A muffin top or belly pouch is the last thing you want to show off when temperatures rise and midriff-baring clothes start calling. You don't need a lot of bulky, expensive equipment to get rid of the fat and tone your muscles. Slim down with cardio exercises and tone the core muscles of your stomach with resistance band exercises.
Burn calories and shed the excess fat by doing cardio exercises at least 150 minutes per week. Schedule your cardio exercise in a way that makes it easy to stay committed; a few 10-minute cardio sessions spread across the day are just as effective as one long session.
Lose 1/2 pound per week by walking briskly for one hour, which burns 250 calories per hour. Drop 1 pound per week by moving more vigorously with exercises such as jogging, biking or swimming, which burn 500 calories in one hour.
Perform ab-toning exercises three times per week along with your other muscle-toning exercises. Do the rowboat exercise in which you sit on the floor with your knees slightly bent. Position the center of the band around the bottoms of your feet while holding the handles in your hands. Lean your torso forward about 45 degrees. Extend your arms behind you, pulling on the resistance band as you keep your elbows close to your sides. Keep the band taut throughout the exercise until you've completed 16 reps.
Tone your ab muscles and enjoy the added bonus of leaner legs by doing standing leg extensions. Hook the handles of the resistance band around a table leg or something heavy and secure. Stand inside the loop so the resistance band is just taut. Draw your ab muscles in to engage them while standing straight. Extend your outer leg up at the side as you pull against the band's resistance. Lower with control to complete one rep. Do eight to 16 reps on each leg, always keeping your ab muscles drawn in.
Cinch your waist by toning your oblique muscles -- the muscles that run along your sides. Stand with your feet hip width apart over the center of the resistance band. Cross the resistance band handles in front of you so it forms an "X." Position your hands by your sides as you squat 45 degrees. Bring both hands up and over your right shoulder as your hips, stomach and upper body twists toward the right. Return to the starting squat position to complete one rep. Do eight to 16 reps on each side.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Physical Activity
- American Council on Exercise: Why is the Concept of Spot Reduction Considered a Myth?
- MayoClinic.com: Strength Training -- Get Stronger, Leaner, Healthier
- American Council on Exercise: Ab Exercises
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Common-Sense Strategies to Long-Term Weight Loss
- Put your multitasking skills to work by combining your cardio and resistance band training into one workout. Create a circuit training routine by doing cardio for four minutes, followed by 45 seconds of resistance band exercises for the abdominals and other muscles. Repeat the segments for at least 30 minutes to burn fat and tone muscles.
- Check your doctor before you start any new exercise program.
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.