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.
"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."
Snideman recommended consuming three to five servings of lean protein such as eggs, chicken, turkey or fish, as well as fruits, leafy greens, salads and vegetables.
To avoid bloating, limit sodium and replace soda and carbonated beverages with plenty of water. Whitmarsh said 90 ounces a day will provide the hydration needed. Avoiding these foods and drinks will also aid in the loss of water weight.
Good to go? Not yet!
Before starting any fitness regimen, talk to a physician. Overdoing it or working out incorrectly can result in injury, and missing out on a special event would be even worse than not feeling good beforehand.
"You will always want to use common sense and listen to your body," Snideman said.
One of the most unexpected benefits of a two-week fitness regimen is the possibility that it will inspire people to continue working out.
"It is never a bad time to start a new fitness program and jump-start your health and fitness into a positive direction," Snideman said. "Success begets success, so an aggressive start to a fitness and nutrition regime almost always yields faster results. When people experience the direct cause/effect relationship between exercise and food, it will strengthen their discipline, and then exercising and eating properly will become a new habit. And when good habits are formed, staying in shape is simple."
No time to tone up? Fake it!
The No. 1 thing to remember when it comes to looking good is to make sure you feel good.
"You have to be comfortable in your own skin and love the body you have," said Lili Zafar, a fashion stylist and owner of Lilipeach House of Fashion in Solana Beach. "Even if (something) looks like a million dollars on you, if you're uncomfortable, it's going to show."
With that in mind, here are a few strategic fashion and beauty tips to create an elegant silhouette by day or by night.
Eliminate extra fabric. While you may think you're disguising a tummy bulge or wide hips with an extra-large size, pleated pants or a long shirt, that extra material equals extra girth. You can easily look smaller by wearing fitted clothing that skins your body. To minimize hips, wear shirts to your hip bone. No matter your size or shape, wear a foundation garment such as Flexees One Fabulous Body to streamline your figure. Two other slenderizing fashion tricks: Wear a deep v-neck for an hourglass figure and avoid flat, rounded toe shoes.
- Sara Levy, fashion stylist and author of "The Fashion Code," Rancho Santa Fe
If you're having trouble finding a look that works for you, consult a reliable source for fashion advice. Fabric, the cut of clothing and color can dramatically impact your overall look. If short and petite, hem lines should either fall a little bit above the knee or down to the floor. Wearing a belt diagonally will make your waist appear thinner. Be careful not to overdo accessories, as too much of a dazzling thing can add bulk; limit yourself to one dramatic piece.
- Lili Zafar, fashion stylist and owner of Lilipeach House of Fashion, Solana Beach
There are several ways to wear your hair to slenderize and soften the lines of your face and neck: a loose chignon at the nape, full bangs, pulling back the hair at the sides of your face, tucking hair behind the ears or wearing hair up. Avoid slicking hair back or, conversely, wearing hair too full around the face. Wearing chandelier earrings or a longer necklace also creates a slimming affect.
- Suzanne Felando Mattson, hair stylist and owner of Studio Felando, Solana Beach
To draw attention upward, create a dramatic look around the eyes. Any product or procedure that draws attention to the face, such as eyelash extensions or teeth whitening, also helps focus attention upward.
- Shannon Ruebel, stylist/colorist at Dario Salon, La Jolla
Proper use of cosmetics allows women to contour their face and focus attention. Using two shades of blush under the cheekbone (one a bit darker), blending upward and outward with a sponge and dusting with translucent powder will create angular definition. Avoid glitter, sparkle or frosted colors.
- Susan Gail, master makeup artist, author, cosmetic surgery consultant, La Jolla
To shimmy into that little black dress, use a dry body brush to slough off dry skin, get circulation flowing and make the skin on your thighs and backside feel taught and baby smooth. Build up a faux tan in just a few hours with a self tanning lotion, wearing gloves to rub it on to prevent orange palms. Blend shimmery highlighter cream down your shins to give the illusion of longer, more slender gams.
- Stephanie Simons,
Look thinner and younger with proportion control
Twins Sara and Ruth Levy have combined their joint experience as designers and stylists to create "The Fashion Code," a formula that identifies the perfect proportion for each woman. The authors recently appeared on the Rachael Ray Show to reveal their fashion secrets that instantly trim pounds and years while adding style.
"There really is a science to beauty," said Sara Levy, a resident of Rancho Santa Fe.
Based on a mathematic principle known as the Devine Proportion or the Golden Ratio, the fashion code is personalized for each client by entering three simple measurements online before purchase of the e-book. Additional information and fashion tips are available at
Try out a new look with a virtual makeover at
Based in La Jolla,
launched in March 2008 as an online beauty and style resource. Drawing more than 1 million visitors each month, the interactive site allows women to upload a digital photograph and then experiment with makeup, beauty products and hair styles. The "virtual makeovers" can be saved and shared with friends or printed out for a visit to the hair stylist or makeup artist. The site also offers beauty articles and tutorials to achieve various looks.