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5 strategies to feel great in your favorite Halloween costume

Tuesday - 10/15/2013, 9:41am  ET

HalloweenFitness600.jpg
If you focus on the most effective strategies, you have time to make progress on your fitness goals before Halloween. (Thinkstock)
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Josef Brandenburg, special to wtop.com

WASHINGTON - Are you planning to dress up for Halloween? Oct. 31 is one day out of the year where many enthusiasts show more skin than usual -- and feeling comfortable in your costume really helps to make the holiday more fun.

The good news is, if you focus on the most effective strategies, you have time to make progress on your fitness goals before slipping into fishnets, body armor or superhero costumes. Here's how:

  1. Rev-up your metabolism all week: Since there is only a short period of time before Halloween, it's imperative to focus on training methods that deliver fast results.

    There's no time for jogging or plodding away on the elliptical machine at the gym. Focus on doing two to three strength training sessions each week, and two to three high-intensity interval training sessions each week.

    These kinds of workouts will elevate your metabolism and will leave your body burning more of its stored fat 24 to 38 hours after your workout.

    For the resistance training, begin with five to eight minutes of foam rolling. Then move on to core and power work for a few sets. After completing these rounds, focus on self-limiting exercises, and pair an upper- body-focused exercise -- such as push-ups or inverted rows -- with a lower-body exercise, such as a goblet squat or a deadlift. Two pair of resistance exercises for two to three sets will get the job done.

    For the high-intensity interval training, warm up and then invest 15 to 20 minutes of hard work. When integrating high-intensity exercises, try hill sprints and keep these three key points in mind.

  2. Enjoy Halloween on Halloween: Sure, Halloween candy has appeared on the drug store aisles and in your office, but wait to enjoy sweet treats until Oct. 31. Candy and other high-sugar treats block fat loss, and thus will impede your goals. Focus primarily on protein, veggies, some fruit and healthy fats.

  3. Drink up: I am talking about water, not alcohol. How much water should you be drinking? About half your bodyweight in ounces.

    This will help you lose more fat, let you work harder in the gym and even provide you with some side benefits, such as better looking skin. If you really want to get amazing results between now and Halloween, keep the alcohol as close to zero as possible.

  4. Use the right supplements: The short list of supplements most people should be taking are vitamin D, fish oil and a multi-vitamin. There are other beneficial vitamins and minerals out there, but these are the main three.

  5. Maximize recovery to maximize results: Results happen between your workouts, and the two things you can do to reap the greatest rewards from your hard work in the gym are to sleep more (aim for no fewer than seven hours per night) and use a protein recovery shake that has about 20 to 30 grams of protein, with no added sugar.

Editor's Note: Josef Brandenburg is a D.C.area fitness expert with 14 years of experience and co-author of the international best-selling book "Results Fitness." In 2004, he started The Body You Want personal training program, which specializes in helping you get the body you want in the available time you have. You can also check out his blog, follow him on Twitter, or check out his fitness videos on YouTube. Follow @WTOP and @WTOPliving on Twitter.

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