Illustration: Joel Holland

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Do This: Get Strong
Muscle burns three times as many calories as fat. After age 30, though, most people will see up to 8 percent of their muscle mass diminish each decade, a loss that really puts the brakes on metabolism. But just two 30-minute strength-training sessions a week can firm you up and counteract that slowdown. Start with basic moves like sit-ups, planks, and lunges, then up your intensity with these variations:

1. One-Rep Sit-Ups
Lift your torso one inch at a time, holding steady for ten seconds before moving again, until you're fully upright in a typical sit-up position. Repeat eight to ten times.

2. Power Planks
Hold a basic plank for ten seconds. Widen your stance and lift one leg for a count of ten, then switch. Repeat three times.

3. Pulsing Lunges
Step forward with your left leg, then bend your right leg until your knee is an inch from the floor. Lift yourself up one inch, then lower back down without letting your knee touch the floor. Do 45 quick reps and repeat on other side.

Courtesy of Pete Cerqua, author of High Intensity Fitness Revolution for Women (Skyhorse).
As a reminder, always consult your doctor for medical advice and treatment before starting any program.


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