In a bid to improve your appearance, you might consider a variety of surgical procedures, such as liposuction, in which a doctor removes pockets of fat from your body. But if you’d prefer a non-invasive way to develop a beautiful body, use diet and exercise to strengthen your muscles and trim excess fat naturally. Depending on your starting point, a non-surgical, diet-and-exercise strategy can help you obtain a slimmer and stronger figure with fewer or no saggy areas.
Calculate your basal metabolic rate, which is the minimum number of daily calories you require to survive, by using an online calculator.
Eat a healthy diet to help you create a calorie deficit. Burning more calories than you consume is the only way to lose weight without surgery. Consuming 500 fewer calories per day than your BMR will help you lose about 1 pound per week. Eat foods such as fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean meat, protein sources such as nuts and beans, and low-fat dairy products. Avoid sugary and processed food.
Drink at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water per day, or roughly 2 liters. This level of water intake increases your metabolism slightly and helps you burn a few extra calories. It also helps regulate body functions such as temperature and waste disposal, lubricates joints and protects several body parts, including your spine. Additionally, drinking sufficient water can prevent some wrinkling of your skin.
Perform cardiovascular exercise to increase your caloric burn and work on the non-food portion of the calorie-deficit equation. For example, you can ride a bicycle outdoors, or ride indoors on a stationary bike. You can walk, jog or run -- again, either outdoors on a track or running path, or indoors on a treadmill. Other options include swimming and cardio machines such as elliptical trainers. Perform at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic intensity per week, but try to reach 300 minutes. Moderate-intensity exercise raises your heart rate and makes you sweat, but you should still be able to speak fairly normally.
Include interval training in your aerobic exercise program by alternating high- and low-intensity exercise during a workout. For example, you can run for 30 seconds, walk for 90 seconds and then repeat the pattern for a 20-minute workout. Interval training burns more calories than steady-pace exercise, according to MayoClinic.org.
Perform strength-training exercises on at least two non-consecutive days per week. Make sure your workouts cover all of the major muscle groups. If you perform weighted exercises, perform eight to 12 repetitions of each activity, using a weight load that leaves your muscles fatigued by the end of each set. Using the concept of progressive resistance, add 5 percent to 10 percent more weight to an exercise after you can perform 12 reps in reasonable comfort. Challenging your muscles this way helps them grow, which helps you look better. It also increases your metabolism so you burn more fat, even when at rest. For body-weight exercises, increase the intensity by adding sets, or by making the exercise more difficult. For example, increase the intensity of pushups by setting your feet on a raised platform.
Increase your caloric burn by doing your strength-training exercises in a circuit. Pause between exercises as briefly as possible -- only long enough to move from one activity to the next. By remaining in constant motion you keep your heart rate up and burn more calories than you would if you rested between exercises.
Tips & Warnings
- Warm up before you perform any type of exercise. Do five to 10 minutes of cardio activity, such as jogging in place or riding a bike.
- Check with your doctor before starting a new diet or exercise plan.
- WebMD: The Most Popular Cosmetic Procedures
- MayoClinic.org: Nutrition and Healthy Eating
- Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism: Water-Induced Thermogenesis
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: How Much Physical Activity Do Adults Need?
- Charles Stuart University: Anaerobic, e.g. Anaerobic Interval
- MayoClinic.org: Rev Up Your Workout With Interval Training
- American Council on Exercise: Strength Training 101
- American Council on Exercise: Circuit Training Basics
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Water & Nutrition
- WebMD: 6 Reasons to Drink Water
- Photo Credit fatchoi/iStock/Getty Images
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