Beauty

Tighten and Tone: The Ultimate Guide to A Well-Contoured Body

A well-contoured body may appear out of reach after a long period of hibernation and inactivity, like these “unprecedented times” of furloughed gyms, canceled running clubs and group workouts on pause, which have made it seem more difficult than ever to keep things firm. Here, we uncover the easiest ways to get a tighter, toned physique and tackle the new year with strength and curves in all the right places.

Body Goals

Whether strengthening the upper arms, carving out the quads or sculpting the glutes, patience and a healthy mindset are a good starting point. “I’m not a fan of the term ‘bouncing back’ for any body,” says Maddy Ciccone, master instructor at SoulCycle. “Different stages of our lives call for different versions of ourselves. As I like to remind my clients, we’re still in a global pandemic, so first and foremost, be kind to yourself. I’m a firm believer that your body listens on a cellular level. Focus on how you feel instead of how you look.”

Step by Step

Step 01: App Appeal
The right smartphone app can help you adapt a healthier lifestyle by offering simple instructions for getting the most out of your home workouts. “The Variis app has all-encompassing fitness options that offer a mix of everything,” says Ciccone. “I also love Strava for virtual runs and half marathons. The app motivates you by showing options of virtual achievements and badges you can train for.”

Step 02: Gear Up
To help you feel the burn in your own space, invest in stylish gear you’re going to want to use often. “A pair of free weights and a yoga mat are always a must-have at home,” adds Ciccone. “Also, if you can keep your equipment close to the living room, where you’re maybe watching Netflix, it’s always a good reminder because you glance over and think, ‘I could do a few curls while I’m binging this.’”

Step 03: Muscle Hustle
According to celebrity fitness trainer Lacey Stone, focusing on just one part of the body, like the arms, legs, abdomen and butt, won’t help us get the results we need. Instead, she recommends combining cardio and weight training to get an overall stronger, more sculpted look. “In terms of spot training, you can’t target fat reduction in any specific area by itself. How and where your body reduces fat is genetic, but you can work specific muscle groups like legs and arms by doing exercises like push-ups, dips, lunges, squats, and deadlifts. High-intensity interval training is the best way to get fit after being sedentary for a while.”

Step 04: Then Repeat
According to celebrity fitness trainer Lacey Stone, focusing on just one part of the body, like the arms, legs, abdomen and butt, won’t help us get the results we need. Instead, she recommends combining cardio and weight training to get an overall stronger, more sculpted look. “In terms of spot training, you can’t target fat reduction in any specific area by itself. How and where your body reduces fat is genetic, but you can work specific muscle groups like legs and arms by doing exercises like push-ups, dips, lunges, squats, and deadlifts. High-intensity interval training is the best way to get fit after being sedentary for a while.”

Home Gym

You don’t need a treadmill or a fancy set of heavy dumbbells to sculpt your body into shape. These at-home workout accessories make it easy to get in a few reps at your own pace.

01: Wrap 1 lb Bala Bangles ($49) around wrists or ankles for a stylish and comfortable resistance that helps build muscle and boost heart rate.

02: Bring the sauna experience home with the HigherDOSE Infrared Sauna Blanket ($499), which boosts blood flow and circulation using infrared heat and layers of amethyst, tourmaline and charcoal, which aid in detoxing and healing.

03: Displaying fitness data with each revolution, the Tangram Smart Rope LED ($80) tracks jumps and calories burned while providing interval-training workouts.

04: Engaging the entire body, from the fingertips to the toes, the P.volve p.3 Trainer ($69) is a compact fitness tool that targets even the hardest-to-reach muscles in your body.

05: The all-in-one MIRROR ($1,495) interactive smart gym is like having a personal trainer in your home 24/7. In addition to having nearly every mode of workout class available at your fingertips, it blends right into your home décor.


Body Perfectors

Dry Brushing

Celebrity facialist Joanna Vargas says dry brushing is one of the best ways to aid in body sculpting when trying to get muscles back in shape. “It’s my favorite method of body exfoliation because it is multitasking—it’s actually incredible as a cellulite treatment and helps to increase skin elasticity.” Vargas says to start at the tops of the feet and brush upwards toward the heart. “Spend extra time on areas that tend to be more stagnant, like the inner thighs, and don’t forget to include the backs of the arms and the back,” she explains. “Dry brushing immediately increases circulation, so you will feel warmer when you are done. Try it before you get into the shower in the morning and you will see a difference in your skin tone and quality in just a few days.”

Dimple Smoothing

To reduce cellulite, Delray Beach, FL dermatologist Dr. Janet Allenby says the new FDA-approved injectable Qwo releases cellulite dimples with an enzyme called collagenase that breaks down type 1 and type 3 collagen, the main types of collagen in the bands that connect to skin and cause dimpling. “This means the injectable is targeting the fibrous septae, the bands beneath the skin surface directly, which results in the smoothing of the skin for the improved appearance of cellulite.”

Buff + Blur

These are the latest treatments experts say can help revitalize skin, and smooth and slenderize the body.

For an allover flawless finish, stock up on these body-beautifying staples.

01 Caffeine, tiger grass, boldo and moth seed in the Susanne Kaufmann Toning Body Serum ($105) aid in stimulating lymphatic flow to help keep skin looking firm and taut.

02 The anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties of calendula oil in Suki Skincare Exfoliating Body Scrub ($47) work to soothe compromised skin while sugar cane–based glycolic acid polishes.

03 Use Joanna Vargas Ritual Brush ($39) on dry skin to help diminish the appearance of imperfections, while improving skin tone and texture.

04 Jordan Samuel Skin The After Show Body Cleanser ($37) ditches the lather for a lush, oil-based cleansing gel that truly pampers the body.

05 For a creamy, nourishing boost of hydration, Vargas says she loves using the lightweight Maison Christian Dior Sakura Body Cream ($100) after a shower.


Nonsurgical Treatments

“For mild-to-moderate contouring, CoolSculpting is a good option for certain patients with small pockets of fat in the abdomen, upper arms, thighs, and back,” says Pasadena, CA plastic surgeon Lily Lee, MD. “It freezes the fat and results in a 20 to 25 percent fat loss in that area.” “For those with minimal skin laxity in the arms or thighs, BodyTite is a minimally invasive treatment that includes radio frequency to melt fat while also tightening the skin,” says Houston plastic surgeon German Newall, MD. “Results are not as dramatic as surgery, but it is a great nonsurgical option.” Muscle builders like Emsculpt and CoolTone can also help reshape the arms, legs, abdomen, and butt. “These technologies have allowed us to get more creative with spot-treating target areas more effectively,” Dr. Allenby says. “Strong pulses of magnetic energy penetrate the muscle layers and induce involuntary contractions that result in increased muscle strength, tone and firmness.”

Energy Stacking

For next-level results, doctors are finding that stacking nonsurgical procedures like a fat reducer and a muscle builder can sculpt the body faster and more dramatically than just one nonsurgical treatment could before. “CoolSculpting helps us get rid of stubborn pockets of fat, especially in women experiencing hormonal changes who find it difficult to lose weight in certain areas,” explains Dr. Allenby. “When we add the muscle building of CoolTone, we’re seeing increased core strength and a nice shape—the body looks cut, toned and healthy.”

Pittsburgh plastic surgeon Brian Vassar Heil, MD says Emsculpt’s new NEO treatment helps burn fat and build muscle in just one 30-minute treatment without having to use two devices. “Patients with a BMI of up to 35 can benefit from the radio frequency plus high-intensity focused electromagnetic (HIFEM) muscle stimulation. Radio-frequency energy raises the temperature of the muscles to prepare them—kind of like what a warm-up activity does before a workout—while also causing the fat to permanently die. The HIFEM energy then contracts the muscle at intensities not achievable during a normal workout.”

Liposuction

For Dr. Newall, liposuction and fat grafting are the gold standard combination for reshaping the body effectively. “This allows for fat to be taken from areas such as the waist and flanks and then redistributed to other areas such as the hips or buttocks, which creates curves,” he says. “If you just liposuction the area, it will get rid of stubborn fat, but it may not be enough to contour the body. Instead of throwing away that fat, I suggest transferring the fat to create a beautiful overall contour.”

For moderate-to-large areas and volumes of fat, Irvine, CA plastic surgeon Andrew Smith, MD says VASER liposuction is really effective in reshaping the body. “It’s a type of liposuction that uses ultrasound-frequency waves to break apart fat cells and loosen them from deeper tissues so that fat can more effectively be removed during the treatment.”

On both the arms and thighs, liposuction can create a more streamlined look and remove fat that can’t be treated with noninvasive methods. However, Dr. Smith cautions that it can become uneven or bumpy if the surgeon is inexperienced with the procedure. “In some cases, an arm or thigh lift is needed to remove more excess skin and fat,” he says. These procedures involve making an incision and removing the loose skin and any excess fat to give the arms or legs a better shape.

Tummy Tuck

For a smoother, flatter stomach, patients with both excess fat and skin may be good candidates for an abdominoplasty, or tummy tuck, procedure. “When loose skin and weakened abdominal muscles cannot be corrected through diet and exercise alone, they may require surgical repair,” says Dr. Newall. “In a tummy tuck, excess skin is removed and the muscles are repaired to restore a flat appearance to the abdomen. ”

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