Summer Beach Body Special

What a difference a day makes: Get a flaunt-worthy physique with quick-fix tricks that actually work.

From the WebMD Archives

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While beachy waves are sexy, "a high ponytail makes the neck look long and thin," says Sacha Quarles, former stylist for Sex and the City.


"With between-the-breasts as your canvas, use shimmery bronze to create depth and shimmery silver to feign the illusion of fullness," says Linda Hay, lead makeup artist for Victoria's Secret.

MC recommends: Victoria's Secret Very Sexy Mosaic Luminous Bronzer


To tone upper arms, Olympic gold-medal swimmer Melanie Valerio advises grabbing a can of soup in each hand, then, with arms bent in front of you at a 90-degree angle, lowering and raising them. Do three sets of 10.


"Soak nails in freshly squeezed lemon juice to remove stains and leave tips clean and bright," says Ann Marie Cilmi of Bliss Spa. Follow with nail oil and buff to a shine.


"To make the waist look narrower, use a white pencil liner to dot an egg shape on each side, starting below the rib cage. Fill in just this area with a self-tanner one shade darker than your natural skin and blend," says Cindy Barshop, owner of Completely Bare spas.


Smooth and tighten the derriere by exfoliating with a caffeine-based scrub. Wearing a skimpy bikini? "Apply self-tanner all over exposed cheeks in one shade darker than tanned legs," suggests Barshop.

MC recommends: Aspara Aromatics Kopi Scrub


When legs need to be ready for their close-up, professionals call for makeup. "For camera-ready perfection, I use Sally Hansen Airbrush Legs in Medium Glow. It not only covers scars and tattoos but also makes legs look longer and calves more sculpted," says Wendi San George, head makeup artist for Deal or No Deal.


"Rubbing a natural-bristle brush upward on dry skin can minimize skin dimpling," says Cilmi, "since increased circulation breaks up toxins."


Some swear it is possible to melt away up to an inch — if only temporarily — with anti-cellulite creams. Massage cream into thighs, then wrap with Saran Wrap to seal in all-important heat. Remove after 20 minutes.

MC recommends: Orlane Paris Slimming Contouring System


To elongate legs, wear flesh-tone sandals with a single strap. Multiple straps can make legs look stumpy, says Deb Svarc, makeup artist for Pout cosmetics.


Whew! So you faked your way to a great bod for the weekend. Now learn some strategies that will effectively improve your body for good:

Suppose you have the luxury of two whole weeks before you need to be in your bikini. Welcome to the plan that can make real changes in your body that fast. We don't usually like quick-fix plans, but we know that there are certain moments when you need a kick-start (and, let's face it, certain moments when you have a deadline and serious bucks tied up in a beach rental). Do everything here, and you could melt 5 to 8 pounds in two weeks. Do just one thing, and you're moving your body in the right direction. Here's what to nix and what to add between now and takeoff.

Boost Your Burn

Double Your Cardio

Do twice the number of minutes at the gym as you usually do, says Los Angeles trainer Teddy Bass. Change things up to minimize wear and tear: If you power walk one day, hit the pool the next (or at least migrate from one type of cardio machine to another type).

Double the Afterburn

If you can stand the outfit changes, divide exercise into two sessions: cardio in the morning and weights in the evening (or vice versa). You're elevating your metabolism twice, which means you're burning more calories than if you'd done both in the same session.

Bring It On

A Fistful of Protein Three Times a Day

Aim for 4 to 6 ounces (about the size of your fist) of lean protein, such as chicken, fish, or egg whites, at every meal, says trainer David Kirsch. (He's the one who whipped Heidi Klum back into shape within eight weeks of giving birth.) In one study, people who got 30 percent of their day's calories from protein ate 441 fewer calories than people who ate a 15 percent protein diet. 

Your Weight in Water

Take your body weight and divide it in half. Then drink that many ounces of water a day, says Los Angeles trainer Jeanette Jenkins, author of T he Hollywood Trainer Weight-Loss Plan. If you weigh 150 pounds, drink 75 ounces of water a day. (That's just a little more than four small bottles of water.) Why? The rate at which you burn calories drops when you're dehydrated.


The Cheap, Safe Metabolism Booster

Substitute green tea for coffee. Compounds in it called catechins — the same stuff that's in Enviga, the "calorie burning" soda — are believed to increase your metabolism, says New York City nutritionist Oz Garcia, Ph.D.

Celery, Spinach, Tomatoes, Lettuce, Peaches, Strawberries, Cantaloupes

These foods are at least 90 percent water, so they'll help flush out your system and keep you hydrated (assuming you're already drinking water, of course), says Los Angeles trainer Robb Parr, who currently works with the ever-fit Demi Moore. Nothing wrong with other fruits and vegetables. Even relatively dry bananas (76 percent water) are more hydrating than, say, whole-wheat bread (35 percent) or almonds (7 percent).

Knock It Off

The Nightcap

(It's two weeks — you can handle it). Your body treats alcohol as a toxin, so your liver processes alcohol calories before all others in an attempt to clean bad stuff from your bloodstream, says Kirsch. The result? The other calories you've gotten from food are more likely to be stored as fat. 

Milk and Cheese

"In my experience, most women have some sort of lactose sensitivity, which means they get bloated from even small amounts of dairy products," says Yumi Lee, a Los Angeles trainer whose clients include Julianna Margulies and Pink. "Once they stop for a couple weeks, they instantly see a difference." Don't nix calcium altogether: Take a supplement and get the nutrient from foods such as salmon and almonds.


Even high-fiber whole-wheat or multigrain bread can contribute to bloating, says Garcia. Feed your carb cravings with sweet potatoes, brown or wild rice, and wheat-free cereals.

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WebMD Feature from "Marie Claire" Magazine
Reprinted with permission from Hearst Communications, Inc.