Who doesn't want a flat tummy and rock hard butt? Sometimes, however, these results seem so far away because there is so much misinformation out there. Despite what you may have heard or may have read, getting these results takes more than doing one particular exercise. Fat loss is the key here. No matter how hard you make your muscles, it will not make a lick of difference if you don't lose the layer of fat on top first. This means paying attention to your aerobic workouts as well as your healthy, calorie reduced diet. For losing visceral fat, the kind stored in the belly and around your organs, aerobic exercise is the best. This dangerous fat leads to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease which is the number one killer of women over 35. Women have larger fat cells and produce more lipogenic (fat storing) enzymes and fewer lipolytic (fat releasing) enzymes than men. Estrogen can also play a role in fat deposition. Estrogen levels can be impacted by lifestyle and diet. A diet that is loaded with artificial ingredients can result in higher levels of estrogen causing fat cells to grow and become more difficult to combat. It is important to eat anti-estrogenic foods. These include, cruciferous vegetables, passion flower, citrus fruits, omega-3 oils, wild catch salmon, organic dairy products, raw nuts and seeds, avocados, olive oils, wheat germ oil, green vegetables, whole oats and barley, legumes, spices (turmeric, oregano, thyme, rosemary and sage) and herbs (dandelion root, ginger, alma and milk thistle). Here is an idea of what a menu loaded with anti-estrogenic foods looks like: Breakfast: 1 grapefruit and 4-6 egg whites 8 oz cup of coffee or tea 1 dose of fish oil (usually 450-500 milligrams per day of combined EPA/DHA) Mid-Morning Snack: 6-8 ounces of Greek yogurt with ½ cup blueberries or strawberries Lunch: Salad 6 ounces salmon, tuna or white fish ¼ cup unsalted nuts (almonds, soy or cashews) Mid-Afternoon Snack: Whey protein shake with 8 ounces of water or skim milk 1 small apple Dinner: 6-8 ounces chicken or fish 1 cup broccoli, Brussels sprouts or kale 1/4 cup black beans As for the exercise element, spot reducing isn't possible but targeting these areas through a general fat loss regime is effective. Match cardio exercises like running with plyometric exercises that involve explosive movements like jumping or hopping. Fitness Rx offers the same aerobic exercises that combine these movements:
- Jogging for 5 minutes then running a 40-yard sprint and performing a set of pop squats
- Treadmill walking or running with jump lunges off of the treadmill
- Stationary cycling for 5 minutes, jumping jacks, 5 burpees
- Boot camp style class that combines several of these explosive movements into a single exercise session
- One-Legged Squats: Place the left shin on a ball. Bend the right knee into a squat until it is bent to about 90 degrees. Straighten the leg back to the starting position. Repeat for 10-20 repetitions before switching sides.
- Cross Over Step-Ups: Stand with your left side facing a step, bench or platform. Lift the right leg and cross it over the left, placing the foot flat on the step or platform. Step back down with the left foot and repeat for 10-20 repetitions before switching sides.
- Flutter Kicks: Lay on the floor with your legs straight. Place your hands under the outside of your glutes to support your lower back. Raise your legs off the ground until they are approximately 8-12 inches off the floor. Begin by raising one leg up towards the ceiling while lowering the other leg slightly, then alternate the legs. Continue alternating for 15-20 repetitions on each leg.
- Stability Ball Roll-Outs: Kneel directly behind a large exercise ball with your palms on top of the ball and your arms straight out. Slowly roll the ball forward and away from you, stretching your body out as you perform the movement. Roll out as far out in front of you as you can while still maintaining balance and without losing control of the ball. Perform 15-20 repetitions.