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Get into your party dress in a fortnight — part 1

Two weeks to get fit for the Christmas party!

If ‘get fit in time for Christmas’ is still on your never-ending ‘to do’ list, you are probably thinking that’s where it has to stay now, with the festivities just around the corner. But you’ll be glad to hear that, providing you are willing to put in some effort, there is still time to ensure you'll be able to get into your party dress for Christmas.

Get into your party dress in a fortnight
Okay, you can’t undergo a major transformation in two weeks, but you can shed a little excess weight, firm up slack muscles, overhaul your posture and get your body firing on all cylinders (ridding yourself of sluggish digestion, bloating, poor circulation and flagging energy levels).

Is it worth it? Absolutely! Not only will you look and feel great in your party outfit, you will also kick-start your fitness for the New Year and minimize Christmas weight gain.

Two weeks to get fit to party!

This 14-day plan tackles excess body baggage in three ways – aerobic exercise will increase calorie expenditure, and, of course, get your most important muscle of all in shape (your heart, girls, not your butt!). Your ‘daily dose’ of aerobic exercise aims to burn 300-400 calories per session, and it is best to vary the type of activity you choose, both to reduce the risk of injury and provide physical and mental variety.

Strength training will firm and strengthen weak, flabby muscles and prevent the loss of lean muscle mass that usually accompanies dieting. It will also improve posture by creating balance between opposing muscle groups, enhancing function of the stabilizing muscles and improving range of motion. The full body strength workout below gets all your major muscles involved with just nine moves, by working more than one muscle group at a time – saving time and getting you the best results.

The third prong of the fork is moderate calorie reduction – to maximize the deficit between the amount of energy you consume and the amount you burn. We suggest cutting 350 calories per day – (which amounts to a 17.5% reduction on a typical 2,000 calorie per day diet). It’s sufficient to make a significant difference but not so much that you won’t have the energy to complete the workouts. You’ll find some tips on cutting those calories below.

But bear in mind that this is a two-week plan – not a way to eat or exercise for life.

Read on to find out more about how to put the diet plan into action...

The diet plan

Day 1
Daily dose: 45 minutes of brisk walking (at least 4mph pace) swimming or cycling.
Strength circuit.
Extra helper: Take a conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) supplement every day for the next fortnight – it has shown promising results in enhancing fat burning and lean tissue growth.

Day 2
Daily dose:
30 minutes running (at least 10 minute mile pace) elliptical training or rowing.
Extra helper: Drink a cup of coffee an hour before your workout today to maximize the use of fat as a fuel.

Day 3
Daily dose:
45 minutes of brisk walking (at least 4mph pace) swimming or cycling
Strength circuit.
Extra helper: Substitute one sugary canned drink or an alcoholic one with a fresh juice or fruit smoothie (with no added sugar).

Day 4
Daily dose:
45 minute to one hour aerobics or step class or exercise video.
Extra helper: Ensure you are getting eight hours sleep a night, to help you recover from the workouts.

Day 5
Daily dose:
30 minutes running (at least 10 minute mile pace) elliptical training or rowing.
Strength circuit.
Extra helper: Eliminate bloating by ensuring you eat plenty of potassium rich foods, such as dried apricots, bananas, potatoes and kiwi fruit.

Day 6
Daily dose: 45 minutes of brisk walking (at least 4mph pace) swimming or cycling.
Extra helper: Practice drawing your navel to spine throughout the day – this is the tummy flattening move you’ll need for that figure hugging dress!

Day 7
Strength circuit.
Extra helper: Stretch out classically tight hip flexors, chest and shoulders with yoga’s inverted staff posture. Lie face up across a foot stool with a pillow on it, with feet on the floor and arms outstretched beside your ears. Hold for at least a minute. You could use a Swiss ball instead.

Day 8
Daily dose: 30 minutes running (at least 10 minute mile pace) elliptical training or rowing.
Extra helper: Make sure you eat some protein with every meal – it helps you feel satiated and uses up more calories in digestion than fat or carbohydrate.

Day 9
Daily dose:
45 minutes of brisk walking (at least 4mph pace) swimming or cycling
Strength circuit.
Extra helper: Start body brushing, to boost circulation and aid the release of toxins. It gets your skin glowing, too. Always brush upwards, towards the heart.

Day 10
Daily dose:
45 minute to one hour aerobics or step class or exercise video.
Extra helper: Practice the carb curfew (no carbs after 5pm) for the next four days. That means no pasta, rice, bread or potatoes with your evening meal, but plenty of veg or salad. The body holds on to three grams of water for every one gram of carbohydrate it stores, so this strategy will help you shed weight by reducing overall carbohydrate intake.

Day 11
Daily dose:
30 minutes running (at least 10 minute mile pace) elliptical training or rowing.
Strength circuit.
Extra helper: Drink green tea – studies show that it boosts metabolism.

Day 12
Daily dose:
45 minutes of brisk walking (at least 4mph pace) swimming or cycling.
Extra helper: Book yourself in for a professional fake tan or DIY it! Darker skin will make you look slimmer!

Day 13
Strength circuit.
Extra helper: Follow your final strength circuit with a full-body stretch, holding each position for at least 30 seconds. Alternatively, treat yourself to a sports massage to iron out tension and tightness.

Day 14
Daily dose: 45 minute to one hour aerobics, step class or exercise video.
Extra helper: Wear solid colours (black, brown and other dark shades are most slimming), put your hair up and wear heels to create a taller, longer, slimmer silhouette! Go girl...

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