Just three hours of exercise a week -- when it's the kind that builds muscle -- will help you burn fat. These exercises can be done at home with inexpensive resistance tubing. It costs $5-$15 online or at discount or sporting goods stores.
The fat-burning exercises in this slide show are taken from Robert Reames' Make Over Your Metabolism (Meredith Books, 2006). Reames is the official trainer and nutrition consultant on the Dr. Phil show.
Before you get started working out:
-- ALWAYS WARM UP with 4-5 minutes on cardio equipment or by marching in place with 20 seconds of arm circles and 12 high knee lifts.
-- FEEL COMFORTABLE. If the tubing feels awkward at first, do this exercise without it to start, then add it in.
Target: Glutes, hamstrings (hip and thigh areas).
Position: Lie flat on your back. Bend your knees and place your heels and ankles on a chair or bench, as shown. Rest your arms at your sides.
Motion: Lift your hips up and press your heels into the chair or bench, raising your rear end off the floor. Do not exceed the range of motion shown. Lower your hips toward the starting position, stopping just before your rear end hits the floor.
Repetition: The first week, do two sets of 10 repetitions, resting one minute between sets. Work up to three to four sets of 10-12 repetitions by the fourth week.
Target: Chest, shoulders, triceps, core (entire abdominal area); also helps with balance.
Position: Stand tall in a slight lunge (one foot ahead of the other), your knees slightly bent, and your stomach muscles tight. Place the center of the tubing on the floor under the arch of your back foot. With your elbows bent, arms to the side, and the tubing coming up behind you, hold the tubing handles slightly in front of your shoulders, as shown. Make sure the tubing is not between your legs.
Motion: Extend your arms toward the ceiling at an approximate 45-degree angle, as shown, with your elbows in a neutral, not locked, position. Return to the starting position.
Repetition: Do two sets of 10 repetitions the first week, working up to three to four sets of 10¿12 repetitions by the fourth week.
Target: Quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, core.
Position: Stand tall with your feet slightly wider than shoulder width apart. Place the tubing under the arches of your feet. With the tubing behind you, hold the handles just in front of your shoulders, as shown. Keep your elbows next to your body and your shoulders back; tighten your abs and look straight ahead.
Motion: Keeping both feet firmly planted and your knees in line with your first and second toes, bend your knees to a comfortable range of motion, but not past 90 degrees. Then press up, taking your time as you return to the starting position.
Repetition: Do two sets of 10 repetitions the first week, working up to three to four sets of 10-12 repetitions by week four.
Target: Back, biceps, core.
Position: Stand tall in a slight lunge with your right foot firmly planted ahead of your left. Place the tubing securely under the arch of your right foot; lift your left heel slightly. Hold the short resistance end with your left hand and the slack end in your right hand. Place your upper body at approximately a 45-degree angle to the floor, as shown, and activate your abs. Focus your eyes downward to keep your neck in safe alignment.
Motion: Draw your left elbow up so that it forms a 90-degree angle, as shown. Return to the starting position.
Repetition: Do 10 repetitions on one side, then switch sides and repeat for one set. Work up from two to four sets.
Target: Core abdominal muscles.
Position: Lie on your back on an exercise mat with your knees bent and your feet on the floor, as shown. Place your hands behind your head and look up at the ceiling.
Motion: Leading with your chest, raise your upper body toward your knees while keeping your hips stable, then lower. Do not rush this exercise, especially on the downward motion.
Repetition: Do two sets of 10 repetitions to begin, working toward three to four sets of 15 repetitions by week four.