Thursday, May 1, 2014

How to whittle your middle.....

Summer is here and the most common question I've heard recently is "What is the best exercise to tone my stomach and get rid of these love handles?"

The answer is an easy one, but people always seem surprised when they hear it...not because I suggest a complicated series of ab moves that require Gumby-like flexibility & 45 minutes of their day.  They are surprised because I always say "Just move!"

It's true: planks, knee-ups and Russian twists (to name a few) build and tone muscles in your core, but trimming fat is the key to showing off those toned muscles.  And while there is no one way to target fat on one part of the body, we can engage in daily cardiovascular activity (making our heart and lungs work harder) and watch our caloric intake to melt away fat on our entire body.

By burning more calories than we take in, our bodies start to burn fat all over.  Just 20 minutes of cardiovascular exercise a day can make a big difference - just try it and see!  Once that fat starts to melt away, that toned stomach (and legs, and arms) will start to show.

There are so many things on the market these days (I use the FitBit) to help you set goals and monitor your progress throughout the day - the FitBit tracks your steps for you and you enter your calorie intake daily.   I suggest you splurge and buy one of these to help get you on track - it's amazing how much you can learn about your daily habits by tracking them for just one week!  And with the FitBit you can follow your friends and have daily or weekly competitions to see who takes the most steps.

My Fitbit after a 10-mile hike in Sedona!  Love seeing these numbers hit 5 digits!

For a double-whammy add one (or all) of these exercises into your daily routine to work both your core and that heart and lungs:  hi-knees (with a twist if you're feeling spunky), burpees (my favorite!), and mountain climbers.

Fitness Blender created this 15 minute at home Ab-Cardio routine - try it tonight!
Warm up with at least 5 minutes of light cardio. The cardio intervals are each paired with an abdominal exercise that you will need to repeat for the indicated number of reps. Note which exercises require repetitions on each side of the body and which involve alternating limbs.
1 Minute Jumping Jacks
20 Flutter Kicks 
1 Minute Jumping Oblique Twist
20 Pilates Side Hip Raises (Repeat on each side) 
1 Minute Mountain Climbers
20 Toe Touch Crunches 
1 Minute Lateral Jumps
20 Pilates Leg Pulls (Alternating legs) 
1 Minute High Knees
20 Jackknife Crunches (Level 1) (Level 2) 
1 Minute Sumo Squats
20 Reclined Oblique Twists (Alternate reaching to each side)
Stretch and Cool Down

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