If only there were some miraculous exercise that would remove fat just from the areas of your choosing. In reality, biology has its own ideas about how you lose weight, so you must reduce total body fat if you hope to slim down your waist, butt and neck. The good news is that you can target the muscle in these areas with strength-training moves that sculpt healthy, feminine lines, and the added definition will be enhanced by your fat-burning efforts.
Eating for Fat Loss
Your primary weapon in the battle of the bulge is your mouth -- rather, training it to accept fewer calories than you burn. For most women, this means sticking to a daily diet of 1,200 to 1,500 calories per day. Cutting calories doesn't mean skimping on nutrition, however, so fuel your body with an assortment of colorful produce such as purple eggplant, yellow squash, red raspberries and dark, leafy greens. Choose fiber-rich whole grains such as brown rice, which help you feel full on fewer calories, and eat low-cal proteins such as grilled salmon, tofu and lentils.
Interval Cardio Training
Cardio exercise is a must for healthy, sustained weight loss, and interval training can help you burn calories fast. For example, you might walk briskly for three minutes, break into a run for one minute and repeat the cycle. You can apply the same concept to biking, swimming or using a stair stepper. Whatever activity you choose, perform cardio exercise at least 150 minutes per week, which breaks down into five 30-minute sessions. You can alter this schedule as needed, but each workout should last at least 10 minutes.
Muscle toning moves can involve equipment or just your own body weight, and they'll promote a pretty shape. Try dumbbell shrugs for your neck; these involve holding a dumbbell or water bottle in each hand and shrugging your shoulders toward your ears. Sculpt your buttocks with squats and lunges, and tone your waist with crunches and twisting situps -- or use an exercise ball for serious core strengthening. Even if you're less concerned with the rest of your body, aim for balance and good posture by working other major muscle groups, too: legs, back, chest and arms.
Be wary of exercises that specifically target the neck; many, such as neck bridges, can injure this delicate area and should only be attempted with a certified personal trainer's help. For all exercises, stick to activities that match your fitness level and up the intensity gradually with small changes, such as a 10-percent longer session after two or three weeks. If you're new to exercise or have any medical conditions, see your doctor before starting a new weight-loss program.
Nina K. is a Los Angeles-based journalist who has been published by USAToday.com, Fitday.com, Healthy Living Magazine, Organic Authority and numerous other print and web publications. She has a philosophy degree from the University of Colorado and a journalism certificate from UCLA.