If an aversion to the gym or lack of health club membership has kept you from working out, you can forget your worries and get your workout clothes on. Weight machines aren't necessary to tone your body and get rid of unwanted flab. You can work out at home or outdoors to get ready for that bikini or little black dress without having to spend your hard-earned cash or feel self-conscious at the gym.
Lose Fat to Reveal Muscles
You can tone your muscles all you want, but if there's too much flab covering them no one will know. Get rid of the jiggle in your wiggle by doing aerobic exercises at home or in your neighborhood. Get your heart pumping with a brisk walk, jog or ride a bicycle. You can also work off the muffin top and thunder thighs by exercising to an aerobics DVD, or using a treadmill or stationary bike. Take your multitasking talents to new heights and tone your muscles while shedding fat by doing interval or circuit training. With interval training, move your body faster for 30 to 60 seconds, following every four to five minutes of exercising at a normal pace. To circuit train for a slim, toned body, alternate three minutes of cardio with 45 seconds of strength training exercises. Take a 15 second break in-between each cardio and strength training exercise.
Upper Body Strength Training
Flaunt your arms in a sleeveless top or show off your back in a backless dress with a toned upper body. Tone and sculpt your arms, chest and back muscles two to three times per week. Use dumbbells or kettlebells for bicep and tricep curls, shoulder presses and butterflies. If you don't have any exercise equipment, you can still work your upper body muscles with pushups. Aim for eight to 24 pushups, three times per week. If your arms feel like gelatin after three pushups, don't sacrifice form to finish the set. It's better to do three perfect pushups then eight with poor form. Don't give up; each week your muscles will get stronger and you'll be able to work them harder.
Lower Body Strength Training
Lose the bubble butt and saddlebags by working your lower body two to three times per week. Strength training moves that tighten and tone your legs, hips and butt help you build muscle mass and strength, while giving your body a lean, defined look. Get the biggest bang for your buck by performing moves that tone your tush, hips and thighs simultaneously. Do 12 to 24 lunges and squats, with or without the addition of dumbbells or kettlebells for added resistance. You can tone your lower body and burn calories to lose flab by doing step aerobics at home by following along to a DVD.
Tone Your Core
Toning your core muscles does more than help you get flat abs. A tight, toned core also helps you stand up straight and avoid back pain. If you're carrying a baby around all the time, you know how important core muscles are. Do front and side planks, as well as the knee tuck to get flat abs and strong core muscles as you shed the muffin top. Sit on the floor and lean your torso back while using your hands for balance. Lift your feet off the floor while bending your knees at a 90-degree angle. If you can maintain your balance, lift your hands off the floor and raise them until your arms are parallel with the floor. Slowly draw your knees toward your chest, and then move them back out. Repeat eight to 12 knee tucks, three times per week.
- Columbia University: Working Out at Home
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Physical Activity
- Harvard Medical School: Tips to Help You Reach Exercise and Weight Loss Goals
- Georgia State University: Upper Body Strength Training Exercises
- Georgia State University: Lower Body Strength Training Exercises
- Real Simple: 6 Easy Exercises to Strengthen Your Core
- Mayo Clinic: Rev Up Your Workout with Interval Training
- University of New Mexico: The Fitness Professional's Complete Guide to Circuits and Intervals
Mary Ylisela is a former teacher with a Bachelor of Arts in elementary education and mathematics. She has been a writer since 1996, specializing in business, fitness and education. Prior to teaching, Ylisela worked as a certified fitness instructor and a small-business owner.