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Tips to Trim Your Waistline

Studio 5 Contributor Melanie Douglass R.D., NASM says it's never too late to trim your waistline. She shares 3 simple tips and exercises to burn belly fat!


It happens to the best of us. One day, you wake up and realize your abs aren't quite what they used to be. But the good news is that when it comes to your body - and your health - nothing is ever permanent. Your body is constantly changing, evolving and rebuilding -- and that means you have the constant opportunity to reshape your body and make it stronger and healthier than ever before -- at any moment you choose!

Reshaping your mid-section can be pretty easy. Really! In fact, as you take simple steps to "just be healthy", you'll find your abs along the same pathway... because healthy, strong, visible abs respond to the same basic principles used for improving total body health and wellness. ► ►

1) Eat Simple
If you want to find your abs, then eat simple. And by simple, I mean basic solitary foods that don't have a lot of ingredients. Like... an apple; string cheese; almonds; baked chicken with a little pepper; plain Greek yogurt... you get the idea. If you eat simple and avoid foods with lots of ingredients, you'll be eating foods that help to slim your waistline and decrease your total body fat percentage. Fast foods and restaurant foods have LOTS of ingredients. Processed snacks and convenience meals have LOTS of ingredients. But a simple meal of grilled chicken/fish, steamed veggies and a scoop of brown rice is simple, clean, and ultra-healthy for your body.

Food intake is at least half (if not more) of the equation when it comes to losing body fat and showing off strong, sculpted muscles. It's easy to burn 300 calories in a workout and then turn around and consume 1500 calories afterward. Because we have the ability to do so much more damage with our mouths, food intake is one of the first things to get under control, in order to truly change your body.

2) Do More "Total Body" Exercise
Total Body Exercises are things like push-ups with leg lift, burpees, jumping jacks, sprinting, elliptical machines with arm movement, swimming, dancing, or power moves that require the upper and lower body to work in unison. Find activities incorporate both the upper body and lower body and you've got a winning movement to burn more calories and strengthen your body at the same time.

Some of my favorite total body movements are:

Air Jacks
Do 4 jabs with your abs super-tight-contracted and then either a) hold 4 counts b) hold 2 counts and jump 2 counts or c) hold 2 counts and air jack 2 counts

Mountain Climbers Get down into a plank position and contract your abs. Make sure your wrists are right under your shoulders. Then bend one knee and bring it into your chest and quickly switch your weight from one leg to the other.

Triple Twists
Stand with your feet slightly more than shoulder width apart and bend your knees. Bend your elbows to 90 degrees and hold your fists in front of your chest. Contract your abs and obliques (TIGHT!) and quickly twist right-left-right and pull your left knee up to meet your elbows on the left. Then repeat other side.

3) Train Your Abs... 10 Minutes Everyday
And last but not least--do your crunches! The best ab exercises are the most basic ones:

The Crunch
Lie down on your back with knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Elbows out wide to the side and hands at the base of your head. The lift up unitl the shoulder blades are off the floor and lower back down. Make sure you can fit a fist between your chin and your chest. Squeeze your belly button in toward your spine on each rep.

Bicycle Crunch
Lie down on your back and tuck both knees into your chest. Place your hands at the base of your head and keep your chin up. Then quickly rotate through your core, from side to side, while extending the opposite leg straight out. Don't let your low back arch upward. Keep your belly button pulled in toward your spine the entire movement.

Reverse Crunch
Lie down on your back and extend your legs straight up in the air, keep your legs together and your feet flexed. Place your hands at your sides, with your arms straight and palms pressing into the floor. Lift your hips up (using your lower abdominals!) like you are going to stamp your feet onto the ceiling. Then lower back down, but control and resist the movement on the way down. You can vary this: one leg up, one leg hover; push up and then out front, etc.


If you need more info, or have other questions for Melanie, visit the Studio 5 Ask the Expert Page.

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