One of the most popular questions I am asked as a personal fitness trainer is something along these lines: What exercise is best to lose this fat belly? Or what's the best exercise for these jiggly arms that insist on continuing to wave long after I have stopped waving? Or how can I make my butt smaller?

People continually want to know how to lose weight from isolated problem areas. I swear if I had a dollar for every time someone has asked me that, I’d be able to retire and move to the coast today.

Many people still seem to have the mistaken idea that by doing countless crunches, arm, or butt exercises, etc., you can diminish the fat stores in these areas. The truth is that there is no such thing as target reduction. It just doesn't work that way.

So the honest and unpopular answer to these most popular questions would have to be: YOU CAN'T LOSE YOUR JELLY BELLY, WAVY ARMS, OR BAGGY BUTT BY PERFORMING ANY PARTICULAR EXERCISE!!

But do not despair!!

Allow me to bust this myth here and now. Losing that belly fat and making your butt or arms smaller is a doable thing and it is accomplished through aerobic exercise (also known as cardiovascular exercise or cardio), i.e., walking, jogging, running, elliptical machines, treadmills, bicycling (stationary or real), swimming, dancing, etc....I think you get the picture.

That's right, cardio will make you lose that unwanted fat from everywhere, no matter where you tend to carry it, whether it is your chin or your big toe or anywhere in between.

Now, that is not to say that crunches and triceps exercises are useless or in vain. Au contraire! They are muscle toning and conditioning exercises, which are good for not only aesthetic reasons (meaning they'll make your tummy and arms pretty), but the scientific fact is that the more toned and conditioned muscle a body has, the higher the metabolism; hence, the more calories that body will use up in all activities of daily life....even watching your favorite program on TV while at rest.

However, to go to the gym or your exercise room or wherever it is that you may work out and crunch till your blue in the face or only perform arm or butt exercises, ignoring all your other muscle groups, is not the way to achieve your desired goals of fat loss in your problem areas.

GET THIS: You need to strength train every major muscle group symmetrically. Therefore, ideally, a fitness regimen should consist of three segments: 1) Aerobic/cardiovascular exercise, 2) strength training, and 3) healthy nutrition.

And oh yes, let’s not forget another very important component of fitness: Rest. A well-earned good night's sleep to allow the body and its muscles to recuperate and grow from all that hard work and effort.

Most importantly, as Nike would say......Just Do It! Get up and move! And if you don't know what to do, you can always hire a certified personal trainer!

Now that you understand that abdominal exercises won’t take the jiggle from the middle, let me just say that core training is hugely important and you need to be doing it!

I’m sad to say that most people I train over the age of 25 have or are developing back issues. Much of this could be avoided if we used preventative measures such as proper core training along with proper lifting techniques in our activities of daily living. For more on this be sure and go to my core training page at

Seven pounds down and counting. You know where to find me if you want me to put you in touch with the trainer who is making it happen. Word on the street is she's dabomb!!!

I'll be more than happy to answer any questions and would love to hear from you!

This is the part of the newsletter where I picture an exercise and give explicit instructions on its proper execution. I thought it'd be ABsolutely apropos to make this month's exercise all about ABs. So let's take a looksee, shall we, at the proper crunch. It's perfect for strengthening the abdominal muscles and beginning work on your six pack. Done properly it is very effective.

Primary Muscle Group Worked:
Rectus Abdominis, Internal and External Obliques or Abdominals (bellimus maximus).

For a video demonstration of this exercise go to

NOTE: The video shows both regular and oblique crunches.

Starting Position: Lie on your back with knees bent and feet wide apart as shown. Keep arms back and just barely in peripheral vision throughout. Beginners may want to cross hands at chest.

Execution: Exhale as you slowly curl head, neck and shoulders off the floor. This is a subtle move. You should raise no further than 30 degrees or 3 or 4 inches. Pause at the top while exhaling completely and slowly return to start position. Repeat for desired amount of reps.

1) Do not allow head to touch the floor between reps.
2) Keep the same distance between chin and chest throughout-envision an orange lodged there.
3) Do not lurch your head and neck forward: Lift the shoulders using your abs, not your head and neck. Imagine that your head and neck are only along for the ride with the shoulders.
4) Perhaps most importantly, go slow and exhale all the way up and pause at the top whilst emptying your lungs completely. Then and only then slowly return to start position without allowing head to touch the floor and repeat till the burn makes ya yearn to stop. Now that's the way to crunch, brothers and sisters!

People often tell me they can do hundreds of these and they don't seem to feel them. My response is always the same, "Then you aren't doing them right." If you follow my tips above explicitly, I promise you'll have a whole new respect for the good old crunch. Good luck!

Okay, peeps! This is the inspirational part of the newsletter known as the "Ponder Pond" where you're welcome to take a swim in the sweet waters of inspiration that can only come from things that make you go, "OMG!"

This video made its rounds on the NET a while back, but it still makes me cry like a baby whenever I watch it. So, not wanting to hoard all the blubbering, I thought I'd share it as this week's ponder pond feature. Grab a hankie and purge those pent up emotions baybee! Here we go!

Well, it was good for me, how bout you? (sniff sniff)

Well, that's about it for this month! I hope you enjoyed this month's newsletter and until the next issue, may the wind be at your back and improved health and vitality your new reality!

If you enjoyed this newsletter, please feel free to pay it forward to anyone you think would like it too. That is the best compliment you could ever pay me, and I appreciate it very, very much.

And don't forget to tell everybody about. where they can get all the free fitness info their heart desires and sign up for this newsletter while they are there.

From my heart to your health,

Linda Burke, CPT

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