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Fat Melting Fitness - 3 Exercises You Can Do In 20 Minutes

From eDiets - The online diet, fitness, and healthy living resource

If you pack on weight during holidays, vacations or other times of the year that revolve around food, studies show that most people don’t lose that weight.

So why not chew on these thoughts from fitness expert extraordinaire Michael Stefano instead? The author of The Firefighter's Workout Book (HarperCollins) can help you escape these weight gain periods unscathed. Simply follow his metabolism-revving workout and keep your calorie-burning fires lit through the hectic end of the year!

Michael Stefano With winter weather taking the nation by storm, the last thing you want to do is head outside for a jog, run or bike ride. Well, you dont have to brave the snow, sleet and sub-zero temperatures. Stefano wants you to come in from the cold with his 20-minute indoor workout, which will increase your metabolism and get you in the target heart rate/fat-burning zone. The routine packs a one-two punch: youll enjoy the effects of both a strength-training session and a cardio workout.

“Not only will this increase your metabolism, but it will also increase the amount of muscle you have on your body, which will burn a lot more fat,” Stefano tells eDiets. By increasing your lean muscle mass, youll burn fat all of the time. This is something cardio alone doesnt achieve. Youre also toning your body, so youll be able to see results from the workout after just a month.

Beat the holiday bulge by performing Stefano’s workout two to three times a week, with 48 hours rest between each session. You don’t need any equipment. However, you can use weights to increase the intensity of the regimen.

Stefano suggests performing two or three sets of each of the following exercises. Rest one to two minutes between each set. Shorter rest between sets will promote more fat burning, while longer rest will tend to create more strength and muscle.

Once you’ve done two or three sets of each exercise, go on to the next movement.

Squat SQUAT
Lower Body
Start out by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart and hold dumbbells at your sides. Hold your head straight while you maintain the natural arch in your back, knees soft. Inhale as you bend at the knees and hips to a sitting position, or as low as you can comfortably go without pain or discomfort. Allow the arms to swing forward for balance. Your buttocks never drop below the level of your knees, and your knees do not extend beyond the toes. Exhale, slowly rising to a standing position with your knees and hips straight, allowing the arms to drop back to your sides. Ideally, select a resistance level (body weight or dumbbells) that enables you to hit muscle fatigue in the 12- to 20-repetition range.

Intensity Booster: Hold dumbbells (as shown), but if you don't have access to free weights, simply perform this exercise at a slower pace to increase intensity and overall results. Squat down to a slow count of eight, and back up to a slow count of four.

Classic Push Up CLASSIC PUSH-UP
Upper Body
Lie face down on the floor or mat, hands on the floor, palms down, slightly wider than shoulder-width apart, and toes curled under on the floor. Your back and legs are straight. Exhale as you slowly straighten your arms and push your body away from the floor. Inhale, lowering yourself back down to the point where your chest comes within a few inches of the floor. Repeat to the point of muscle fatigue (in the range of 15 to 20 repetitions).

Intensity Booster: Elevate your feet on a step or bench (while your hands remain on the floor) to increase intensity. To reduce overall intensity, perform the Modified Push-Up instead of the classic version.

Modified Push Up MODIFIED PUSH-UP
Upper Body/Core
Everything remains the same as in the regular push-up, except your knees are bent and remain on the floor throughout the movement instead of the feet. Repeat to the point of muscle fatigue (in the range of 15 to 20 repetitions).

Leg Raise LEG RAISE
Lower Body/Core
Lie supine on a mat or padded carpet, legs straight, both hands under your buttocks to help maintain the proper pelvic tilt (engages abs). With your head held off the floor a few inches, exhale and slowly bring your knees to your chest. If necessary, support your head and neck with a folded towel. Inhale as you straighten your legs (make sure you keep the lower back pressed firmly onto the floor), then return to the starting position. Repeat to the point of muscle fatigue (in the range of 20 to 30 reps).

Intensity Booster: Kicking your legs straight out and near the floor will increase intensity (as shown), while kicking higher up, and away from the floor will reduce it.

For more of Stefano's fat-burning and body-sculpting workouts -- get your copy of The Firefighter's Workout Book.

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