Love Handles, Back Fat, Curvy Hips & More!: Here Are The Answers To All Your Fitness Questions

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You asked them, now here are the answers to your top fitness-related questions, plus some additional tips to help address your highest priorities when it comes to working out.

How Do I Tone My Back? Toning your back requires you to target specific muscles: the lats, traps, and rhomboid, to be exact. This back routine will help target and sculpt the muscles of the back, which are notoriously weak for women. While it is impossible to spot-reduce back fat (meaning eliminate fat in that specific area with only toning moves) there are some exercises that will activate the muscles and help give them more definition. Try these 4 moves for the upper back, and of course, adding in cardio for all-around fat loss will enhance results.

How Can I Get Rid of Love Handles? As with the back, spot reduction of the “love handles” is merely a figment of our imagination, and a single, cure-all solution does not exist. And yet, we must not give up! There are a few things we can turn to for eliminating love handles, and with a combination of factors, including diet, exercise and reduction of stress (yes, stress can cause you to carry fat it that region), it’s possible to lose the love handles and bring on the love for your healthier physique. Check out these tips from celebrity trainer Joe Dowdell – I couldn’t have said it better myself.

How Can I Slim My Hips Without Losing My Curves? This is a tough one! Women tend to carry fat in the hip area for purely evolutionary and biological reasons. This makes it harder to stay lose weight and keep weight off in that region, and contributes to our more voluptuous figures. To “slim” any area of the body, all-around, total body cardio is necessary, and as we know is most effective in the form of interval training. Because women are wider at their hips, “losing curves” won’t exactly happen, but it’s impossible to prevent fat loss in a specific region when implementing cardio, which will lead to a more universal fat loss. There are some women that lose weight in their hips more easily than others, and this depends on the individual and not much can be done. What you can do in this situation, however, is work on toning to build lean muscle and shape your lower body, while also working your core to shrink your waistline and enhance your curves. Here is a routine that is specifically geared towards boosting curve appeal. Remember, there is no surefire way to drop inches without losing some of the “curvaceousness” you have, but by reducing fat in your thighs and waist with cardio, and building leaner muscles with toning, you’ll slim down, but still keep some curves.

As far as overall fitness goes, 66% of readers who voted claimed they’re most interested in working out to tone and lean-out their figures. The best workout routines feature complimentary combinations of cardio and toning, and include cross-training to keep the results coming! For the 66%, two things come to mind, and anyone who keeps up with ShapeU will find they ring a bell: interval training and total body toning. Here are some key considerations when trying to maximize a workout geared towards toning and leaning-out your figure: 1) mix different forms of higher-intensity cardio so muscle memory doesn’t take over and your body continues to be shocked into improvement. 2) be consistent and don’t skip workouts – cardio should be 4-5 times a week, while toning should be 2-3 times weekly3) move out of your comfort zone and try new things you aren’t used to: this keeps your body guessing so you continue to see results without hitting a plateau! Here is an awesome interval routine, and this total body toning routine that only requires a bath towel!

Shout out to the reader who cited working out for mental health (like yoga and meditation) as an interest. This was something I totally overlooked, but definitely should have included! Aside from the amazing benefits of yoga for increasing flexibility, working the upper bodybuilding muscle tone/working your legs and even burning fat, yoga is ah-mazing for relieving stress! As college students, we could definitely use more yoga in our lives: try out these simple routines that are easy to incorporate into any routine! And as for meditation, check out these 4 reasons to meditate and try it out!

Among the areas of the body that readers wanted to learn more about, abs and butt/thighs were voted as high priority – not surprising. Most of us are concerned with these spots because we consider them “trouble” areas, or because they’re a source of pride that we love to own (work it ladies). So for everyone interested in these specific areas, a few workouts come to mind. For abs, we’re going retro with this eight minute abs routine from like, 1985 – actually, it’s 1994, but still it’s retro. Awkward music aside, this is one of the most effective routines for our core, and I use most of these moves with clients in my own classes. Try it out! As for our butt and thighs, lowing body toning is one of the most popular types of toning out there. Aside from the yoga moves highlighted earlier, pilates and other floor routines are an awesome way to work your lower hald. And how about this for a killer bonus: pilates have a focus on core strength, so you’ll work your core while also toning your lower body! And just because, here’s a routine that knocks out all three!

And that about wraps up your fitness questions – thanks for voting!

Think of something you wish you had asked last week? Leave a comment and ask your question below!

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