Parents polled moms about their top body bummers and the biggest issues were arms, belly, and overall weight. Then we brought in fitness expert Tracey Mallett, creator of the Get Your Body Back DVD, to design three fitness plans to get you in great shape.
Everything in this slideshow
Lose Weight All Over
For a superfast slimdown you need a combination of cardio and strength-training moves, where you alternate between short feel-the-burn bursts and lower-intensity periods. To see results in just five weeks, do the 18-minute routine below three times a week, plus some other form of cardio twice a week (like walking or jogging for 20 to 30 minutes). Select the arm and ab moves from the following pages, and increase the length of your cardio bursts to two minutes over time. For even faster results, do the routine twice through each time, changing your strength and cardio picks the second time through.
- 1 arm move
- 1 belly move
- 1-minute cardio burst
Choose one of the following cardio burst moves:
- Jogging in place
- Jumping Jacks
- Running up and down stairs
- Jumping rope
- Butt kicks
- Alternating knee lifts
- Leaping side to side
Repeat routine four times, choosing a different cardio burst move each time.
Attack Flabby Arms
The key to getting arms that are both sleek and toned: Strength-train with lightweight dumbbells (3- to 5-pound ones) or use your body weight for resistance. If you want to focus on your arms, do this three-minute routine three times a week, going quickly from one move to the next without resting. You'll see a difference in about five weeks. (For faster results, combine with cardio.) As you grow stronger, ratchet up your workout by doing the routine twice.
Lie on ground with knees bent, feet flat and hip-width apart, and arms extended straight up, a dumbbell in each hand. With palms facing toward each other, bend arms at 90 degrees overhead, keeping elbows still. Squeezing triceps, return to start position. Do 15 reps.
Place hands on ground, shoulder-width apart, with fingertips pointing forward. Rest knees on ground; keep ankles next to each other. Draw abs in and inhale as you bend elbows out to sides. Exhale as you straighten arms to push up. Do 10 to 15.
With feet shoulder-width apart, knees slightly bent, hold dumbbells. Bring arms to shoulder-height, upper arms extended outward, forearms straight ahead, so elbows bend at 90 degrees. Punch left arm forward; return to start position. Repeat with right arm. Do 20 punches total.
Stand tall with heels together, toes pointed out. Holding dumbbells, rest arms at sides, with palms facing outward. Exhale as you lift arms diagonally out to shoulder height, with palms facing up. Return to start position and repeat 10 to 15 times.
Stand with knees together, slightly bent and torso forward. With abs pulled in and arms at sides, hold a dumbbell in each hand, with palms facing back. Bring arms in front of you, close to your hips, then press them back behind your body. Do 10 to 15 reps.
Blast Belly Fat
This quickie 5-move routine from Mallet will target your deepest muscles, which are responsible for getting that tummy flat. The routine should take you just five minutes to complete. Do it five or six times a week to see a difference in just four weeks. Focus on exhaling and drawing your abs in during the part of each move that requires most effort.
Lie on your right side, then raise body up, resting on right forearm with elbow bent and directly underneath shoulder and hips in the air with legs straight and stacked, feet flexed. Reach left arm straight up at shoulder height, keeping shoulder blades down. Hold position for 30 seconds, then bring body down. Switch to lying on left side, then repeat.
Sit with knees bent and feet flat on ground (for more of a challenge, come into a V position, balancing on tailbone, with feet off ground and shins parallel to it). Grasp the ends of a dumbbell with both hands, so palms face each other. Rotate to the left using torso, then turn back to center. Repeat, turning to the right. Do 10 times on each side.
Forearm Plank With Twist
Lie facing the ground, balancing on forearms with hands in fists and elbows in line with shoulders, back straight, and toes curled under. Bend both knees and rotate waist so right hip is closest to the ground. Return to start, then bend knees and rotate so left hip is closer to ground. Do 5 on each side.
Single Leg Stretch
Lie with knees bent, shins parallel to sky, hands on knees, and head and shoulders off ground. With left leg bent, shift your right hand to left knee and left hand to the outside of left calf, and extend right leg out with toes pointed. As you return right leg to start position, switch hands to right knee and calf. To increase abdominal strength, resist the knee coming to the chest by pushing down on it. Repeat with left leg. Continue alternating sides, doing 10 times on each leg.
Sit with your knees bent in front of you, feet flat on ground, and inner thighs touching each other. Stretch arms straight ahead at shoulder height, clasping hands into the shape of a gun. Inhale and roll backward until your mid-back (bra line) touches the ground. Exhale to bring torso back up. Do 10 to 15.
Originally published in the May 2011 issue of Parents magazine.
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