If we had a magic genie, we'd ask for three things: perfect shape, perfect shape and perfect shape! So we asked Cosmo readers to spill their most guarded stay-fit secrets. Read on for some real- girl body inspiration:
1. "Working out makes you lose inches and cellulite, but unless you focus on your diet, too, you won't lose kilos. Lesson: eat well and drink a lot of water. Also, I swear by green tea. It helps you detoxify and will work wonders for your skin and waist."
2. "Don't drink water at least half an hour before or after your meal. It'll fill you up quickly, and delay digestion. A good idea is to include a lot of fruits and green salads in your diet as they are rich in fibers and will give your body the energy you need."
3. "Banish white food (except dairy) from your diet as most is just saturated fat. Replace your whites with browns—brown rice and bread instead of white bread and white rice."
4. "Ensure your diet is rich in proteins and fibers. Cut back on carbs, and avoid taking any after 8pm. Also, eat white meat instead of red meat, as it has more proteins."
5. "While you are working out, ensure that you do 30 minutes of cardio, which includes a mix of spinning, cycling, circuits and walking on the treadmill."
6. "When you go to the gym, set a target for yourself, even if it's a small one, and stick to it. And be regular with your exercise. Your body will show results in some time, so one week of gymming won't do the trick."
7. "An hour of power yoga, thrice a week keeps me energised. It kickstarts my metabolism so I can later indulge guilt-free."
8. "On days I am craving sugar, I try to have dark chocolate instead of pastries. So I get to enjoy something sweet, minus the guilt."
9. "I use stretch bands to work on my core muscles, including my arms and legs. It doesn't take much time and can be used in many ways."
10. "I keep a bag of mixed nuts in my handbag for my afternoon cravings. That way, I don't attack the first cupcake shop I see when I'm out."
—Divya Gangwani Sehgal
11. "I eat at least six meals a day, and alternate between big and small ones."
12. "If you can't go the gym, join a fun activity like a dance class. It'll help you lose weight, and you will learn a new hobby in the bargain."
13. "Alternate between activities. This can mean walking one day, swimming the next and cycling the third."
14. "While working out, monitor your breathing. Breathe in when you're working against gravity and breathe out while working towards it. Breathing right will give you faster results."
15. "Opt for interval training instead of regular training. High intensity exercising for a few minutes, followed by low intensity and repeating, burns more calories than a regular workout."
16. "Climbing stairs is a great calorie burner and will show you fab results. I follow a simple 4X4 rule. I climb up and down four floors, four times a day, to stay fit."
17. "When eating food high in fat, salt or sugar, select other foods that are low in these ingredients. If you miss out on any food group one day, make up for it the next day."
18. "Keep a 2:3 ratio of fruit and vegetable servings in a day. So have two fruits and three bowls of veggies for a day, and reverse the second day. It'll help keep you healthy."
19. "Keep a food diary and note everything you're eating. That way,you'll be able to know where you're going wrong. Too much of anything might be bad. Rather than eliminating these foods, just cut back on your portions."
20. "Don't expect to totally revamp your eating habits overnight. Changing too much, too fast can get in the way of success. Begin to remedy excesses or deficiencies with modest changes."
21. "Fish is a good source of protein and contains many vitamins and minerals. Aim for at least two portions a week, including one portion of oily fish."