From Flab to Fab: Your Holiday Survival Guide
Ditch the Spanx and trim down with last-minute pre-party tricks from top celebrity trainers — perfect for any outfit.
By Jihan Thompson
Photo Credit: Scott and Zoe/Scott and Zoe
FOR A CLINGY DRESS
"Since skintight dresses show the pooch, I suggest doing a lot of reverse crunches with a lift," says Ramona Braganza, who's sculpted the lean bods of Jessica Alba, Halle Berry, and Jessica Biel. Lie on your back, knees pulled up to chest and hands under your butt to support your lower back. Uncurl legs straight out, keeping them six inches from the floor. (Don't let them touch the ground!) Lift legs straight up so that they're perpendicular to the floor and add a small lift of your butt. Curl legs back into the start position. Do three sets of 10.
To make your butt look slammin' in a body-hugging dress, Ashley Borden (who's trained Christina Aguilera) recommends "single Roman dead lifts" to really work your glutes. Here's how: Stand upright with legs hip-width apart. Lift left leg back and tilt your torso forward, keeping your back flat and eyes to the floor. (Your goal is to make your torso parallel to the floor.) With your left leg straight, extend your right arm directly out front. Hold for two counts, then return to starting position. Repeat with right leg. Do three sets of 10 on each leg.
FOR A SHORT SKIRT
For knockout legs, Kim Lyons, a former trainer on NBC's The Biggest Loser, says, "Lunges, lunges, and more lunges. They are the answer to everything: a tight butt, great legs — and they burn fat because you're working a major muscle group." Stand with feet shoulder-width apart. Step forward with your right foot, bringing your knee to a 90-degree angle, while your left knee nearly touches the ground. Return to starting position and switch legs. Do 50 with each leg.
"There's really only one exercise for calves," says Michael George, who's worked with Reese Witherspoon. "Calf raises can be done on any raised platform, like a stair. But calves don't respond easily, so the more, the better." Step onto a platform with the front half of your left foot; let your right leg dangle to the side. With a 5- to 10-pound dumbbell in each hand, lower the heel of your left foot all the way down, then press all the way up, onto the ball of your foot. Return to starting position and repeat 20 times. Switch to the right foot. Do three sets on each foot.
FOR A STRAPLESS GOWN
To pump up your cleavage and tone your arms, trapeze-artist-turned-trainer Lorelei Ashe MacDonald recommends "Macarena push-ups." Get in push-up position, then take right hand and touch your left shoulder. Return hand to the ground and do a push-up, keeping elbows close to the body (this will work your triceps). Press up again and touch left hand to right shoulder. Repeat push-up while alternating arms. Do as many as you can on your toes without losing form. Once you feel taxed, drop down to your knees and do a few more in this position.
Fitness guru Valerie Waters, who advises the buff Kerry Washington, Kim Raver, and Kate Beckinsale, switches things up with a one-handed elevated push-up to attack the flab next to the underarms that spills over the side of your bra or tube top (a.k.a. armpit fat). Elevate one hand on a stack the height of the Yellow Pages and place your other hand on the floor. Lower yourself and press up into push-up position. Switch hands. Do two sets of six reps on each arm.
FOR A HALTER TOP
DEFINED UPPER AND LOWER BACK, SHOULDERS, TRICEPS
"To combat back fat, I recommend a modified tricep extension," says Gregory Joujon-Roche, trainer to Gwen Stefani and Demi Moore. With feet parallel and hip-width apart, bend knees and fold your upper body forward until your back is flat and parallel to the floor. Bend elbows tightly at your sides and bring hands to your shoulders. Slowly extend your arms straight out behind you, point your fingers, and really squeeze your triceps. Bring hands back to your shoulders and repeat. If it's too easy, add a 1- to 5-pound dumbbell in each hand. Do four sets of 15 — and on every fifth rep, extend and hold for as long as possible.
STREAMLINED MID-BACK, SHOULDERS, BICEPS
"You want to make your back look more defined without looking like a linebacker," says Ashe MacDonald. Her go-to move: a plank pull-up. At the park or gym, grab a bar that's hanging at waist level or slightly higher (with your hands shoulder-width apart). Position your body below the bar, leaning back at a 45-degree angle from the ground, with your arms straight in front of you. Keeping your body in a tight plank with legs straight, pull yourself up toward the bar, then return to starting position. Do three sets of 15.
Click here for tips on what to eat to slim down before a big night out: PRE-PARTY MEAL PLAN