Working out five days a week is hard and, frankly, not exactly my top priority. Tons of women find it cathartic, fun, and stress-relieving—I am not one of those people. In fact, I find making time to exercise fairly stressful. But that doesn't mean I don't want to be healthy and look toned. I've tried all-natural dieting tips that show results in a week or less (they work!) and treatments for the best butt ever, received advice to make sure my diet doesn't ruin my social life (necessary), learned about the four types of fat and how to lose each one, and, finally, reported on how I totally transformed my body in just three months.
The idea is to feel and look good—without ruining my life. So I reached out to a few of my favorite fitness experts to dish on their secret tricks of the trade. Below, each one gave me a few awesome tips to toning up without losing my mind (or precious beauty sleep).
1. Listen to Your Body
"This is something everyone should do when it comes to working out. Sometimes just do yoga and stretching, and other times hit it hard. Working out, just like life, should be a balance." — Amy Rosoff Davis, fitness expert and Selena Gomez's long-time trainer
2. Walk Everywhere
"Walking is one of the best ways to get your body moving, and unlike metabolic training or HIIT, walking adds very little training stress to the body, which results in a higher ratio of fat burn. This is because low-intensity exercises such as walking rely more heavily on fat than calorie reserves for completion. Also, when women walk, our deep abdominal fat is the first to go, which is something we all want." — Carly Rowena, personal trainer and health and fitness blogger
Just remember to wear comfortable shoes and stock Band-Aid's Active Friction Block Stick ($5) in your bag just in case.
3. Be Realistic
"Try making a specific plan with goals that are realistic and attainable. If you make a plan and really dedicate yourself to it, the results will follow. Good things come to people who hustle!" — Hannah Bronfman, DJ and fitness lover
4. Find a Set of Stairs
"Do calf raises on the stairs of your home or office. Step up onto each stair and drop your heels—then, raise up as high as you can and drop below again. This easy exercise tones your calf muscles, which is super important for running and cycling. Calves are often neglected so this is a perfect one to do on-the-go." — Michael Olajide Jr., co-founder of Aerospace
5. Trick Your Brain
"Exercise in the morning before your brain figures out what you're doing." — Tanya Poppet, fitness instructor
6. Commit to Just 20 Minutes a Day
Consider Tabata or HIIT, which force you to go hard for a smaller increment of time (but make a huge difference physically).
7. Start Slow
If you're not exactly a yoga master yet, ease yourself into the practice with Hatha yoga before diving into Vinyasa. "It's perfect for yoga newbies, anyone who may be recovering from an injury, or someone with a condition like arthritis," our editorial director, Faith Xue, explains.
"My top tip for toned shoulders is good posture, which involves proper stretching. I recommend a chest stretch to elongate the pecs and upper trapezius. Bend your knees slightly so that you're in a squat position—your knees should be over your ankles and your hips pushed back. With your back straight, raise your arms to create a T-shape with your body. Squeeze your shoulder blades and keep your core engaged, and hold the move for about one minute to fully stretch out your shoulders." — Dalton Wong, TwentyTwo Training founder and Jennifer Lawrence's trainer
9. Start Punching
"Grab light (one to two pounds) hand weights and stand shoulder-width apart, keeping your abs and core tight. Punch out in a straight line, alternating fists—this is really great for toning up your chest and shoulders." — Michael Olajide Jr., co-founder of Aerospace
What's your favorite (easy) way to tone up? Let us know in the comments below!