Does this sound at all familiar? You’ve tried lots of different diets but in the end, they’ve all failed. Now you feel frustrated and you wonder if you’ll ever fit into that dress from several years ago. Well, help is at hand because the basic fact is that diets don’t work. Embarking on a diet to lose weight typically follows the pattern below:
- Initial successful weight loss when the diet starts
- A plateau where your weight stays the same
- It becomes harder and harder to lose weight
- The diet is abandoned
- The weight is rapidly regained
- A further weight increase occurs
Calorie counting forever is not sustainable, either for dieting goals or good health but if the diet is dead, how do you drop a dress size without dieting? The solution is to gradually introduce a structured regime of exercise that burns calories, makes maintaining a healthy weight easy and also tones up problem areas.
Super six toning areas
The 'Drop a dress size without dieting' plan focuses on training six key problem areas. By toning the ‘Super six’, specific muscles will become firmer and everything will be ‘pulled in’, resulting in an all-round leaner physique.
- Underside of upper arms
To target the super six, complete the following exercises:
Upper stomach muscles: Sit-ups and crunches
Lower stomach muscles: V-sits and leg extensions
Obliques (Sides of the abdomen)
Oblique crunches on a stability ball
Thighs and bottom exercises
Any aerobic activity such as cycling, walking, jogging, running, rowing etc, which uses the legs.
Underside of upper arms
Any triceps exercise, for example:
- Tricep dips
- Tricep extensions
- Tricep kickbacks
Core exercises train your inner postural muscles. These muscles aren’t visible but are fundamental to holding you in and keeping you upright.
Good core exercises include
- The plank
- Sitting on a stability ball
- Stability ball floor bridge
When targeting specific areas, it is extremely important not to neglect the opposing muscle and ensure that the body remains in postural balance at all times.
Example 1: If the triceps are being exercised to tone up the upper arms, exercises for the biceps muscles should be included.
Example 2: If stomach exercises are carried out, back extensions for the lower back should also be completed.
Bulking up through exercise?
Many women focus solely on cardiovascular exercise (working the heart and lungs) because they are concerned that if they start weight-training, they will bulk up their muscles. Women are not naturally predisposed to building large muscles and will find it virtually impossible to develop anything remotely like a muscular physique. What training with weights will achieve however, will be a lean, toned, slim body, with additional spin-off benefits including:
- Increased calorie burn 24 hours a day due to the higher ‘energy cost’ of toned muscles compared with body-fat.
- Reduced risk of osteoporosis (brittle bone disease) as the skeleton is strengthened when resistance training is carried out.
How often should I train?
To optimally tone muscles, training for a minimum of two sessions per week is necessary. After 72 hours, the physiological improvements that occur following a training session begin to ebb away, so a single weekly session reduces training gains. However, by completing two sessions per week, (with a suitable rest period in between sessions), you ensure that improvements are maintained. It is also important to note that training for seven sessions per week will not produce seven-fold improvements. Rest is the key ingredient in any training program and it is vital to allow time for the body to recover following training. A minimum of one day’s rest between sessions is necessary to facilitate recovery and the rebuilding that occurs after training. If rest is omitted, fatigue and overtraining can occur, resulting in reduced gains because the body is still tired from the previous session.
How many times should I complete an exercise?
Frequently, advice is given that to tone up muscles, lots of repetitions with light weights are necessary. This advice is suitable for basic maintenance but to reactivate dormant muscles, challenging the body with fewer repetitions using a higher weight will bring about quicker and more improved results.
Resistance exercises (triceps, obliques and stomach)
Build up to completing three sets of 12 repetitions, with a 60 second recovery between sets.
Build up to holding each exercise for 60 seconds.
Build up to completing three, 20 minute sessions each week.
The end results of exercise on your dress size
Simply by carrying out the specific exercises outlined above, within six weeks, you will notice that your body has become noticeably leaner and firmer. Additionally, you will have broken out of the yo-yo diet syndrome and by sticking to your new-found healthy regime, you will see your dress size falling instead of rising!