Once you've found the perfect dress, you'll want to look your best and really shine in it. Maybe you want to tone up your arms and back or maybe you want to lose a few pounds. Whatever your prom fitness goals, with some motivation and a healthy plan, you can reach them.
Our tips are based on a 60 day program, but it's important to tailor the plan to your goals. Remember that, except for severely obese people, it's not recommended that you lose more than two pounds in a week. That means you could safely lose 8 pounds in 60 days. Any more than that and it's more likely that you're dropping muscle and water, making your body weaker instead of healthier. Plan ahead and give yourself enough time to meet your goal without starving yourself or exercising obsessively. It's also important to remember that muscle weighs more than fat does. Judge your progress on more than the number on the scale. How do you feel? What are your measurements? You could tone up your waist and thighs and actually put on weight from your new muscle.
Avoid crash dieting before prom. No matter what the magazines or fads tell you, all you need to see lasting weight-loss and a healthier you is exercise, portion control, and eating more natural, less processed foods. Remember that weight-loss is about calories in vs calories out. Keep a log of what you eat vs the calories you burn. My Fitness Pal (a href="myfitnesspal.com" title="myfitnesspal.com homepage">myfitnesspal.com or the iPhone app) helps you set a weight-loss goal based on your age, weight, and height, and makes it easy track your calories and what you burn through exercise. And it's free!
Don't skip meals! Doing that curbs your metabolism and makes your impulse control much weaker later in the day. Instead, cut back calories where you can. For example, eat smaller portions. Cut carbs from dinner and eat a fibrous vegetable such as spinach, kale, or celery instead. Instead of having something high-calorie for dessert or a snack, swap for fresh fruit, low-fat yogurt, or carrots and dip. Drink plenty of water, too. Water helps keep your body running, flushes toxins, and suppresses your appetite.
Keep yourself motivated! Look at pictures of healthy foods when you're feeling cravings. Fresh fruits and vegetables are prettier than french fries, retrain yourself to crave them instead. Hang your dress or a picture of it on your closet door so you can see it regularly. You can do it! And you'll feel great.
Physical fitness experts recommend 30 minutes of vigorous or 60 minutes of moderate intensity exercise on most days of the week (~5 days/week) to get in peak fitness.
Build your exercise program around activities you enjoy and the type of body you want. For example, if you love your curves or your thin figure, but want to add long, lean muscles, focus on strength training programs inspired by ballet and yoga or Pilates. There are plenty of programs you can do at home, such as the American Ballet Company Workout, Prevention's Ballet Barre Bootcamp, or a huge range of yoga and Pilates DVDs. You can even find workouts on Netflix or iTunes. There are also many work out routines on Pinterest. Don't forget the cardio! Pair these exercises with a 30 minute jog or a 60 minute walk.
If you're looking for a more sculpted physique, a physical trainer recommended two programs from Beach Body to us. The first is a 60 day program, Insanity, which uses high intensity interval training and emphasizes cardiovascular conditioning. Get ready to sweat! If you have a bit longer, try the 90 day P90x program, which is structured on building lean muscle. This program is good for those interested in using weights in their strength training. Each of these programs can be done at home with minimal equipment.
Below is a sample workout schedule you can do at home on your own. Remember to also keep your balanced diet and eat your veggies, plus drink plenty of water! If any of these exercises is too hard, or too many reps, modify it by doing fewer and work yourself up. The key is to do more over time to keep your body pushing harder. That way you won't plateau and lose momentum.
You can also find many videos of these on YouTube
Pliés: (Demi-Pliés) Start with your feet in first position; ankles together, toes pointed out and your posture straight. Slowly bend at the knee, keeping your posture straight. Your knees should go out, but your bottom should stay under your hips (not sticking out). Release by slowly rising back up.
You might want to hold onto a bar or the back of a chair to keep balance. Pliés are great for toning your inner and outer-thighs and glutes. Plus, they're great for your posture and core. Do them every day for long, lean legs.
Grand Pliés: These are essentially the same as Pliés, but instead of starting in first position, start with your feet hip-width apart.
Standing Leg Lifts: Start with your feet together. Hold onto the back of a chair for balance. Keeping your posture straight, with your hips straight and your bottom beneath your hips (not sticking out), point the toe of one leg behind your body. Slowly raise and lower the leg (with toe still pointed) about a foot off the ground. Slowly release back down. That's one rep.
Leg Lifts: Lay down on the floor on your side with your head propped up on your hand. Your hips should be under you and your body should be in a straight line. Point your toe. Lift one leg up in the air, slowly, as high as you can, with the toe pointed. Flex your foot (so it's parallel to your body or in the position it would be flat on the floor) and lower down slowly. That's one rep.
Plank: This move comes from yoga and Pilates. It starts out feeling low-impact, but the longer you hold it, the more you feel it in your arms and core. You can do this one of two ways: either hold your body up on your toes and extended arms, like in a push up and stay there for as long as you can or do a half-plank by supporting your body with your arms bent at the elbow and your forearms on the ground in front of you.
Side Crunches: Start in the position you would for a normal crunch. When you come up, twist to one side, then the middle, then the other side. That's one rep.
Hundred: This move comes from Pilates and it's an intense core workout. Lay flat on your back. Slowly lift your legs at a 45 degree angle, raise your head and neck off the ground, and extend your arms. Start pulsing your arms up and down in short movements. You can also do this move with your legs bent at the knees so your legs are parallel to the ground and your knees are above your hips. When you pulse your arms, make sure you breathe so that your arms come up on the inhale and go down at the exhale.