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Fitness Q&A

Vary Workout Routine and Modify Diet to Get Rid of Post-Pregnancy Belly

January 14, 2002|STEPHANIE OAKES

Question: I'm 32, have two children younger than 3 and work out three times a week. I'm looking for a solid middle after these two pregnancies. What else can I do?

KAREN MOORE

Beaverton, Ore.

Answer: I don't know what your three-times-a-week workouts consist of, but I'm sure it's a great start.

To specifically lose your middle, you need to do several things--not just ab work.

The fact is, spot reducing doesn't work. If we have any excess fat on our bodies (like around our stomach), we need to reduce our overall body fat to get rid of it.

The good news is that this can be done by combining a sensible diet with a well-rounded workout routine.

First, try to eat four to six small meals throughout the day. Because your body will use the food as fuel, rather than storing it as fat, this will help keep your metabolism high.

Second, to achieve maximum fitness results, your workouts should be a combination of cardiovascular work and resistance training.

I recommend some form of cardiovascular exercise (running, walking, elliptical machine, stationary bike, swimming, hiking, etc.) three to five times a week for 20 to 60 minutes at a time.

Third, resistance or strength training is also an essential part of an effective workout program.

Keep your resistance routine fresh.

If your body is constantly challenged by frequently changing exercises, intensity, and the order in which you do them, your body will respond faster.

And, as for your abs: Work them hard enough to stimulate muscle growth, but allow enough rest between sessions so your muscles can recover.

Ideally, you should do three sets of exercises, such as crunches, three or four times per week, with 10 to 12 repetitions of each exercise.

*

Stephanie Oakes is the fitness correspondent for Discovery Health Channel and a health/fitness consultant. Send questions to steph oakes@aol.com

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