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Your Non-Surgical Makeover
5 Ways to Cut the Fat
by Michael Stefano

The traditional TV makeover has recently risen to new heights. Modern day audiences, hungry for anything with shock value, aren�t satisfied with total wardrobe, hairstyle, and make up changes. Plastic surgery has definitely moved to center stage, and is being broadcast directly into your living room.

According to a survey conducted by the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS), nearly 8.3 million surgical and non-surgical cosmetic procedures were performed last year. That�s up a whopping 20 percent from 2002! Topping the list of surgical procedures was lipoplasty or liposuction, with an astonishing 384,626 operations performed (up three percent from 2002). Source: www.aboardcertifiedplasticsurgeonresource.com

Even if you qualify as a candidate for liposuction, your surgeon should ensure that you've attempted to address the problem through diet and exercise. This will ultimately reduce the amount of fat that he needs to remove surgically, as well as promote better results with a faster recovery.

But what about the millions of us who�d rather not go under the knife purely for vanity�s sake? Is there any hope?

You bet there is! And I�m here to spell out exactly what you can and can�t do to rid your body of excess fat, while you reshape, sculpt and dramatically alter your appearance. Sound good? Let�s get started by taking a look at what can be achieved with an effective fitness program.

Exercise Can/Can�t Do List

Exercise Can...
� Drastically reduce body fat percentages
� Firm, tone, and sculpt muscle
� Increase muscle size to fill out excess skin
� Eliminate cellulite
� Increase strength and endurance
� Lower chances of developing disease
� Strengthen your immunes system
� Encourage the release of endorphins (feel good hormones)
� Give skin a healthy glow
� Restore balanced posture

Exercise Can Not...
� Completely eliminate the effects of years of extreme obesity
� Restore elasticity to skin following a weight loss of 50 to 100 pounds or more
� Restore elasticity to skin following multiple pregnancies with a major increase in body weight (greater than 25 percent)

Now that you know what exercise can do (as well as its limitations), how can it change your appearance, and help you avoid surgery?

First you�ll need to customize a well-rounded (no pun intended), full body resistance program that will deliver the bulk of your results. Most people make the mistake of focusing on a specific body part right off the bat, without addressing the larger issue of excess body fat and poor overall muscle tone.

Next zero in on your specific problems or trouble spots, and tweak your program by adding or adjusting with exercises and activities that support what you�re trying to achieve.

Creating Your Program

A beginner's program should include just five or six very basic resistance exercises. These movements should work an entire muscle group versus one small and isolated area. The bench press for the chest and shoulders, as well as the squat for the entire lower body are examples of multi-muscle exercises that unless specifically contraindicated, are an asset to any start up routine.

Initially, the full body program needs to be repeated twice per week. Start with one set of each exercise and work up to two or three. The entire routine should take no more than twenty or thirty minutes - tops. This will leave you plenty of time for your fat-burning cardiovascular exercise.

Brisk walking, jogging or biking two or three days each week should do the trick. Depending upon your goals and fitness level, cardio can be handled with short and intense activities like running and jumping rope, or with gentler and longer brisk walks, bike rides or even hiking.

The combination of resistance and cardiovascular exercise will leave your metabolism revved up and burning fat like you never thought possible. Once you start seeing results, you can apply the specific makeover tweaks (see chart below). I�ll list the five most common issues people seem to have, based on thousands of clients I�ve worked with.

Remember to never totally abandon your full body program. If necessary, make specific adjustments that include some or all of the following suggestions.

Complaint # 1
The back of my arms are flabby, preventing me from going sleeveless.

Be sure to continue with your bench press, or you can substitute with push-ups. To increase the effect on the area in question, narrow your grip on the bar, work with hands closer together doing push ups.

Bench Dips or Tricep Kickbacks

Complaint # 2
I�ve lost a lot of weight (either following a pregnancy or obesity) but can�t get rid of my belly fat.

Sometimes you just need to crank up the cardio with longer, faster, or more frequent sessions. Unfortunately, when it comes to stretched-out skin, exercise has some limitations.

Bike kicks and crunches, if done correctly, can deliver rock hard abs with very few reps and sets.

Complaint # 3
My hips, my hips, my hips! No matter how hard I exercise I can�t reduce the size of my butt.

In the gym, stay with a moderate weight and high repetitions on all your lower body exercises. Cardio should be long and gentle versus short and intense to avoid more growth here. If necessary, increase your amount of weekly cardio.

Some people will store their fat almost exclusively on their hips, and your upper body will look thin before the lower body gives up the fat. Increase upper body and core focus in the gym.

Complaint # 4
I have no trouble keeping myself lean and trim, but can�t firm, tone or develop my chest.

If you�re satisfied with your overall fitness and body fat levels, but just want to fill out that suit jacket, you�ll need to keep cardio and lower-body work to minimum, while you focus on building pecs.

The push up is the best overall upper body exercise � period. Its effect on your chest is legendary, and can be added to, or in and of itself become your entire chest routine. Form is king, and slow controlled repetitions will produce dramatic results.

Complaint # 5
My thighs are riddled with cellulite. Help!

Cellulite is largely fat deposits that are poking out between underdeveloped muscle fibers. Two simple solutions are to burn the fat and tone the muscle. Be sure you stick to a common sense diet, because no amount of exercise can overcome a diet that riddled with fats and refined sugars.

Lunges attack the thighs, and there are at least a dozen variations. In addition to the traditional lunge, I like the lunge walk, where you literally walk around the gym or apartment in a lunging fashion.

Stay tuned for more makeover tweaks coming soon!

Captain, Author, Fitness Pro Mike Stefano MICHAEL STEFANO is the creator and author of the Firefighter's Workout (Harper Collins 2000). Mr. Stefano is a health and fitness writer and contributor to eDiets, eFitness, & Firehouse.Com. In addition, Michael's articles have appeared on AOL, MSN, and Yahoo! His workouts have been featured in magazine and newspapers from around the country, as well as in numerous network and cable TV segments. He also offers a customized version of his amazing program, via a comprehensive 15-point fitness profile form.

"My program is a no-nonsense approach to exercise and weight loss that will not only get you fit, but will also fit into your life".


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