women

Morning exercisers don’t get up out of bed when there’s a hot bloke in it. Evening gym-goers don’t pass up romantic dinners for Body Attack.

Your plan

Mind your back (side)

A study in Obesity Research shows the average woman gains six to eight pounds in the first two years of a long-term relationship. It's partly the man-size portions and partly what you're doing - sitting. Tel Aviv University researchers found that when you sit for long periods, your fat cells create twice as much fat as when you're standing. Bummer indeed. To intensify, add the hip bridge and heel drag to Program B: lie on your back with lower legs on a fitness ball. Raise your hips. Lift your left leg until your foot is facing the ceiling. Press your right heel into the ball and roll it towards you, then roll it back out. Repeat for 12 to 15 reps. Then do it on the other side.

A study in Obesity Research shows the average woman gains six to eight pounds in the first two years of a long-term relationship.

A study in Obesity Research shows the average woman gains six to eight pounds in the first two years of a long-term relationship.

Exercise when he's not around, too "You can always do 20 minutes of bodyweight exercises or go out for a brisk walk,” says Cahill. Buy a pedometer and clock up 10.000 steps a day; research by the University of Tennessee found that women who did this had 9% less body fat than women who walked less. Step to it!

Pair up, slim down

Get him to work out with you. Duke University in the US found that people were 50% more likely to start exercising if their partner joined in. Top option: salsa or Ceroc classes. The fast beat will burn lots of calories, and all that twisting gives your abs a 360-degree workout. The reward: research shows that the post-exercise testosterone boost leads to higher libidos in both men and women. We reckon that beats sharing a bottle of Rioja any day.

"You can always do 20 minutes of bodyweight exercises or go out for a brisk walk,” says Cahill.

Ride off your saddlebags

If the only exercise you like is the horizontal variety, get on top. You burn 100 calories in 26 minutes in cowgirl position, compared to 67 minutes in missionary. Work your quads by squatting over him with your feet flat on the bed (or carpet/kitchen table). Yee-ha!

The obstacle: you work insane hours

Twelve-hour working days don't leave much time for long runs in the park (or even short runs round the block). Plus, studies show that long hours + elevated stress levels = a disaster (right around your mid-section).

Your plan

Rise, then shine

Being stuck in the office makes your metabolism slower than a Take Me Out contestant, and if you're stressed you can expect the resulting weight gain to go straight to your middle - as high cortisol levels are known to lead to increased abdominal weight gain. The answer? Schedule interval workouts for the crack of dawn, before work can interfere with your plans. Training first thing cranks up your metabolism too and helps you shed belly fat quicker than at any a other time. As for the stress, nix it with a playlist of your favorite upbeat tunes: research by Osaka Medical Center found that listening to music significantly lowers cortisol production. So Chris de Burgh it is.

As for the stress, nix it with a playlist of your favorite upbeat tunes

As for the stress, nix it with a playlist of your favorite upbeat tunes

Do less for more

When time is short, every move counts. So spend that hard-earned cash on a BOSU ball ($165, physicalcompany.co.uk). By putting one or both your hands on it during planks and push-ups, and stepping on it during lunges, you'll burn more calories in the same space of time. That's because the unsteady surface makes your body work harder to produce faster results, says Kinesiologist Stephen Stanley. Best keep your eye on that ball.

Lose the hunch

Slumping over your keyboard like a human comma all day compresses your spine. "That leads to bad posture in the short term and irreversible damage to your spine over the years," says Lori Incledon, author of Strength Training For Women. Reverse it with this daily stretch: lie along a 1m foam roller with bent knees and feet flat on floor. Take 15 seconds to drag your hands, palm up, from by your hips to above your head, keeping arms straight. Hold for 10 seconds then lower back down. Do 5 reps to avoid getting the hump.

skip through your excuses

skip through your excuses

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