If you're counting down to a warm-weather vacation or wedding  or just want to look your best for the holidays, now's the time to get the weight-loss formula right. We spoke to Tracey Mallett, founder of The Booty Barre , for her simple tips on losing weight and feeling your best the smart way. Read on for her advice.
- Make it a mix: Once and for all, don't avoid those weights if you want to lose weight. "The best way for people to want to lose weight is a combination of cardio and strength training activity to increase muscle mass," advises Tracey. Gaining muscle will help shrink your body even faster as you increase your metabolism. You don't even have to lift weights — these 25 body-weight exercises  will sculpt muscles fast.
- Start slow, but be consistent: When you're not used to a workout routine, you could be setting yourself up for burnout if you take on too much too soon. "What happens with people is that when they want to lose weight, they go, go, go, and then they overburn, and then they give up," Tracey explains. She recommends new exercisers start by sticking to a schedule of three to five times a week. "The more consistent you are, the more calories you're burning," she says.
- Clean up your diet: Exercise is important, but Tracey says it's the smaller part of the weight-loss formula: "80 percent of what goes into the body is what you look like, and then 20 percent is exercise." However, "even though exercise seems like a small percentage, it's really not, because you don't want to be skinny and fat; you want to have muscle mass, so it's important you do both." Stick to whole foods like vegetables, fruits, healthy fats, and lean protein, Tracey recommends, making sure you watch out for starchy carbs, added sugars, and too-big portions.
- Don't go too fast: You shouldn't be losing any more than one to two pounds a week, Tracey says, so make sure you're eating enough to fuel your new workout routine. "The max is two pounds a week, and really, that's a lot," Tracey warns.