We’re quickly approaching crop-top season, and that can only mean one thing—it's time to break out those fitness class Groupons and put that cute workout gear to use. But exercising doesn’t have to be so arduous! Here, we break down celeb-approved (hello, Heidi and Miranda!) toning tips and secrets to get you moving and glowing in no time. Spring 2014, here we come.
For more tips, pick up the March issue of InStyle, available on newsstands and for digital download now.
• Heidi Klum’s Fitness Strategy: Trampolines, Dance Parties, and Lots of Lattes
• Nicole Kidman in the March InStyle: “I’m Very Country at Heart”
• Exclusive! Take a Tour of Carolina Herrera's Home
1. 1. Sweat Before Breakfast
Sorry, but you're going to have to earn that smoothie. A study released last year found that subjects burned 20 percent more fat if they exercised before their morning meal. "Working out on an empty stomach produces hormones that enhance metabolism," says N.Y.C. physician and nutrition specialist Jeffrey Morrison.
Blend together 2 tbsp hemp protein powder, ½ cup frozen strawberries, 1½ cups unsweetened almond or coconut milk, and a handful of kale. Stir in honey to your taste.-from N.Y.C. dietitian Brooke Alpert.
2. 2. Clean Up on the Go
Sometimes you have to cram in those burpees any which way you can. If that means postponing a shower, stash these towelettes in your gym bag. Infused with a cooling cleanser and a zingy scent, they also leave behind a superfine powder that keeps you dry after you cool down.Ban Total Refresh Cooling Body Cloths, $3; at CVS
3. 3. Stream a Workout
Grab your mat and push aside the coffee table—Web sites like Crunch Live, barre-based Physique57, and DailyBurn are offering on-demand videos of their top classes. At $5 to $10 for a 30-minute workout, these videos are a fraction of the cost of a normal class at one of these trendy gyms. Buy a monthly subscription or pay as you go to get dozens of options, from full-body assaults to low-intensity and prenatal picks, without the commitment of joining a gym.
4. 4. Pace Yourself
If you dodged workouts all winter, don't expect to run like Usain Bolt on the treadmill the first day back into your routine. "It will take a few weeks to build your endurance up," says Tracy Anderson, Gwyneth Paltrow's trainer. She suggests starting with just 15 minutes, four to six days a week. "The next week jump to 30 minutes and the following week move to 40," she says.
5. 5. Smooth Out Dimples
Until there's a cure for cellulite, there's camo. Rubbing on a cream with retinol to firm skin can make dimpling less apparent if you start two to three months before swimsuit season, says New Orleans-area dermatologist Patricia Farris. (Try Chantecaille Retinol Body Treatment, $95; chantecaille.com) Otherwise, stock up on bronzer, lots of bronzer.Jouer Luminizing Body Glow, $36; nordstrom.com
6. 6. Drink Your Hunger Away
Granted, water is no substitute for a turkey burger. But sipping the recommended two liters a day can prevent you from "mistaking thirst for hunger," says Alpert, who notes that dehydration can affect your blood-sugar levels, slow metabolism, and raise stress hormones, all of which contribute to impulse eating.BKR bottles, $28 each; mybkr.com
7. 7. Phone the Right Friend
Studies show that women are more likely to stick with workout routines and lose more weight if they join forces with a well-chosen ally. "Don't call Chatty Cathy," says wellness guru David Kirsch, who trained Anne Hathaway. "Look for someone who will push you and hold you accountable." A buddy with similar fitness levels, goals, and motivation is best.
8. 8. Dress the Part
Gym mirrors are brutal, especially if you're in a dingy T-shirt and stretched-out leggings. "You'll feel better and stay longer if your outfit works," says designer Norma Kamali. To pull up your chest and expose shoulders, try her supportive Racer Active Tank ($155; normakamali.com). To tuck tummies and slim thighs, go for high-waist pants with slimming side panels.
Live the Process Classic Geometric leggings, $185; livetheprocess.com
9. 9. Gym-Proof Your Hair
Sweaty strands requiring a shampoo and blow-dry can keep you from exercising. "Pull your hair into a high pony and throw a headband on," says L. A. hairstylist Kiyah Wright, who works with Gabrielle Union. She likes the sweat-absorbing Save Your Do Narrow Band GymWrap ($25; saveyourdo.com). If you have a thicker texture, consider a weave. With your hair preserved in braids underneath, faux strands can be freshened up with a blast of dry shampoo for volume.
10. 10. Snack, Then Sleep
Yes, you read it correctly. Eating after 8 P.M. is a good thing these days, as long as you nibble on the right nosh. "A 150-calorie snack before bed improves sleep and weight loss by building lean muscle," says Dr. Morrison. Smart choices combine protein and low-sugar carbs, like half an apple with almond butter or a small bowl of blueberries or cereal.