Question: I'm 49, relatively new to working out and have been heading to Snap 5 mornings a week, doing an hour of cardio on one of the bikes, on an empty stomach, followed by weights. I rotate different muscle groups. I have lost a good amount of inches in 3 months, but can't seem to whittle my upper thighs nor tighten up my butt. Any thoughts on what I can do better?
Answer: Sounds like you are doing well but it is time to change things up. There are a couple different things you can do to mix up your workout and break through your plateaus. First, your body needs carbohydrates as an energy source to use as fuel. Think of it as gas for a car. I would recommend getting some simple carbohydrates in your system about 30 minutes prior to your workout. You could eat some type of fruit or drink some juice. If you keep the portion small such as one small glass of juice, it will give you the energy needed for exercise and allow your body to burn calories more efficiently. The second thing I would recommend is doing your weight training before your cardiovascular exercise. Here is the order of operations- Small glass of juice (about 150 calories) 30 minutes prior to workout, 5 minute warm-up on the bike, complete your 30 minute weight training workout, and finish with your hour of cardio at the end. Your body will use up the energy from the juice during the weight training and elevate your heart rate prior to your cardio workout. Since your heart rate is elevated when you begin cardio you can probably get away with 45 minutes at the end instead of an hour. It is all about efficiency!
To answer your question about the legs and glutes you have to look at two different things. First, you are going to continue to burn fat through cardiovascular exercise and that will eventually begin taking off the inches in these areas. More importantly, there are a few different exercises that target these areas. I would recommend squats on the smith machine, leg extensions, leg curls, and lunges. If you are limited on time I would focus more on the squats as they tend to hit all of the muscles in the glutes and quadriceps. Overall, it is going to take a combination of weight training and cardiovascular exercise to see results.