Reviewed by Varnada Karriem-Norwood on December 12, 2011


Richard Weil, MEd, CDE. Dori Rici, Master Personal Trainer. WebMD Weight Loss Clinic Feature: "Make the Most of Your Metabolism."

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Video Transcript

Narrator: It's always here before you know it—swimsuit season. And suddenly you've run out of time to look like this..or that. Or even this. But certainly not that.

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Narrator: All those spots that gained prominence over the winter—flabby inner thighs, saggy underarms, loose guts and love handles... With enough effort at the right machines, you can whip that flab into shape, right? Wrong.

Dori Ricci: You can't make any area of your body smaller by working out that particular area. It doesn't work that way. It's 2 different tissues. Fat doesn't turn into muscle and muscle doesn't turn into fat.

Narrator: Fat is stored in special cells called adipocytes that swell when you feed them more calories than you use. They're located all over the body, and depending on your genes, you have anywhere from 25 billion to 275 billion of them. Most of us average around 30-35 billion. Exercise stimulates adipocytes to release the stored fat, and while it would be nice to say burn it off my gut and thighs, please, unfortunately, that's not always the first to go.

Dori Ricci: Usually it's in the upper body, the arms, the neck, the shoulders. And then it's the ankles and lower leg first.

Narrator: And unfortunately for many of us, it's often fat in the abs, hips, thighs, and buttocks that leaves last, if it goes at all. So what to do?

Dori Ricci: If you want to lose weight, you probably want to do cardiovascular exercise 4-5 times a week I'd say, for at least 30 minutes. You wanna work every muscle in your body once a week to fatigue. And you also want to have a healthy diet.

Narrator: Aerobic exercise encourages our fat cells to release lots of fat. Choose what motivates you—jogging, swimming, cycling, one of the cardio machines at the gym or an exercise class.

Narrator: Interval training is a great choice for fat burn. The combination of high intensity and low intensity exercise stimulates and speeds up the metabolism.

Dori Ricci: It's the best way to get the maximum amount of benefit in the least amount of time, because you're going to get your cardiovascular exercise at the same time that you're gonna get your weight training.

Narrator: Weight training is key because it's a super way to speed up the metabolism. Muscle burns more calories than fat and jumpstarts your metabolism for hours after you're finished your workout.

Dori Ricci: The more muscle you have, the more calories you burn, even at rest.

Narrator: For exercises to help you do that, check out our Gym Smarts videos.

: Curl the bar upward...

Narrator: And don't forget—you don't have to look like this to be looking good. After all, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. For WebMD, I'm Sandee LaMotte.