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Bye, Bye Belly

Inching Your Way To A Lean Body

Written by LifeFitness.com

For many of us, the waistline is the first place we pack on the pounds and the last place we lose it. But try as we may, hundreds of crunches, sit-ups and plank holds alone won't give us celebrity-inspired washboard abs. To truly trim our waistlines—and thighs, arms and bottoms—a comprehensive strength, cardio and nutrition plan is needed. If you're trying to lose inches in those problem areas, check out these dos and don'ts from the exercise experts at Life Fitness:

Do some heavy lifting:

A pound of muscle can burn more than a pound of fat, so the more muscle you have, teh more calories you will burn, even when you aren't working out. Furthermore, a pound of muscle is denser than a pound of fat, so it creates a leaner profile. Commit to doing one or two exercises for each muscle group one to three non-consecutive days a week.

Don't forget the cardio:

Strength training will build muscle, but cardiovascular exercise will help shed that layer of fat covering the muscles you're building. Activities that elevate your heart rate into a fat burn zone such as jogging, biking, swimming and hiking will help your body burn the stored calories. Supplement your strength training program with 30 to 60 minutes of aerobic activity four or five days a week.

Do watch what you eat:

A pumped up exercise routine doesn't mean a free pass on food, especially when your goal is to lose inches. In other words, don't follow a three-mile run with a three-egg omelet (and a side of hash browns). Follow a balanced diet of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, protein and healthy fats for best results. Up your protein intake as you add more strength work to protect the muscle mass you worked so hard to gain.

Resist Temptation:

Staying on track is tough. There will always be temptations that lure you —whether it's the smell of freshly baked doughnuts next to your office or the event you are invited to at the time of your core-conditioning class — and sometimes you may give in. But don't let those slip-ups get you down. You can get back on track in no time! The key is to learn from your mistakes. Your challenge is to recognize why you gave in to a temptation and how you felt afterward. Chances are, you didn't feel too good if you ate something off the plan or if you skipped your workout for the day—examining what happened will remind you why you need to stay strong for the long haul.

Article Reviewed: August 17, 2013
Copyright © 2014 Healthy Magazine

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