"Your body needs a healthy balance of exercise and rest. Doing too much prevents the body from shifting excess fat. Exercising without rest can impact our levels of the steroid hormone cortisol and cause an increase of stubborn fat stored in the belly. Not allowing your body to recover can increase the risk of injury too, so make sure you factor in rest days to your plan."
Experiment with the cardio equipment. Treadmills, elliptical machines, stair climbers, rowers, exercise bikes and ladder climbers all have one thing in common -- they burn calories. This, in turn, will promote weight loss in your legs and throughout the rest of your body. Spend five minutes learning how to use each machine and choose the one you like best. Gyms come equipped with jump ropes, which also help burn fat.
Think cooking healthy meals is difficult and time-consuming? Think again. Annie Allen, a postsurgical nurse in Tampa Bay, Florida, let her freezer do half the work for her—and now she's down 52 pounds and runs about 10 races a year. "Frozen vegetables are as nutritious as fresh ones, and in minutes you have half of your meal prepared," she says. These frozen meals are also surprisingly healthy if you don't have time to mix and match one of your own.
While toning your muscles is best achieved through exercise, ditching the fat that’s obscuring them starts in the kitchen. Luckily, one easy way to get the ball rolling on fat loss outside the gym is a habit you probably already have: drinking coffee. Research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reveals that obese study subjects whose diet was supplemented with caffeinated coffee significantly increased their metabolic rate, and subjects of an average weight shed more pounds, too.