The Quick and Dirty Gym Workout for a Smaller Waist

Getting a gym membership is the easy part, but actually making it there is where the real challenge lies. We’re all living busy lives that unfortunately leave limited time for reaching our fullest exercise potential. And when we do make it to the gym on that rare occasion, we’re either too scared to venture past the elliptical or intimidated by the machines.

In fact, we often forget that sometimes, the most effective workouts don’t require the latter at all. Dumbbells, a medicine ball and will power can take you far. So, if you’re already thinking of ways to accentuate and strengthen your waistline before warm weather returns, we’ve got a quick, but highly effective routine that should fit nicely into your busy schedule.

Thumbtack expert, Baron Lambert of Top Tier Fitness in Concord, CA, recommends a workout that incorporates a pair of dumbbells, a swiss ball and a medicine ball. The weights should be challenging, but not too heavy to do high volume of reps with. “Our mission is to create instability using the weights to force our core to activate and work hard, all the while using big compound exercises to help build muscle and burn fat.”

Are you ready? Do each of the following exercises for 60 seconds with as many reps as possible, rest 30 to 60 seconds, and then move to the next:

Single Arm Dumbbell Swings

STYLECASTER | Gym Workout for Smaller Waist | Dumbbell Swing

Allison Kahler

Holding a single dumbbell, start in a squat position. Throw your hips forward to create momentum upward for the dumbbell and pull all the way over your head. As weight starts to come back down, rebound into same starting position.

Medicine Ball Slams

STYLECASTER | Gym Workout for Smaller Waist | Medicine Ball Slam

Allison Kahler

Holding a slam ball, elevate it over your head, getting as tall as you can. Then immediately turn it around and throw it into the ground. Squat to get the ball and repeat.

Renegade Rows

STYLECASTER | Gym Workout for Smaller Waist | Renegade Rows

Allison Kahler

Set up with two dumbbells in hands and in push up position. Using one arm at a time, row the weight up to your side and back down. Alternate arms for each row, trying to keep your core stable and hips from rocking.

Alternating Dumbbell Chest Press on Swiss Ball

STYLECASTER | Gym Workout for Smaller Waist | Swiss Ball Chest Press

Allison Kahler

Set up seated on the ball with two dumbbells. Roll out until your upper back is supported on the ball,  then lift your hips into a bridge position (think of yourself as the bench now). With the dumbbells now raised, alternate arms while doing a chest press, one arm at a time.

Swiss Ball V-Ups With Transfer

STYLECASTER | Gym Workout for Smaller Waist | Medicine Ball V-Ups

Allison Kahler

Set up by lying on your back, holding a swiss ball overhead. Crunch up with the ball while simultaneously raising your legs to meet in the middle. Transfer the ball from your arms to between your legs. Lower the ball down and retract to lying position, then repeat by bringing the ball back up from your legs to your arms again.

9 Practical Ways to Maintain a Healthy Weight Without Looking at the Scale

By now, you’re either conquering a list of New Year resolutions or aiming to get back on track. Maybe you don’t believe in traditional resolutions at all. Regardless of your stance on that all-too-popular concept, maintaining a healthy lifestyle is something most of us aspire to, simply because it’s the right thing to do, given all the labor our bodies are routinely subjected to.

Of course, stepping on a scale and seeing the numbers spelled out can be effective, but it’s also potentially dangerous for those who struggle with seeing their natural beauty in a positive light or diagnosed disorders. Additionally, what if you’re simply not a fan of measuring your goals against it or only step on a scale when you’re at the doctor’s office for a yearly check-up?

According to Thumbtack Personal Trainer Kaitlyn Noble, there are a number of habits that’ll ensure your weight is manageable and better yet; keep you happy and motivated. Jot down these daily to-dos and get ready to live your best (and healthiest) life:

Fill a minimum of half of your plate at every meal with non-starchy vegetables. Leafy greens, broccoli, brussel sprouts, peppers, zucchini and tomatoes are just a few of the the healthy bites that should have prime real estate in your kitchen. “Our bodies think in nutrients, not calories,” says Noble. “By ensuring that we are flooding our body with the minerals and vitamins it needs, it will feel satisfied with less food.”

Drink up. This one’s a no-brainer, but as most experts preach, proper hydration is crucial for metabolic function, glowing skin, and digestive function. One of the many benefits is reduced belly bloat. “Aim for at least half of your body weight in ounces each day, plus more if you’re exercising,” says Noble.

Increase “natural” movement throughout your day. Although dedicated exercise time–like the gym or yoga– is a great idea, simply moving around throughout our day is arguable more important. “If you study at the healthiest and leanest cultures around the world, you’ll find very few clocking hours in a gym,” says Noble. “Instead, their work is physical, they stand often and they spend more time outside moving around. Aim for a bare minimum of 10,000 steps a day, but more is better.”

Practice body-positivity. It’s a relief to see more influential brands and people promoting healthier self-image ideals, but it should be a way of life for all of us. Noble says, “regularly shaming ourselves diminishes long-term motivation to look after our bodies. By building a healthier dialogue with ourselves, we’ll boost confidence and create a desire to make better choices.” (Pro-tip: if you spend a significant amount of time on social media, start by following inspirational ladies like these.)

Get a minimum of eight hours of sleep every night. “Lack of sleep affects everything from hormone production to appetite and fatigue,” all of which can lead to weight gain over time. If you want a closer look at the quality of your snooze fests, consider downloading an app like Sleep Cycle, that measures the amount of “deep sleep” you’re actually getting.

Keep stress in check. We know it’s easier said than done, but don’t sweat the small stuff! “Chronic stress can cause adrenal issues, which can result in blocking your body from losing weight and even cause you to gain,” says Noble. “Meditation with an app like Headspace is a great way to practice mindfulness and calm the mind.”

Give yourself permission to have treats. What’s work without a little play in between? While having a strict and healthy diet is obviously beneficial to maintaining a healthy weight, Noble notes that it’s okay to have your cake, too. “This may seem counterintuitive,” she says, “but loosening the reigns and indulging from time-to-time can prevent the desire to binge on forbidden foods.”

Journal. Noble also says that instead of counting every calorie or macronutrient, write down your foods with a different goal in mind – how the food made you feel. “Over time, you’ll notice patterns, like certain foods making you tired or cranky, and the motivation to make better choices will come from your own intuition, instead of a prescriptive, one-size-fits-all approach.”

Eat mindfully. Sometimes it’s less about changing the foods you eat and more about shifting how you eat the foods already on your menu. “Slow, down, chew every bite carefully and set aside all distractions like television when you eat,” says Noble. “You may notice you’re full before your plate is empty, or that you don’t actually enjoy the taste of a processed food you thought you loved.”