Setting goals is important when you're trying to get in shape, and for many women these goals often involve two areas -- the stomach and butt. Trimming inches off of these areas doesn't require a lot of fancy equipment or memberships. But it does require strength-training moves to improve muscle tone and then some good old-fashioned aerobic exercise to get your heart pumping. Improving these areas will not only leave you looking better, training core muscles such as your abs will also improve your balance and stability during day-to-day activities.
If you're looking to burn fat, start early. Working out before eating breakfast requires your body to burn fat for fuel instead of food. A study in the November 2010 issue of the “Journal of Physiology” found that people who exercised for 60 minutes in the morning on an empty stomach burned fat more efficiently than those who exercised after eating breakfast.
Doing moves such as the glute bridge will help you work your abs and glutes at the same time. Lie on your back on the floor with your knees bent and feet shoulder-width apart. As you exhale, contract your stomach muscles and push your hips toward the ceiling. Hold for two seconds, and avoid arching your lower back. Inhale and slowly lower your hips back to the floor. Do two or three sets of 12 to 15 repetitions each.
A move called the Bird-Dog also works your abs and glutes at the same time. Start on your hands and knees facing the floor. Squeeze your stomach muscles as you slowly extend your left leg behind your body. Once your leg is parallel to the floor, slowly extend your right hand in front of your body. Make sure to keep your head down and shoulders straight ahead. Hold for two seconds. Lower both your hand and leg to the floor. Switch to the opposite side by raising your right leg and your left hand. Repeat this series of moves up to 12 times. Aim for two to three sets total.
Front planks work your abs and your back. Lie on your stomach and bend your arms so they are close to your sides. Your palms should be down and hands slightly ahead of your shoulders. Flex your feet and push your toes against the floor. Push on your forearms to lift your shoulders, torso and thighs. Your forearms should remain on the floor. Hold this position for up to 20 seconds, and continue breathing normally. Make sure your shoulders are positioned above your elbows. Rest for 30 seconds, and then repeat the exercise two more times.
Elizabeth Peterson has been a reporter since 2005, working in television, radio and online. Specializing in health and environmental coverage, she has contributed to MSNBC and several local affiliates. Peterson earned a Bachelor of Arts in journalism.