thighs close to parallel to the floor, knees behind toes), and then leap up as high as you can, landing straight back into the next squat. You can use your arms to help propel you. Aim for eight repetitions.



Works the back of the arms, upper back and shoulders.

Shuffle to the front of a low coffee table or use your bottom stair, with your hands gripping the edge (fingers pointing forwards) and your shoulders pressed back and down. Your legs should be bent, feet flat on the floor. Now, lower yourself towards the ground by bending the arms but do not allow the shoulders to roll forwards. Only go so far as to create a right angle at the elbow joint. Execute each repetition slowly, focusing on using the muscles at the back of the upper arm to push you up. Aim for 12 repetitions.


Ball curl-ups

Works the abdominals.

Sit on a stability ball close to a wall and maneuver yourself so that your feet are against the wall and you are facing it. Lie back on the ball, with your fingers lightly supporting your head, and position your bottom at the very front of the ball’s surface. Now draw your navel to your spine and curl the shoulders and torso upward. Pause, then lower and repeat. Aim for 16 repetitions.


Lunge with overhead press

Works: the bottom, thighs, shoulders and back of upper arms.

You’ll need a little coordination for this one! Stand with feet below hip bones, and a weight in each hand, resting on your shoulders. Lunge forward with your right leg, bending the knee, and allowing the left foot to come off the floor and the left knee to travel towards the floor. Simultaneously, extend the arms overhead – lifting the weights straight up, with palms facing forwards. As you return the right leg to the start position, lower the weights back to the shoulders. Lift them again as you step forward with the left leg.

Aim for 12 alternating repetitions.


Ball pullover

Works: upper and mid back, and chest and stabilising muscles.

Take a weight in both hands (hold the stem with both hands) and carefully lower yourself backwards onto a stability ball, with the weight suspended directly over your chest. Stabilise yourself by keeping the bottom and ab muscles tight and your pelvis level, and then extend the weight up and over your head, allowing the arms to slightly bend as the weight lowers behind you. Pause, then draw the weight back to the start position without arching your back and repeat. Aim for eight repetitions.


Step-up with biceps curls

Works: hips, thighs, bottom and biceps.

Stand in front of a step that is between ankle height and just below the knee (the lower the easier), with a weight in each hand. Step up with the right foot, ensuring the foot goes fully onto the step with the heel down. As you step up, bend both arms and bring the weights in towards the shoulders. As you step down, lower the weights by straightening the arms. Now step up with the left foot, repeating the arm curl. Aim for 20 repetitions.


Incline push-up with rear-leg lifts

Works: chest, upper arms, shoulders, bottom and back of thighs.

Stand a metre in front of a sturdy table and place your hands shoulder-width apart on the edge. Draw your navel in towards your spine, and bring your body into a straight line from the heels to the crown. Now, lower your chest towards the table by bending the arms at the elbow. Simultaneously, extend one leg behind you, really squeezing the bottom to lift it. Lower the leg as you straighten the arms. Lift the other leg as you perform the next rep, and continue to alternate for the rest of the set. Aim for 12 repetitions.


Ball roll-ins

Works: core stabilizers, abdominals, chest, front of shoulders, upper arms and hip flexors.

Lie face down over a stability ball, shunt forward until just your knees are on the ball and your weight is supported on your hands and arms shoulder width apart. Contract the abdominals and tilt the pelvis so your back is in a straight line with the legs. Now curl the ball in towards your chest by contracting the abs and rolling the ball towards your torso with your lower legs. Your hips should never be below shoulder height and your shoulders should be drawn back. Do the move slowly, with control, taking four to five seconds each way. Aim for eight repetitions.


Bridge with fly

Works: glutes, lower back, inner thighs and chest.

Lie on the floor with knees bent, feet flat and a cushion, rolled-up towel or foam ball between your knees and a weight in each hand, held extended above the chest. Raise the body up by rolling through the spine enough to allow the pelvis to clear the floor, squeezing the cushion with your inner thighs to maintain the position. Visualise your knees moving away from your body. Now, holding this position, lower your arms out to the sides at nipple level (keeping the elbows slightly bent). Pause just before they reach the floor, and then return your arms to the start position. Complete all repetitions while maintaining the pelvic bridge. Aim for eight repetitions.

Continuing with our drop a dress size in just two weeks here are some diet tips to help you cut your calorie intake and complement the exercise workouts listed earlier. This is sufficient to make a significant difference, but not so much that you won’t have the energy to complete the workouts.

Top tips on how to cut calories

  • You might think the best way to zap 350 calories from your daily diet is simply to skip a meal. Wrong. Your body actually burns up calories in digesting food, so the fewer meals you eat, the less of a chance it has to do that. Space your meals out throughout the day.
  • Downsize your portions by approximately a fifth on everything except for fruit and vegetables.
  • Eat mindfully. You can’t afford to ‘waste’ calories by eating mindlessly at the fridge, or straight from the saucepan. Make sure that you sit down to savor all your meals and snacks.
  • Don’t scrimp on protein. Eat a portion of protein at lunchtime – equal to the amount of carbohydrate you eat – to help avoid an energy slump in the afternoon, which could have you heading for the vending machine!
  • Breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dine like a pauper to fit in with the body’s natural metabolism which is primed in the morning and tails off during the day.
  • Go easy on the mochas, flavored lattes and hot chocolates with cream on top! Stick to plain Americano coffee, tea or herbal tea for the next 2 weeks.
  • Watch the booze. If you regularly drink your maximum recommended units (21 per week for women), then you are taking in more than 1,000 extra calories. Just one 440ml can of premium beer weighs in at 260 calories so opting for a soft drink instead over the next two weeks is a wise choice.

By following our 14-day action plan and our advice on resistance training and calorie cutting, you will hopefully be able to fit into that dress in time for your big event. But remember, this is only a short-term weight-loss plan. The best way to lose weight in the long term is to gradually increase your levels of physical activity and follow a balanced, healthy diet.

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