I think we're all a little mesmerized by the Victoria's Secret Angels. I am certainly not ashamed to admit it. They're gorgeous, beautiful, glamorous and parade down a glitter-covered runway for a living. Come on -- it's cool! But nowadays, we don't just see the Angels on display at the Annual VS Fashion Show. We follow their Instagrams, check their Twitter accounts and stalk their street style on Pinterest. We're on a first-name basis, too -- Behati, Adriana, Lily, Alessandra and Doutzen are among the most recent to strut themselves into superstardom.
Personally, I know a Victoria's Secret Angel body is not realistic for me (especially if it involves intense boot camp!). Achieving those lean arms and washboard abs is not on my bucket list. However, I can't help but stand in awe of their physiques -- and I've been dying to learn some of their best-kept wellness secrets. So, I dug them up. (Thank you, Internet!) Since obviously these chicks have the best bodies in the biz, I found five tips bestowed on us by five different Angels -- and then, I tested them for a week. Here's a recap of how it all went down.
TRICK #1: Armband Workout
Advice: Work your arms with a band instead of weights, à la the workout MODELfit guru Justin Gelband does with the VS Angels, most notably Candice.
I've looked high and low for an appropriate arm workout. I tend to carry weight up top and can easily bulk up, so I was looking forward to an armband workout to get me those lean, toned supermodel biceps. Thankfully, I found an armband at the Marshall's checkout counter for $7! And at first, I was like, armbands? Psssh. Easy! ...Well, not so fast.
These armbands are pretty neat little gadgets. Not only are you struggling with the resistance -- much like weights -- but you're also working all your arm muscles to keep that band stabilized as you lift, bend and pull.
Verdict: It's easy to use, but hard to master -- and a solid workout to tone without overdoing it. I'll definitely be keeping this band in my fitness arsenal.
TRICK #2: Almonds
Advice: Carry almonds with you to nosh on throughout the day.
I'm an almond lover anyway, but I've never made a concerted effort to replace snacks with almonds -- despite the fact that dieticians have been recommending this strategy to me for nutrition articles for years. (Fiber + protein + healthy fat = bliss!)
This is apparently Behati Prinsloo's choice snack when she's not stealing food from Lily Aldridge. With a taut tummy like that, I decided to replace my snacks between meals with a handful of almonds. I'd simply hit the pantry and ignore all other treats on the way.
This is a smart trick. Honestly, almonds feel savory and substantial, with enough filling fiber to keep you satiated and a little bit of protein to stave off hunger longer. I spent my week popping almonds, and I didn't necessarily feel hungry.
A couple of problems: 1. I love variety, and I was getting bored with the almonds. 2. It is really easy to overeat nuts! One serving is roughly 170 calories for 28 nuts. Make sure you portion these babies out in single servings, so you're not popping them like M&Ms. Those calories add up.
Verdict: I'll definitely keep almonds in my snack rotation. And if I need something to ward off the hunger pangs between lunch and dinner, this is a solid, healthy go-to.
TRICK #3: Warm Water
Advice: Drink warm water instead of cold water, preferably in the morning, to hydrate.
Former Angel Lindsay Ellingson was told by an ayurvedic specialist (basically someone who's totally on top of his holistic science game) that she should drink warm water in the morning to get her system going. It's more soothing for the stomach, and she swears she doesn't even need tea or coffee anymore for a morning kick.
I am a complete coffee addict, mostly because it jumpstarts both my mind and my digestive system. I'll be honest: I couldn't give up my java completely, because caffeine is my life and I can't just go cold turkey like that! But I did stockpile bottles of warm water by my desk to drink all day instead of my glass of icy cold H20.
I had actually been noticing in recent months that my stomach was somewhat unsettled drinking ice water. It wasn't until I started hydrating with warm water that I noticed how much better it could be. Warm water definitely goes down smoother, allowing you to drink more (faster) with fewer tummy-turning side effects.
Halfway through the week, I determined I was never going back to ice water for hydration. Unless, you know, it was a humid 90-degree day out here in Michigan. (Phew.)
Verdict: If you're currently drinking enough water and your stomach isn't upset by sipping super-cold liquid, keep doing what you're doing. If you struggle to hydrate enough during the day, try tipping back warm water. Whether it's room temperature or a little heated, both are much easier to swallow.
TRICK #4: Coconut Water
VS Angel: Adriana Lima
Advice: Drink one coconut water a day for an "amazing, healthy" glow.
Coconut water is one of those bandwagons I've never been tempted to jump on. It simply does not appeal. I love sweet and I love coconut, but the water is just too sweet, too smooth and too... thick? I don't know.
Although celebs swear by this sticky-sweet stuff, docs have given coconut water mixed reviews on effectiveness. Yes, it's packed with potassium and electrolytes, but you're still drinking your calories and you can get those nutrients elsewhere. I tend to agree with such level-headed advice.
But I did it! I stocked up on the waters, because Adriana Lima says they're a key reason for her Brazilian "glow." And I'm not going to lie. I drank one at night and my skin looked better in the morning. I drank another the next night, and my skin seemed to have a more luminous quality. HOLD THE PHONE.
To check myself, I didn't drink a coconut water the following night, just to be sure. Maybe it's all in my mind or a fluke of my hormones that week, but my skin totally seemed to lose a little luster when I woke up having just plain-ol' hydrated the day before, sans coconut water. Call it magic, or call me (coco)nuts, I don't know.
Verdict: I'm pretty sure this has more to do with a nutrient bump than magical coconut powers -- which means you could probably get a similar effect pounding some fiber-filled veggies and fruit. The nutrition scientist in me says to just eat your greens and natural sweets. But if I need an extra boost before a big event, I'll probably grab a coconut water on the DL.
TRICK #5: Ice Cube for Skin
Advice: Run an ice cube over your skin at night to tighten pores and firm skin.
I'm kind of a beauty addict. I love new makeup trends, products, skincare techniques -- the works. So I was excited to try this super-simple trick Jasmine Tookes ripped off a dermatologist her family knows well, especially because I have sensitive skin that tends to get inflamed. Yikes.
Basically, you just run an ice cube over your face before bed to tighten your skin and close up pores. Easy-peasy, right? And let me tell you, dolls, it delivers.
I washed my face each night, ran the cool cube over my complexion, followed up with a spot treatment and voila! The next morning, my skin did feel together and smoother.
This worked so well at night that I also ran a couple ice cubes over my skin before a night out when I was having a particularly bad breakout moment. The ice totally shrank my zits quickly, allowing for the makeup to glide on easier.
Verdict: If you have inflamed skin or large pores, the ice cube trick can be your magic bullet.
The bottom line is that there's a lot of advice out there. As long as it's safe, why not try some tips that sound interesting and get innovative about your wellness plan. You'll probably come up with some shortcuts of your own to stay in shape, so you can look and feel your best as often as possible. You needn't be an Angel for that!
Are you curious to try these VS wellness tips? Tweet us @BritandCo and let us know!
(Photos via Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty and Jenna Birch)