A jelly belly and saddlebags can make you feel self-conscious about the way you look. Worse yet, too much excess flab can be bad for your health. To lose weight and get that sexy, slender body you know is hiding in there somewhere, you've got to do cardio exercises that burn calories and muscle-toning exercises that help boost your metabolism. In addition to your workouts, a calorie-reduced diet consisting of healthy foods such as lean protein, fresh produce, whole grains and lowfat dairy can help you get rid of excess flab more quickly.
Walking is an effective, all-around good workout that you can do, no matter what your fitness level. As a moderate-intensity workout, walking burns approximately 250 calories per hour to help you lose 1/2 pound per week. You can boost your calorie-burning potential and tone muscles by adding hills to your walking workouts or one-minute intervals of race walking or jogging after four minutes of walking at your regular pace. Shoot for an hour a day, six days per week to lose weight. If family or work obligations make this difficult, be efficient with your time by walking on your lunch break or putting the kids in the stroller and walking to nearby errands. On Saturday or Sunday walk for a longer time, such as one and a half to two hours, at a steady moderate pace.
Interval training is a flexible type of training you can incorporate into many different types of fat-burning cardio exercises. Whether you jog, ride your bike, swim or jump rope, by incorporating intervals into your workout sessions, you can burn more calories in less time. These four exercises burn approximately 500 calories per hour to help you lose 1 pound per week. But if you alternate between four minutes of your regular pace and one minute of faster-paced activity, you can burn the same number of calories in approximately 45 minutes.
Circuit Training Workout
A circuit training workout also burns 500 calories per hour while helping you shed fat and tone muscles at the same time. Building more muscle mass helps your body burn calories more efficiently. Alternate between 30 to 45 seconds of resistance training and three minutes of heart-pumping cardio to do a circuit training workout. After warming up, jog in place, jump rope or use a stationary bike or treadmill for three minutes. When the three minutes is up, go directly into a strength-training move, such as pushups, squats, walking lunges, chest presses or leg lifts. You can take a short break of 15 seconds in between circuits, if needed, but it's best to keep the momentum going. A gym membership isn't necessary to do circuit training. You can do this easily at home, with or without the added resistance of free weights.
Total-Body Strength Training
As you get older and approach midlife, you'll naturally lose muscle mass. This is one of the reasons why middle-aged women gain weight. In addition to a slowing metabolism, the lack of muscle mass doesn't help the body burn calories efficiently. Strength training two to three times per week, for 20 minutes per session, can help you tone and build your muscles for a leaner body. Exercises that engage several muscles at once can help you get a total-body workout without doing a dozen different moves. To work your whole body, do pushups, squats, lunges and thrusters while holding dumbbells or kettlebells for all exercises except for the pushups.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Physical Activity
- Shape Magazine: Walk More Than a Marathon in 30 Days
- Mayo Clinic: Rev Up Your Workout with Interval Training
- University of New Mexico: The Fitness Professional's Complete Guide to Circuits and Intervals
- Mayo Clinic: Strength Training--Get Stronger, Leaner, Healthier
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.