By Taylor Lupo
Many of us wish our tops would lie flat over a toned tummy, our jeans would fit snugly around a lifted booty and our upper arms wouldn’t jiggle in a tank top. Sometimes, life has other plans—dinners out with friends, children and age—all factors that contribute to extra pounds. Our genes play a part, too, and unfortunately some of us are prone to store fat in areas we wish it didn’t. While it’s well known that you can’t spot reduce, eating healthy—and eating fewer calories than you burn—can help you slim down to reveal those sexy, toned muscles.
For many women, getting older means losing muscle mass and, unless we carefully watch the amount and types of foods we eat, extra belly fat. Menopause makes losing belly fat even more difficult.
But no matter your age, high-intensity cardio, like running, cycling and swimming, may be your best friend when it comes to blasting belly fat. After breaking a sweat, tighten your lower belly bulge with this gut-busting exercise.
Body Part: Lower Abdominals
Exercise: Leg Lifts
Tip: As you lift each leg, be sure to press your back into the floor (no arching up) to both protect your spine and to be sure you’re engaging those lower abs muscles.
Sick of love handles hanging over the sides of your jeans? Tighten your core and cinch in your waist with a side plank—an exercise that tones your abdominals and obliques. And, as much as we wish it weren’t so, reducing belly fat begins in the kitchen. To see real results, limit your intake of processed sugars and saturated fats.
Body Part: Core (Abdominals and Obliques)
Exercise: Side Plank
Tip: This multitasking move works your back and shoulder muscles, too.
When people think of the core, they tend to think abs. But the core is your entire body minus your head, arms and legs. A strong core not only promotes balance and good posture, it makes it easier to do everyday activities, like carrying groceries and doing housework. A sturdy midsection can also enhance pleasurable activities like your love life. Strengthen your core with this simple exercise.
Body Part: Core
Tip: Once you’ve mastered the basic bridge, increase the intensity by raising one leg at a time as you lift your hips off the floor.
With no equipment required, this exercise can be done anywhere and anytime. In addition to the pretty appearance of sculpted shoulders, chiseled deltoids promote good posture and help prevent shoulder injuries. Hit the floor and build strong shoulders in no time.
Body Part: Deltoids (Shoulders)
Tip: The plank is a great total body exercise—it works your abs, back and legs, too.
While genetics, medical problems and certain medications can play a role wherever fat accumulates, the main culprits are a sedentary lifestyle and poor nutrition. To effectively battle the bulge, move more and get your diet on the right track. As you shed pounds, tackle back fat with this easy floor exercise.
Body Part: Back
Exercise: Arm/Leg Raises
Tip: This move is the perfect swimsuit companion—it tones your shoulders, too.
Just as our face can reveal telltale signs of age so, too, can our arms. As we get older, we lose muscle mass and our skin begins to sag below the triceps. But don’t ditch those tanks and tees just yet! Try dancing away upper arm flab. And if dancing isn’t your thing, try the bent-over row.
Body Part: Triceps
Exercise: Dance Workout
Tip: If you opt for the bent-over row, gradually increase the dumbbell weight as you build strength.
Since the Kardashians hit the small screen, toned, big behinds have become all the rage. Squats are a tried and true exercise for firming flabby glutes. Score yourself a tight tush with celebrity trainer Donovan Green’s Butt-Blaster workout.
Body Part: Glutes
Exercise: Sidekick with kickback
Tip: Walking and running are great workouts for your glutes, too. Include hilly terrain on your route to bump up the burn or, if you work out on a treadmill, increase the incline.
These straight leg raises will help you feel confident in shorts and dresses again as they improve muscle tone to create leaner-looking limbs.
Body Part: Quads (front of thighs)
Exercise: Leg Lifts
Tip: Increase the difficulty by doing this move while supporting yourself on your elbows.
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