Source: Sweenshots & Shaymone | Stocksy
As a holistic health coach, one of the questions (and text messages) I get most often is along the lines of “OMG, I have a wedding/first date/big event this weekend. How can I get more toned ASAP?” While we’re all playing the long game when it comes to our health (hello, healthy habits!), sometimes we want a quick fix for a little boost. Whether it’s an event you want to feel your best for or you just feel like you need a little motivation after sitting on your couch for almost two years straight (’cause same), I’ve compiled my best tips and tricks for feeling more toned by tomorrow.
Just so we’re clear, “toned” is not a way you look in the mirror. It doesn’t mean six-pack abs or defined biceps. At The Everygirl, we’re redefining being “toned” to mean feeling strong and healthy in your body. No matter your jeans size or how many pounds you can bench press; you deserve to feel like the strong, toned badass you are, and you deserve to feel it by tomorrow. Read on for instant tips to help you get there.
1. Try an at-home sculpt class
No surprise! The easiest way to feel more toned is to actually make your muscles stronger. And how do you make your muscles stronger? By using resistance to work them. When you’re working your muscles, the tension causes microscopic tears that are then repaired, and that repairing is where the “strengthening” happens. Also, call it the placebo effect or simply the fact that muscles swell after they’re worked, but I swear I feel more toned whenever I’m sore the next day. Try a workout that targets every muscle group and works the whole body.
We love Obé Fitness because it offers a wide variety of classes intended to sculpt and tone muscles, all from the comfort of your own home. Personally, my go-to is the sculpt classes for full body work with high reps and light weights (I’m always sore afterward!), but if heavier weights are more your jam, check out the other strength or power classes. Oh, and if you don’t have weights at home? No worries. Body resistance is enough to work the muscles too.
Use code “TEG50” for 50% off your first month, in addition to the 7 day free trial
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2. Drink a lot of water
Water seems like the magical cure-all—because it really is. Water not only helps with digestion (AKA less uncomfortable bloat to let those abs pop out), but it also helps muscles feel stronger. “Drinking water is important if you want to build muscle because it’s the primary vessel for carrying the nutrients your muscles need,” recommended Tami Smith, an ACE certified personal trainer. “It also helps prevent your muscles from breaking down by avoiding the shrinking of muscle cells.” Next time you’re tempted to reach for a pre-workout supplement, remember that water is the best possible accompaniment for your strength training. Staying adequately hydrated not only helps you get the most out of your workouts, but it also helps muscles continue to grow.
3. Choose your nighttime snack wisely
Forget those rules that say you should stop eating two hours before bed or that a midnight snack is bad for you. Bottom line: Eat when you’re hungry (that’s how the body is meant to work), but just be conscious about what you reach for when you start to get those pre-bedtime hunger growls. For example, Heather Hanks, MS CAM, a medical adviser for Medical Solutions, recommended produce and lean protein. “Try fresh, whole foods and vegetables that contain de-bloating and toxin-flushing nutrients, such as vitamins, minerals, fiber, water, and antioxidants,” she suggested. “Eating lean protein can also provide adequate amounts of amino acids that are needed for muscle synthesis.” To get more specific, try a nighttime snack like bananas when you’re hungry. Bananas are high in potassium, which reduces bloating by helping to flush excess sodium and fluid out of the body.
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4. Stretch before bed
Stretching is one of the best health hacks, but it’s also one of the most overlooked. “Stretching out your muscles can help lengthen them back out after they’ve been in a contracted state,” Smith explained. “When your muscles are loose (instead of tight), you tend to have a more lean, toned feeling than when they are tight.” To be your healthiest, strongest self, you don’t just need to be working your muscles to strengthen, you need to be stretching them too. Stretching helps the muscles repair, but certain stretches and yoga poses can also be used to help digestion or decrease bloating to feel your most toned. Try to stretch out the muscle group you worked, do some go-to stretches for the entire body (bonus: these stretches might also help ease anxiety), or use a foam roller to get deeper into the muscle.
5. Get a good night of sleep
Sleep is beneficial for recovering energy to work those muscles again tomorrow. Muscle-building hormones are also produced during sleep, which means your muscles are actually able to grow during and because of sleep–AKA the easiest way to feel more toned by tomorrow. According to Sleep.org, the growth hormone (or the hormone responsible for building muscle) is typically produced during deep sleep. “During sleep, the human growth hormones are activated, helping muscles to recover, repair, heal, grow, and rest from the micro tears occurred during the day,” agreed Dasha Einhorn, a Pilates instructor and NASM-certified fitness specialist. As if you needed more reason to shut off season two of Outer Banks and get to bed early tonight (no but really, get to bed!), muscle growth actually happens while you’re getting your beauty sleep, so rest up to help your body feel more toned.
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This post contains a sponsored inclusion of obé, but all of the opinions within are those of The Everygirl editorial board.