Have you ever felt as though you were climbing a mountain, only to have difficulty reaching the very top? If you've ever tackled a weight loss journey, you can relate to starting off at a productive pace, then hitting a plateau—or for the mountain scenario, struggling to reach the peak. Whether you're "so close, yet so far" and need to switch things up to lose those last few stubborn pounds, or you're eager to tone your body a bit for holiday events, we're here to help with some excellent advice. We chatted with Jacquie Smith, a certified integrative nutrition health coach from IIN and fitness instructor specializing in barre, yoga, and pre/postnatal workouts, who shares three of the best exercises to lose five pounds. Get excited, because you are very close to reaching your destination!
When your goal is to see your scale drop, it's important to exercise on the regular. But it's also wise to focus on small, productive steps you can incorporate into each day. Every little bit helps! One perfect example includes a study performed by the University of Colorado Denver. The research team advised participants to simply eat 100 fewer calories every day. In doing so, the majority of them actually cut 300 calories daily (via AARP).
The study coauthor James Hill, chair of the Department of Nutrition Sciences at the University of Alabama at Birmingham says, "Losing weight and keeping it off takes some pretty big changes, but small steps are the way to get going." Hill adds, "People do something dramatic that cannot be maintained. But small steps get you going in the right direction."
And what foods are around 100 sneaky calories that you won't really miss? According to Self, you can consider mustard instead of mayo, use one less tablespoon of olive oil, eat kale chips instead of potato chips, or opt for seltzer instead of fruit juice. And of course, an apple is always a better choice than a muffin! You can also consider making time for a walking break each day, since every step counts toward your five-pound weight loss journey. In doing so, you'll reap the rewards of clearing your head with some fresh air.
Now, let's get into the fitness part of the equation with some of Smith's best-recommended exercises to lose five pounds. And next up, don't miss Top-recommended Exercises To Lose 5 Inches of Belly Fat, Trainer Says
Perform this first exercise by positioning your hands and your shoulders, your feet hip-width distance apart, your heels driving back, and your hips in line with your shoulders. Pull your abs in. Hold this for 30 seconds while breathing into your rib cage and breathing out through your mouth. This will further activate your core muscles. Then, rest for 10 seconds. Continue to perform this work and rest cycle for two additional rounds.
Pushup to Downward Dog
Set yourself up for this next movement by placing your hands under your shoulders. Your elbows should drive back and gently touch the sides of your body. You can perform this move on the tops of your thighs (feet together and knees bent) or with your legs out straight.
Then, breathe in as you lower your upper body into a pushup. Breathe out to rise back up. Bring your hips back to assume the downward dog position, keeping your weight equal in your feet and hands. Then, lower back into a plank to perform a pushup. Do 10 reps, and wrap up with four pushups and eight pulses when you reach the halfway point.
This last exercise begins in a plank position. Lower your body down to the mat, and push back up by jumping or stepping your feet outside your hands and bringing your hands off the mat. Explode all the way up as you jump or step up to the sky and clap your hands above your head. Drop down to the starting position to repeat the motion, completing a total of 10 reps.