Everyone wants a smaller waistline. But acording to the American Council on Exercise, spot reduction is a myth; the key to shedding pounds and inches is to engage in regular cardiovascular and strength-training exercise and eat a healthy, balanced diet in order to burn more calories than you take in. Try incorporating some easy 45-minute workouts into your routine for results that will have you looking trim and sexy in no time.
Tackle the Treadmill
When it comes to exchanging fat for muscle, there are few pieces of equipment that get the job done faster than the treadmill. Not only are you raising your heart rate, which is the key to burning fat, but you're also moving your midsection, toning the muscles underneath. In just 45 minutes, you can burn anywhere from 200 to 450 calories at even a modest pace -- more if you push harder. According to Harvard Health Publications, a 125-pound woman who averages a pace of 5 mph for 45 minutes will burn 360 calories. Crank up the pace for a few minutes and you'll burn even more. If sticking to a treadmill for 45 minutes is a challenge, bring along your iPod and favorite tunes. Enjoy the movement while you listen to motivating music and up-tempo beats.
If you can't stand the idea of going to a gym when there's fresh air and natural beauty outside, you're not alone. Millions of runners and walkers enjoy the outdoors as their personal workout facility on a daily basis. If you want to join them, just lace up your shoes and head out the door -- no other equipment is needed.
In order to break up the time, separate your 45 minutes into intervals, which burns more calories than either running or walking alone. Take a stopwatch with you and use it to help you alternate between periods of running and walking. Warm up with a brisk walking pace for five minutes, then increase your pace to a jog for another minute. For the next three minutes, run or jog at a challenging pace, and then slow down for a one-minute recovery walk at an easy pace. For the remainder of the time, follow this formula: two minutes of brisk walking, three minutes of running, one minute of recovery. With whatever time remains, cool down with a brisk walk that slows to an easy pace.
Spin Yourself Thin
Anyone who gets bored easily with long cardio workouts will love spinning. Plus, in just 45 minutes, a 130-pound woman can burn up to 580 calories with a vigorous workout, according to Glamour Magazine. The best way to get the most out of spinning is to take a class at a local gym led by a qualified instructor. However, if you're on your own, you can still give yourself a challenging workout on a spinning bike. Start out with a four-minute warm-up and then get ready to rock. Alternate between challenging paces and resistance levels, and incorporate periods of standing, leaning forward and leaning backward. Complete seated hill climbs, standing sprints and periods of tempo rides that push your pace -- but not to the point of sprinting. The 45 minutes will fly by -- as will your midsection. In order to maximize the results, make sure the bike is an actual spinning bike instead of a stationary bike. While stationary bikes can be useful, spinning equipment allows users greater ability to incorporate different movements.
Ease into the Elliptical
As one of the most popular machines at the gym, the elliptical trainer can be the ideal piece of equipment for those looking to decrease their waistline. The key to getting results, however, is to make sure you push yourself. Find a challenging but sustainable pace and then check the speed. Do your best to stay at or above that number throughout the workout. A 125-pound woman will burn over 400 calories in 45 minutes on the elliptical, according to Harvard Health Publications.
For the most benefit, use the movable handles, or simply let your arms move back and forth on their own as if you were running. To keep yourself from getting bored, vary the resistance levels, incline and speed, alternating every two to three minutes. Or bring along a magazine to keep you entertained; they're easy to read on ellipticals due to their setup and design. Before you know it, you'll be tying the drawstring on your gym shorts a little tighter and saying good-bye to that unwanted belly.
After graduating from the University of Kansas with a bachelor's degree in sports information, Jill Lee served for 10 years as a magazine editor for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA). Also a published author, Lee now works as a professional writer and editor focusing on fitness, sports and careers.