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
Workout: One hour of kickboxing (Take a class, or try our Killer Kickboxing Workout and Kickboxing for Killer Abs.)
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.)
Click here to see your slim down page for the last three days.
By Rachael Schultz