Fitness isn’t just about being able to squeeze into skinny jeans and minidresses —you’ve got Spanx for that. Truth is, you want to feel sexy, beautiful, confident and, above all, healthy so you can dance the night away with your girlfriends, kick the ball around with your kids and be up for whatever steamy adventure your partner proposes. Now, if only finding the perfect workout plan was as simple as purchasing shapewear.
Well, it can be! Try these fab tricks — covering exercise, motivation, weight loss and more — and you’re guaranteed to see the results you’ve always wanted. Vamos, chica!
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Mark in Your iCal
Take it from an old consejo: “Fail to plan, plan to fail.” Before you get going, sit down and figure out how exercise realistically fits in your schedule. Not a morning person? Don’t sign up for Zumba at 8 a.m.! Sounds simple, but too often we subconsciously sabotage ourselves. “Resolve to dedicate 20 minutes a day to moving your body in the space you have,” says Ary Nunez, a Nike celeb personality and trainer who works with Rihanna, Kat DeLuna and Alicia Keys using a mix of martial arts, dancing and calisthenics. “It can be as simple as performing pull-ups, push-ups and planks in your living room, or going for a walk with a friend.”
Gym memberships aren’t cheap—and neither are personal trainers or nutritionists. So let technology coach you gratis. Terrific free, easy-to-use apps like MyFitnessPal and LoseIt will help keep track of your daily calorie intake as well as generate a customizable meal plan. Other zero-payment exercise apps, like Nike Training Club, offer full-body workouts that you can do almost anywhere. Over time you can accumulate points on the Nike app that unlock exclusive workouts from celeb personal trainers, like Nunez (gain access at 3,000 points), who is proud to share a unique routine that blends kung fu and salsa.
Reinvent Running Indoors
When it comes to the treadmill, it doesn’t stop at walking and running. Consider turning the boring ol’ conveyor belt into a 360-degree dance floor. “I came up with this fun program called NinjaTreads for my two primas, who were looking to make their treadmill time more engaging and exciting,” Nunez says. “So I had them travel forward, backward, laterally and dancing.” Try this 40-minute workout from Nunez: Warm up at 3.0 incline and 3.0 pace for 5 minutes. Increase the incline to 10.0 without changing the speed. After 10 minutes, up the pace to 4.0 and continue for another 10 minutes. Reduce the speed back to 3.0 and boost the incline to 15 for 10 minutes. Lower the speed to 2.0 and incline to 3.0, then turn to your side for 30 seconds of lateral work. Repeat on the other side. Do this three times. Lastly, travel backward for one minute, then forward for one minute. Repeat three times. Cool down as you like!
Take It Outside
Lace up your sneakers and walk out the door for the perfect pick-me-up. One large report published in the research journal Environmental Science and Technology found that exercising outside created feelings of revitalization, higher energy and positive thinking. “It’s also a great way to catch up with your girlfriends,” says Ana Caban, a Los Angeles–based fitness and lifestyle expert who has trained Lili “La Flaca” Estefan. “Unlike a gym class, where you can’t talk, during a walk or run in the park, you can chew—and burn—the fat at the same time with your besties,” she says.
Tweet It Out Loud
Studies have long supported the idea that keeping a journal of your progress is a surefire way to ensure, well, progress. But if you’re not the pen-and-paper type, consider sharing your honest feedback—how you feel, what works or doesn’t, how you’ve changed—on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. There, you have the added bonus of having your friends cheer you on, offer words of advice and check in on you often, Caban says. Who knows, you may inspire the people closest to you to make positive changes too! Use the hashtag #ciaochichos so others can follow your weight-loss journey. If you prefer to keep it private, you can still create a social media account where you can post photos and write comments that aren’t visible to the public.
Pack It In
“Group fitness is the new church,” Caban recently heard someone say. And she couldn’t agree more: “Women, especially Latinas, go to a gym class for each other, the community, the accountability and the support because, generally, everyone’s in it together to look better, feel better, be a better wife, friend and employee.” Zumba may be the first fitness class that comes to mind, but it’s hardly your only bet. “The ideal class for you is the one will you go to,” Caban assures. For a gym-free workout option, consider signing up with friends for a super-social event, like the Electric Run. The new nighttime neon 5-K (3.1 miles) set to electronic dance music invites participants (over 10,000 showed up at the inaugural run hosted by Carmen Electra in L.A. last year!) to light up the course with brilliant accessories. This way, you’ll have a group goal and reason to meet up before work to train and have un cafecito.
Dress the Part
On days when you don’t feel like working out, still put on your sports bra—yes, under your office outfit—as a constant reminder of your commitment, says Nunez, who admits to following her own advice. “Putting on even one piece of your gym outfit is incentive to get it done,” she adds. The brighter the bra color, the harder it’ll be to ignore it.
Have a Dance-Off
Girls’ night out just got healthier: Next time you’re at the club, challenge your chicas to a friendly competition, Nunez says. “My primas will choreograph something in private ahead of time so that when they go out, they’ve got their moves down,” she laughs. Or better yet, sign up for a “Dance Dance Party Party” (DDPP) class. This mujeres-only freestyle dance session puts you in a low-lit, club-like setting with a bunch of strangers who will join you in shaking your rump to a 60-minute dance mix spun by a live DJ. If you don’t have a local DDPP, their website details exactly how you can easily start one near you (http://dancedancepartyparty.com/).