Healthy Living

9 Expert Hacks That Will Help You Feel More Toned By Tomorrow

Source: @setactive
Source: @setactive

As a holistic health coach, one of the questions (and text messages) I get most often is along the lines of, “SOS I have a beach day/wedding/big event this weekend. How can I get more toned ASAP?” Changing your body takes time–and it’s supposed to. Whether it’s healing symptoms, gaining muscle, or losing weight, anything that promises immediate results is probably a scam. While we should be playing the long game with our health, I get it: Sometimes, you want a quick fix for a little boost. Whether it’s an event you want to feel your best for or you need a little motivation, sometimes you want short-term effects, rather than long-term goals. So we have some tips that will help you feel a little better ASAP.

Before we get into it, know that “toned” is not a way you look in the mirror. It doesn’t mean six-pack abs or defined biceps–it’s about feeling strong, confident, and connected to your body. No matter your jeans size or how many pounds you can bench press, you deserve to feel like the strong badass you are. For those days when you want to optimize your health to feel as good as possible as soon as possible, we’ve got tips to help you improve digestion, energy, strength, and overall well-being.

Josie Santi, Senior Wellness Editor & Podcast Host

Josie Santi is The Everygirl’s Senior Wellness Editor with over seven years of experience in the health and wellness space. In addition to writing, editing, and overseeing all of The Everygirl’s wellness content, she is also a certified Holistic Health Coach. Listen to Josie on The Everygirl Podcast where she interviews guests and hosts episodes centered around self-improvement and helping you live your best life.

Katherine Chang, Wellness Staff Writer

Katherine Chang is The Everygirl’s Wellness Staff Writer with over five years of experience in the health and wellness space. Determined to help other women live their healthiest, best lives, Katherine is dedicated to interviewing experts in order to give the best advice to Everygirl readers. She navigates the latest wellness topics and trends through studies, articles, and is always first in line to try them firsthand.

1. Lift heavy weights

While the main benefits of strength training are good for the long-term (such as building muscle, improving bone health, or preventing chronic pain), you can also reap some immediate benefits too. Strength training will not only improve energy and mood (two important things for feeling your best immediately), but it revs up your metabolism so your workout will pay off hours after you’ve put in the work. “When you lift weights you are actually breaking down the muscles by producing micro tears in the muscle fibers,” explained Holly Kouvo, a certified personal trainer and nutrition specialist.

For hours after, the body works hard to repair those micro-tears. After lifting heavy weights, the body will pump blood to the muscles to oxygenate them and provide nutrients to repair the micro-tears. This signals muscle growth in the long term, but in the short term, certain muscles may look bigger or “more toned” after a lifting session because of the repair process. After you lift heavy weights, you may notice slightly more definition due to the accumulation of blood and fluid in the muscle. Plus, you know how you feel like you can take on the world after a tough weight-lifting session? That’s an immediate benefit that will make you feel even better than what your muscles are physically going through.

2. Prioritize quality sleep

You already know that you need to be getting 7-9 hours of sleep. But if you want to feel immediately healthier and more toned by tomorrow, the first thing you should prioritize is getting as much sleep as possible (and the highest quality). When you sleep, the body releases the human growth hormone (HGH), which then stimulates protein synthesis, or muscle repair and growth. Translation: Your muscles grow during and because of sleep—AKA the easiest way to feel more toned by tomorrow. “During sleep, the human growth hormones are activated, helping muscles recover, repair, heal, grow, and rest from the micro-tears that occurred during the day,” explained Dasha Einhorn, a Pilates instructor and NASM-certified fitness specialist. Need help getting better quality sleep? Click here for the best sleep supplements or click here to find out how to sleep sync for optimal sleep quality.

3. DIY a lymphatic drainage massage

Sometimes the boost you need to feel healthier for an upcoming vacation or date night is not to actually feel more “toned” (otherwise known as increased muscle strength), but rather to reduce any natural bloat, puffiness, or fluid retention sitting on top of your muscles. Enter: lymphatic drainage. “Lymphatic drainage massages can help get rid of excess fluid in the body,” Karena Wu, PT, DPT, the owner and clinical director of ActiveCare Physical Therapy, told Women’s Health.

The technique targets anywhere where there’s excessive edema (swelling) by manipulating specific areas of your body to encourage the drainage of lymphatic fluid toward the lymph nodes where it’s filtered and fed back into the bloodstream. Lymphatic drainage is an important part of supporting the body’s detoxification system. It is not meant to be used as a method to lose weight quickly, but rather to help reduce any swelling, bloating, or fluid retention that’s stopping your body from performing and feeling its best. To learn everything you need to try lymphatic drainage at home, check out this how-to guide.

4. Take an Epsom salt bath

Epsom salt baths may be a go-to of athletes to help their muscles recover, but they’re also a celebrity secret to feel your best before a big event (case in point: Jessica Biel recently documented herself soaking in 20 pounds of Epsom salt before the Met Gala). Epsom salt (or magnesium sulfate) supports the body’s natural detoxification process, helping the body get rid of toxins and fluid retention when its absorbed through the skin. “Epsom salt is a great detoxifier,” Julie Williams, a medical herbalist and founder of Leaf People, told Real Simple. “It helps clear the body by removing various types of stagnation by promoting lymphatic flow. When your lymphatic fluid is flowing, then you retain less water.”

To try for yourself, you don’t need to go as extra as Jessica Biel. The Epsom Salt Council recommends pouring 1-2 cups of Epsom salt into a bath with warm water and soaking in it for at least 10 minutes to reap the potential benefits. Don’t have a bathtub or taking baths not your thing? Try a magnesium spray you can massage into your skin topically.

Ancient Minerals
Magnesium Bath Flakes
Shop now
Magnesium Reset Body Spray
Shop now

5. Drink more water than you usually do

While a simple, easy, and free tip, drinking more water is one of the most powerful things you can do to feel better by tomorrow. It not only helps with digestion (to help ease any possible due to indigestion), but it also helps muscles feel stronger. “Drinking water is important if you want to build muscle because it’s the primary vessel for carrying the nutrients your muscles need,” said Tami Smith, an ACE-certified personal trainer. “It also helps prevent your muscles from breaking down by avoiding the shrinking of muscle cells.” Muscles are made of 79% of water, so it’s essential to maintain proper hydration for increased muscle function and response. On the other hand, dehydration can cause the body to hold onto extra water, resulting in swelling and fluid retention.

The general recommendation for water intake for women is 74 ounces, but the number is likely to go up if you’re working out or it’s warmer outside. While you should get all the electrolytes you need from a balanced diet, on days you sweat more (think: a higher-intensity lifting session), you may benefit from adding a supplement to restore electrolyte levels. Click here for supplement recs, or click here for DIY electrolyte drinks with ingredients you already have in your kitchen.

6. Swap your late-night snack

Forget the rules that say you should stop eating two hours before bed or that a midnight snack is bad for you. Listen to your hunger cues (that’s how the body is meant to work), but just be conscious about what you reach for when you get those pre-bedtime hunger growls. When the late-night munchies hit, you’re more likely to lean toward inflammation-prone foods (ahem, cookies, fast food, leftover pizza). Instead, eat foods that support muscle growth and healthy metabolism and digestion so you wake up feeling more toned. Heather Hanks, MS CAM, a medical adviser for Medical Solutions, recommended lean protein. “Eating lean protein can also provide adequate amounts of amino acids that are needed for muscle synthesis,” she suggested. Some solid bedtime eats include a banana with nut butter, cottage cheese with tart cherries, and Greek yogurt with pineapple (bonus points for its anti-inflammatory properties).

7. Stretch before bed

Stretching is one of the best health hacks, but it’s also one of the most overlooked. To feel like your healthiest, strongest self, you don’t just need to be working your muscles to strengthen; you need to be stretching them too. “Stretching out your muscles can help lengthen them back out after they’ve been in a contracted state,” Smith explained. “When your muscles are loose, you tend to have a more lean, toned feeling than when they are tight.” Stretching helps the muscles repair, but certain stretches and yoga poses can also be used to help digestion or decrease bloating to feel your best. Go through some stretches–especially to lengthen the muscles you worked if you did lift weights (bonus: these stretches might also help ease anxiety), or use a foam roller to get deeper into the muscle. 

8. Drink dandelion root tea

If you want to feel better more “toned” by tomorrow, consider swapping your typical red wine or sparkling mocktail nightcap for dandelion root tea. As Nicole Ritieni R.N. told Prevention, sipping dandelion root tea can help with the body’s detoxification process, to further support the reduction of fluid retention. “Dandelion root tea has been shown to support and maintain liver health, which supports the process of releasing toxins.” In addition to supporting liver and detox function, the bitter properties in dandelion can reduce bloating, gas, and constipation and help with protein and fat breakdown (hi, better digestion). And since dandelion root has a natural diuretic effect, it allows the liver and kidney to more quickly eliminate toxins, reducing water retention.

Traditional Medicinals Tea
Organic Roasted Dandelion Root Tea
Shop now
Detox Tea
Shop now

9. Replace negative thoughts with self-love affirmations

While you’re probably focused on how your body feels physically, you’re missing a key piece of the puzzle if you’re not also prioritizing mindset. After all, your thoughts create reality. If you’re telling yourself you’re not already good enough, you won’t wake up tomorrow feeling any different. If you instead intentionally choose thoughts built on self-love (such as “I love my body,” “my body is perfect as it is,” or a more neutral approach: “I appreciate my body for what it does, not for how it looks”), the body responds and most importantly, you feel better.

While this may sound like cheesy self-help advice, it’s truly the most powerful tip to feeling more toned by tomorrow. Motivational speaker and best-selling author, Mel Robbins, recommends the “High 5 Habit” (literally high-fiving yourself in the mirror and saying kind words) to cultivate self-confidence, motivation, and happiness, which can then transform the way you eat, move, and think about your body. If you want to feel healthier by tomorrow, tell yourself you are healthy, try a Superhuman activation or meditation focused on body confidence, or use mental rehearsal to go through the weekend trip, beach day, or date night feeling like your most confident, healthy self.