[By Julie White]

With each passing day, we are drawing closer to the Christmas party of the year yet getting nowhere near the ideal weight or body we have been dreaming of. If you, like me, have indulged all year round with abandon, you should feel the similar pang of panic as the festive season draws closer.

Fret not, as we speak to personal trainer Jennifer Howard who gives us the lowdown on what we can do to tone and sculpt our body quickly and effectively.



One month is quite enough for moderate weight loss and significantly enhanced muscle definition (as well as compliments aplenty), according to Jennifer. She does issue a word of warning that any weight loss attained in a month could be surface fat and if you do not stick with the regimen long enough, you may gain the weight back after some time. For those short on time, Jennifer recommends splitting one hour evenly between cardio and toning. If you only have 30 minutes, just focus on one activity a day, alternating days between cardio and toning. Cardio activity should be something that makes you break out into a sweat such as jogging, skipping or aerobics. Walking and stretching are not considered cardio activity. You need to feel your heart pumping and to feel the burn in your muscles. Always consult your doctor prior to embarking on any exercise to ensure that you are suitable to engage in such activity.


Safe weight loss is the priority for those with only a week before an event. No long-term changes can be made in such a short time, but even shedding a few pounds will make clothes fit better. For fast-track results, try working out in a room that is warmer than usual, that means turn off the air-conditioning and fans and let your body sweat it out (with clients, Jennifer turns on four humidifiers as well) or wearing lots of layers and exercising outdoors so you sweat out extra fluids to reduce bloating. Hot yoga is a good way to quickly shed some pound and reduce water retention. Always rehydrate with plenty of distilled water after and reduce sodium in your diet as it can cause water retention. You should be able to see some tone and definition showing through at the end of seven days.


When you’re cramming in some pre-fete fitness, anything is better than nothing. Intensive cardio and toning reduce water weight and temporarily tighten muscles. The slightest changes will make arms, legs, and hips appear leaner and give added confidence to the exerciser. If you have a big event ahead, limit your calorie intake a few days before, cut off all carbs and focus on nutritious protein and fresh vegetables. Start your day with vegetable juice (Jennifer suggests a combination of celery, beetroot, carrot with a twist of lemon) and drink plenty of water or green tea to detox throughout the day. Have your dinner before 7pm each night so your body has a good 12 hour fast overnight.

Post-party, Jennifer advises taking a day off to recover, then returning to the full regimen (at least 30 minutes, six days a week) the following day.


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