To men, a muscular body is the ultimate sign of masculinity, while women prefer curves to express their femininity. A curvy body is often referred to as an hourglass figure; the waist is smaller than the hips and shoulders and the lower and upper body are in proportion to each other. Although genetics plays a big part when it comes to body shape, eating healthy and having an effective exercise routine can bring you a step closer to your ideal.
Incorporate high-intensity interval training, or HIIT, on three nonconsecutive days of the week to help burn calories to eliminate excess fat from your middle. A slim waist accentuates your curves. According to study results published in the "Journal of Obesity," HIIT is more effective in burning body and belly fat than any other exercise. Alternate between a vigorous, cardio intensity and a less-intense recovery pace. For instance, jog at a leisure pace for two or three minutes and then go all out and accelerate into a one-minute sprint. Go back and forth between the intensities until you complete a 20- to 25-minute HIIT session.
Engage in strength training on at least two days of the week to strengthen and define your muscles. Work all your major muscle groups: legs, arm, abdomen, hips, shoulders, back and chest. Start with one set of eight to 12 repetitions, and as you get stronger, slowly add two more sets. Use just enough weight so the last repetition of each set is tough to complete. Always challenge yourself.
Emphasize your shoulders during your strength-training routine to create that V-taper physique that makes your middle look smaller. Include exercises, such as lateral raises, shoulder presses, upright rows, and front raises. Use dumbbells, a cable station or machines to do these exercises.
Include abdominal-strengthening exercises in your strength-training routine. When your excess body fat reduces, these exercises will add muscle definition and bring out the curves of your waist going down toward your hips. Work your abs in all planes of motion. Perform bicycle crunches to target the sides of your waistline, do basic crunches to work the front of your waist and include reverse crunches to work the lower part of your abdominals, which is often hidden by that dreaded belly pooch.
Firm and define your lower body, which is a common problem area to many women, since fat tends to store here. Targeted leg and butt exercises will work the muscles under the fat, and when the fat reduces, you'll be left with a shapely rear end, curvaceous hips and well-defined legs. Incorporate lunges, step-ups, squats, dead lifts and hip extensions on all fours into your strength-training workout.
Eat a healthy diet that contains foods from the basic food groups. Eat vegetables, whole grains, low-fat or fat-free dairy, lean protein and fruits. Limit sugar and saturated and trans fats and monitor your caloric intake to prevent sabotaging your results and gaining weight by overeating.
Always perform five to 10 minutes of light cardio to warm up your body before starting your exercise routine.
If you need to lose weight, do so at a safe, gradual rate of 1 to 2 pounds a week, by accumulating a daily deficit of 500 to 1,000 calories through diet and exercise.
Consult a doctor before incorporating exercise and dietary changes, especially if you have a health condition or injury.
- Journal of Obesity: High-Intensity Intermittent Exercise and Fat Loss
- American Council on Exercise: High-Intensity Interval Training
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: How Much Physical Activity Do Adults Need?
- Sculpting Her Body Perfect; Brad Schoenfeld
- Ask the Trainer: Best Ab Exercises
- Ask the Trainer: Best Leg Exercises
- American Council on Exercise: Glutes to the Max
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: Aim for a Healthy Weight