Halloween is the best holiday, IMHO. It's a night when you're meant solely to have fun with your friends while dressed as your alter ego, sip themed cocktails, and eat your fill of the best miniature candies. Your costume can be witty, outrageous, sexy—or a mix between all three. The excitement is real.
However, the weather has cooled down and my clean eating habits and yoga practice have suddenly taken a backseat to sleeping in, lounging with Elemis's Superfood Facial Oil ($72) soaking into my skin, and ordering take out. It happens every year, and while there's nothing wrong with living your best life, it's important to continue making healthy choices. Especially when you're a few weeks away from showing off your best assets on Halloween night. And, even if it's more your style to keep it comfy (same!), there's no harm in making a few select changes in your diet and exercise routine to continue feeling your best. That's where we come in. I tapped all my favorite fitness and health experts to figure out a proper timeline for the big day. What to cut back on, what to do more of, and what's the best route based on the particular asset your costume shows off. Keep reading for all the details.
Start to tone your arms with some strength training. “Boxing is an amazing workout for strengthening and toning your upper body. So, even if you’re not dressing up like Rocky this Halloween, find a heavy bag and box for eight three-minute rounds with a 60-second break in-between,” suggests Noah Neiman, co-founder of Rumble Boxing. "Then, do the following for one minute each: push-ups, curls, walking planks, dips, and tricep kickbacks on each arm. Finish up with two minutes of boxing."
"Massage your legs the night before, and one additional time prior during that week," says Nicole Winhoffer, creator of the NW Method. "Massage drains the lymphatic system and gets water and bloat away from the legs. About an hour before you put your costume on, do low-ab V raises. Lie on your back and bring your legs up to the ceiling with pointed toes. Lower your legs to a V position, stopping one inch before they hit the ground. Make sure to keep your toes facing the ceiling, don't turn them out!"
Neiman recommends weighted squats, hip thrusters, and lunges to get your bum and legs in shape prior to Halloween. "Keep it going five times through with a 60-second break in-between," he adds.
"You can work your abs all day long!" Eve Lynn Kessner, a SoulCycle instructor and holistic nutritionist, exclaims. "Work isometric holds into your day, standing in the elevator, sitting at your desk. Take it to a pulse, bringing your belly button toward your spine, doing as many pulses as you can handle with another isometric hold at the end. Planks are also a great way to get away from your desk for a moment and get some blood flowing."
Winhoffer suggests to complete back-tightening exercises every day for one week. "First, lie on your stomach and place a folded towel underneath your forehead. Bring your arms out to the side and bend at 90 degrees. Hold your arms off the floor and squeeze your shoulder blades together. Then, straighten your arms out in front of your so your thumbs meet. Hold and return to the first position." She continues, "Actively completing these moves one day per week will induce muscle memory in your muscles and tighten the skin." Perfect for a backless costume!
"You want to keep everything perky!" Winhoffer says with a laugh. "Do 25 pushups a day to strengthen pec muscles, shoulders, and deltoids. Alter the position of your hands so that you can incorporate new angles each day—try hands turned inward, palms outward, and a wide starting position."
Winhoffer explains, "First, exfoliate with brown sugar, honey, and some distilled water. I like to mix this with some warm water to get the blood flowing. Exfoliating brings new energy to the concentrated area. Also, when using your cell phone, make sure to actively roll your shoulders back and keep your chin lifted, actively pressing the shoulders down. Remind yourself to do this keeps your shoulders activated and looking great. On the night of the party, "Do some lat pulls down with two water bottles in each hand. Between 50 and 100 will get the high repetitions working the small muscles to keep them looking lean."
#1: Drink Up
"Drink a lot of water, Neiman recommends. "You should be getting 10 to 12 glasses a day. A hydrated body looks and performs better than a dehydrated one. Winhoffer agrees: "Stay off alcohol one week before, and drink hot water and lemon in the morning and right before bed.
Meryl Pritchard, found of Kore Kitchen, advises "Whether you're drinking sugary cocktails or eating some of your trick or treating candy, activated charcoal helps to pull impurities out of the body quickly. It's is one of the oldest detox remedies and is great for hangovers! Whether you are hungover or not, it's great for pulling impurities that are ever present in our air, water, and food. I use it after eating poorly."
#2: Opt for Healthy Fats
Neiman continues, "Eat quality calories. Make sure you are eating healthy fats, lean proteins, and a lot of veggies. For the time being, limit the fruits because of excess fructose." But, he adds, "Don't under eat. This is actually a huge issue when people try to lose weight quickly. They overperform cardio and undereat, which actually breaks down muscle in your body before fat. Your body goes into starvation mode, your metabolism slows, and it actually begins to retain fat instead of burning it. Make sure you eat enough quality calories to support your daily functions." Winhoffer adds, "Include steamed asparagus once per day leading up to Halloween—it's it's a diuretic and can decrease any bloat that may pop up."
Keri Glassman, founder of The Nutrition School, echoes a similar sentiment: "Not eating all day long so you can have candy later, or skipping your one favorite treat altogether, will lead to feelings of deprivation. That sounds pretty awful, and can trigger you to overdo it later. Having a conscious indulgence will not be the end of your weight-loss goals, and can help you keep your sanity at the same time. Choose from your arsenal of healthy snacks before you go out (such as two high-fiber crackers with natural peanut butter or a hardboiled egg) to control hunger and overindulgent temptations.
#3: Don't Stress
Winhoffer admits that stressing out about weight-loss can actually hinder your efforts. "Don't stress out! Stress causes cortisol levels to rise, abdominal fat to build up, and water retention. Enjoy yourself—life is about having fun and not placing too much pressure on yourself. We, as women, put so much stress on ourselves that we forget to live life. But, yes, stay away from dessert and candy the night before. Try to have greens at every meal. And stay away from too much dressing and sauce because they have lots of hidden calories and fat."
What are you doing to get ready for Halloween? Let us know in the comments below!