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Whittle Your Middle—Without a Single Crunch
Core exercises will strengthen your abs, but they won't eliminate the fat that lies beneath them. To do that, you have to ramp up your overall calorie burn with cardio (running, walking, biking). A Duke University study found that people who did moderate cardio for 178 minutes per week (roughly 30 minutes of walking six days per week) gained hardly any visceral fat over the course of eight months. Participants who worked out at a higher intensity (jogging) for a similar amount of time saw even better results—reducing their belly fat by almost 7 percent. To maximize your workout, try interval training, which alternates between high- and low-intensity cardio.

Once you've established a regular cardio routine, add two or three weight training sessions on nonconsecutive days to your weekly workouts; everyone naturally gains some fat as they age, but building muscle tone can significantly slow the production of belly fat. In a study conducted at the University of Minnesota, overweight women who did twice-weekly strength training routines that included eight to ten exercises of major muscle groups, from biceps curls to leg presses, gained 67 percent less visceral fat over two years than women who didn't do strength training regularly.

Next: 10 simple rules to lose 5 pounds
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