Finish your workout with these three full-body stretches to improve your posture and reduce injury risk. (Hold stretches 2 and 3 for 30 seconds.)
1. CAT BALL STRETCH
Stand with palms on top of stability ball. Reach forward, dropping chin while rounding spine; keep abs drawn in. Pause; repeat 3 times.
2. SPINE STRETCH
Lie faceup with upper body over ball, knees bent. Extend arms over head, feeling the stretch in chest and back.
3. HAMSTRING STRETCH
Lie faceup on mat, extending left leg up. Lay towel over instep and gently pull leg toward you; keep pelvis neutral. Repeat with right leg.
PART 2: CARDIO CONDITIONING
All the tummy toning in the world won't make a difference if your belly is hidden below a layer of fat. To maximize results, you also need cardio—at least 30 minutes, 5 days a week. Choose activities like walking briskly, swimming laps, playing tennis, or following a workout DVD. Make at least one sweat session an interval workout, proven to burn more fat in less time while continuing to torch extra calories postexercise. Try our sample routine below, perfect for walking, running, or using a cardio machine.
Your Belly Melt Interval Workout
Use your RPE (rate of perceived exertion) on a scale of 1 to 10 as a guide. At 5 to 6, you should be slightly breathless but able to speak; at 7 to 8, speaking should take more effort (you can say only a few words at a time).
|Activity||Warm-Up||Increased Speed/Intensity*||Recovery Speed/Intensity*||Cardio Burst*||Cool-Down|
|Time||5 min||1 min||3 min||1 min||5 min|
*Repeat the intensity increase/recovery/cardio burst in order a total of 4 times; for the cardio bursts, alternate between walking lunges, jumping jacks, and body-weight squats.