Thirty days of targeted weight loss is a big undertaking that requires time, effort and planning. It isn't impossible, though, and it doesn't have to be arduous. You can achieve the results you're looking for by following a well-designed program of exercise and nutrition, complemented with hydration, stretching and adequate recovery.
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No weight-loss plan can succeed without a major focus on healthy eating, and simplicity aids success. Choose foods from the outer aisles of your grocery store -- whole, natural and unprocessed -- and skip junk foods and sweets. Base your meals around quality proteins, healthy fats such as avocados and olive oil, fruits and vegetables. Don't overthink it! One good rule of thumb for healthy eating: If a food has more than five ingredients, or if you can't pronounce most of them, pass on it.
Commit to 30 Days of Exercise
Consistency is more than half the weight-loss battle. Budget enough time every week to complete four or five challenging workouts, each up to one hour, and don't miss a session. Duration and difficulty will depend on your fitness level, but you should be tired, sweaty and perhaps a bit sore the next day. You'll want to pursue "active rest" such as walking, yoga or light hiking on the other two to three days each week to stay active but not put too much stress on your body.
Ways to Get Sweaty
When it comes to exercising, variety is king: It challenges your body and prevents boredom. Mix cardio work such as running, biking or swimming with strength exercises including squats, situps, pushups and lunges. Once you have a solid foundation, or if you're already in shape, add in more complex exercises with kettlebells, dumbbells and barbells. Dance classes, outdoor activities, tennis and rowing are great ways to exercise, too. Whatever your flavor, these 30 days are all about consistently challenging yourself.
A month of tough workouts can beat up your body, particularly if you haven't been exercising regularly. Hydrating properly before, during and after workouts helps circulate necessary fluids, vitamins and minerals. After a workout, you can get a great boost of electrolytes without the added sweeteners of packaged sports drinks by adding lemon or lime juice to your water. Stretching after each session will also help your muscles recover, allowing you to push hard next time you hit the gym.