Look your best: Fitness experts and stylists offer advice for a long and lean look

Whether it's a gala, a wedding or a much-anticipated vacation, a special event will be much more enjoyable if you are looking and feeling your best. But sometimes that date on the calendar creeps up sooner than expected. The good news from fitness experts is that it's never too late to tone up.

"If you are serious and dedicated for two weeks, you can see a huge change in your body," said Solana Beach's Cindy Whitmarsh, a licensed sports nutritionist, owner of Ultrafit Nutrition Systems Inc. and fitness expert for KUSI news.

Why bother?

"The benefits of a two-week fat blast can be huge," Whitmarsh said. "Better complexion, weight loss, toning, more energy, sleep aid, reduction of cellulite and much more."

Good health and staying in shape relate directly to quality of life. Working out means better energy, less stress on joints and soft tissues, and a lean look. There will also be a sense of well-being and more self-confidence.

"Healthy habits lead to a healthy body and a healthy self-image," said Yoana Snideman, a strength coach and fast-loss expert who co-owns Revolution Fitness in La Jolla with her husband, Franz Snideman.

Where to start?

Men and women have different concerns when it comes to toning up problem areas. For men, the focus is usually on abdominals and the chest. Women typically express concern about the abdominal region, hips, rear end and thighs.

When it comes to fast results, Whitmarsh said clients usually want to work on abs, gluts, hips and triceps.

When time is of the essence, Snideman said the best way to fast results is to create an aggressive, full-body metabolic response.

"This is best achieved by performing bouts of full-body exercises such as squats, lunges, dead lifts, pull-ups, military presses and kettlebell swings," Snideman said. "Movements that tax all of the body's systems at one time are the most effective for quick fat loss and muscle toning."

What kind of workout?

To tone up fast, Snideman recommends a comprehensive routine that includes a brief warm up and stretching, followed by a circuit of four to five exercises that work as many muscle groups as possible, targeting the belly, thighs, gluts, arms and shoulders. By performing a series of sets, such as lunges, push-ups, squats and vertical jumps, and resting one to two minutes between rounds, the workout will not only tone and strengthen, but work the cardiovascular system also.

"This type of circuit strength training has been shown to help you lose fat faster and increase your overall full-body conditioning," Snideman said.

For belly toning, Whitmarsh suggested exercise ball crunches. Underarm jiggle can be reduced with overhead extensions and tricep dips. To tighten and firm the tush and thighs, perform squats and lunges.

What to eat?

Nutrition also plays a role in toning up, especially when you want fast results. Eliminate sugars, artificial sweeteners, alcohol, starches and processed foods.

"White is out," Whitmarsh said. "Cut out all white foods like bread, pastries or anything that comes in a box."



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