photo of how to get rid of muffin top

Photo: Courtesy of Andrew Meade Photography

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Could this be the recipe for deflating the muffin top? A recent study compared three groups—those who ate a reduced-carbohydrate diet, those who combined the diet with strength training and those who combined the diet and strength-training with cardio workouts—and found that a three-tier approach was the most effective strategy to decrease abdominal fat. It's important to note that the exercises you choose and the effort you put into them really matter, says Marta Montenegro, a certified strength and conditioning coach who teaches exercise physiology at Florida International University. Instead of ho-hum treadmill-trotting and sit-ups, she recommends high-intensity workouts, which have been shown to be more effective at reducing the belly fat you can pinch with your hand, as well as the visceral fat that pads internal organs (which has been linked to metabolic disturbances and increased risk for cardiovascular disease and type-2 diabetes).

Montenegro put together this hard-core high-intensity workout based on the latest research, her work with clients and her own experience (that's her in the photos; those abs don't lie).

The Circuit

*You will need 2 small towels and 2 dumbbells (3–5 pounds).
*Perform the exercises in the following order, one after another, without pausing in between.
*When you've completed all 6 exercises, rest for 90 seconds.
*Do the entire circuit 1–3 times.