Five days of non-bloating foods and fat burning workouts will help you look and feel sexy in whatever you are—or aren’t—wearing
Whether you’re having a romantic dinner or getting drinks with your girls, Valentine’s Day is a day where all women want to feel—and look—their sexiest. If you’ve been skipping the gym lately, all hope is not lost! Being on your best behavior for the final week can actually make all the difference in flattening your stomach and fine-toning your muscles quickly.
We turned to Franci Cohen, personal trainer, certified nutritionist, exercise physiologist, and founder of Fuel Fitness in Brooklyn, for a nutrition and workout plan to help you tone up and slim down in just five days. Every day features seven to nine meals (designated as M1, M2, etc.), all with foods featuring small metabolic perks that not only maximize calorie burn this week, but keep your metabolism up when you ease back into normal eating next week. You can drink coffee throughout the week, but skip the sugar and stick to skim milk if you don't like it black. And don’t forget to drink at least 32 ounces of water every day. (It's one of our 10 Ways to Lose Weight Without Even Trying.)
Follow the meal plans and workout suggestions below to look your best in whatever you are—or aren’t—wearing this Valentine’s Day. (Need suggestions on what to barely wear? Try these Pretty Intimates: The Season's Sexiest Lingerie.)
Be mindful about eating small portions as frequently as possible in order to reduce your overall stomach size, which can help keep you full for longer with less food, and to keep your blood sugar levels stable.
M1: 1/2 oatmeal pancakes recipe (Combine 1/2 cup old fashion oats, 3 egg whites, 1/2 mashed banana, and cinnamon. Spray pan with cooking spray and pour pancake mixture on in spoonfuls. Flip when they begin to bubble. Divide into half for now, and half for M4. ) Top pancakes with 8 raspberries.
M2: 1 green apple with 2 tablespoons plain, lowfat Greek yogurt
M3: Turkey wraps: Lay 3 big collard green leaves down individually like a wrap. On each, spread balsamic aioli (made from balsamic vinegar, Dijon mustard, lowfat green mayo, salt, pepper). Top with 1/4 pound fresh turkey breast slices (not deli meat), 2 shredded carrots, and 1/4 cup dandelion greens, divided evenly among the three. Roll up like a wrap. Recipe yields 3 wraps.
M4: 1/2 oatmeal pancake recipe and a pear
M5: 6 raw almonds and 1 cup skim milk
M6: 4 ounces grilled chicken breast, cubed, and tossed over an Israeli salad consisting of 3 Israeli cucumbers diced, 1 red pepper diced, juice of 1 whole lemon, and 1/4 cup chopped parsley. Season with cumin and a dot of salt if desired.
M7: 4 ounces of hot water with lemon, and a bowl of 1 cup raw arugula for a good night snack
Listen to your body: One neurotransmitter called CCK (cholesystokinene) gets sent from the stomach to brain to register that you’re full, but it takes about 20 minutes for this message to be sent. Eat slowly to give your body ample time to recognize that it is full and to save you thousands of calories.
M1: 3 Spider Bites (Mix together 1 cup old-fashioned oats, 2/3 toasted coconut flakes, 1/2 cup nut butter, 1/2 cup flaxseed meal, 1/2 cup dark chocolate cacao nibs, 1/4 agave or honey, 1 to 2 teaspoon vanilla extract. Cover and put in fridge for an hour, then roll into balls. Recipe yields 25 to 30 balls.)
M2: 1/2 cup toasted whole grain oats cereal with 1/2 cup skim milk, and 3 strawberries
M3: 1 cup cantaloupe cubed with 3 raw walnuts and 3 raw almonds
M4: Whole grain English muffin toasted, with an omelet made of 3 egg whites and 1/2 cup fresh baby spinach leaves
M5: 1 individual can white tuna in water mixed with 1/2 cup shredded purple cabbage, 1/4 cup shredded carrots, Lowfat mayo, and Dijon mustard
M6: 2 spider bites and a small green apple
M7: 4 ounces piece grilled salmon over 2 cups wasabi slaw (mix bagged shredded white cabbage/cole slaw mix with lowfat mayo and wasabi mayo as desired)
M8: 1 red bell pepper and 1 cup hot water with juice of 1/2 lemon and a dash of cayenne pepper
Workout: One-hour treadmill circuit (Try one of these 4 Fat-Burning Plans to Beat Treadmill Boredom.)
Three days in, you’re probably already feeling different—everything from sugar-withdrawal headaches to a clean, healthy feeling. Keep a symptom log about how energized, deflated, achy or pain-free you feel after certain meals or throughout the day. This will come in handy further down the road!
M1: 1 green apple
M2: 2 tablespoons plain, low-fat Greek yogurt with 2 teaspoons Fiber One cereal, 1/4 cup blueberries, and 1/4 cup raspberries
M3: 1 clementine and 1 hard boiled egg
M4: Salad made from 1/2 cup parsley and 1/2 cup dandelion greens with juice of 1 lemon
M5: 1 hard boiled egg with 1 cup vegetable minestrone soup over 2 tablespoons cooked ditalini pasta. (Puree 6 broiled tomatoes and mix with 32 ounces low-sodium vegetable broth for your stock. Sauté 3 fresh leeks, 3 carrots and 3 celery stalks, all diced for your base. Combine and add 3 ears fresh steamed corn shucked off the cob, 3 cups fresh baby spinach, 1 can of canelini beans, drained and rinsed, some 1 tablespoon fresh oregano and 2 tablespoon fresh basil. Recipe yields 4 servings.)
M6: Mix together 1 cup chopped, cooked chicken, 1 ripe avocado diced, 1/2 cup Panko flakes, 1 clove garlic crushed, 2 teaspoon fresh chopped cilantro, and salt/pepper to taste. Form 5 patties from this mixture and grill (best prepared medium, not well done). Also grill 2 portabella mushroom caps. Sandwich one cooked patty between two portabella cap buns, along with romaine lettuce.
M7: 2 Fiber One treats (melt 2/3 bag semi sweet chocolate chips, stir in 1 bag of fiber one cereal, add 1/4 cup craisins. Spoon one by one onto a baking tray lined with wax paper and freeze! Recipe should yield 26 treats.)
Workout: One hour of indoor cycling (Don’t have a class to go to? Do this Spin to Slim Workout Plan!)
Time to double up on exercise! It’ll be challenging to juggle with your schedule, but it's the key to allow a little cheating and splurging over the weekend (like V-Day chocolates!). The workouts today and tomorrow are very intense to help your body draw even more than usual from stored glycogen, allowing the body to target and eliminate fat stores during and even for hours after exercise. The foods on your plan will have this same theory in mind.
M1: 1 Fiber One treat with a cup of coffee (full caffeine)
M2: Slice a banana into 10 slices. Take 3 teaspoons of peanut butter and divide evenly on top of each slice. Freeze on baking tray lined with wax paper. Eat 3 for this meal
M3: 1/2 oatmeal pancake (same recipe as Day 1) and 1/4 cup raspberries
M4: 1 red pepper, 1 cucumber, 1 carrot, 1 hardboiled egg
M5: 1/2 oatmeal pancake with 1/2 grapefruit
M6: 1.5 cups soup (yesterday's recipe) with 2 ounces cubed grilled chicken breast tossed into soup
M7: 2 cups mixed greens with 2 ounces grilled chicken breast cubed, 3 strawberries slices into salad, and 6 raw almonds chopped. Dress salad with 2 tablespoons avocado dressing (1 avocado, a little less than 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, 1/4 cup water, 1/4 cup parsley, 1 clove garlic, juice of 1/2 fresh lemon, 1 teaspoon agave nectar, salt and pepper to taste).
M8: 1 cup hot water with 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice and a dash of cayenne pepper
Workout: One-hour HIIT routine (We trust The HIIT Workout the Indianapolis Colts Cheerleaders Swear By.)
Eat a small amount of protein at every meal—the nitrogen in protein helps you lose water weight, and your body has to work harder to digest protein compared to carbs and fats (and more work means more calorie burn!).
M1: 1 slice whole grain, low-calorie bread toasted with 1 tablespoon low-fat peanut butter and 1/2 green apple sliced
M2: 1/2 banana and 6 raw almonds
M3: 1 stick part-skim string cheese and 1 red bell pepper
M4: 1 individual can white tuna in water, a bit of Dijon mustard, and 2 celery sticks
M5: 1/2 cup old fashion oats made with 1/2 cup skim milk, cinnamon as desired, and 1/2 teaspoon agave
M6: 4 ounces grilled tuna steak with 1/2 cup steamed broccoli, and a salad of 2 cups mixed greens topped with 1/4 cup red beets steamed and finely sliced. Dress salad with a mixture of balsamic vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, and Dijon mustard.
M7: 1 cup peppermint tea
Workout: One-hour cardio bootcamp (We like this Barry's Bootcamp-Inspired Abs, Butt, and Core Workout.)