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The Best Weight-Loss Tips from Women Who Make It Their Job to Look Fit

Tips From The Pros

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They grace the covers of your favorite fitness magazines and the photos that fill your Instagram feed (or they help sculpt those enviable bodies)—and now these 12 women are sharing the fat-burning strategies they swear by for sculpting (and maintaining) their photo-worthy physiques. Learn their secrets, then try out Fat-Burning Workout: Tone Up Your Trouble Zones.

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Fat-Burning Tip: Include Circuit Training in Your Routine

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“Circuit training is the best way to build stamina and strength while shedding body fat. Plus, with this approach to training, I can get in and out of the gym in under 45 minutes and get the most benefit in terms of results. It’s important to keep rest time short between sets in order to maximize your workouts.”

Paige Hathaway, fitness entrepreneur and cover model

Photo: Paige Hathaway

Fat-Burning Tip: Keep Up with the Latest in Nutrition Science

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“I’ve made it a point to educate myself about nutrition because I hate ‘rules’ and would rather do research and make decisions on my own, as opposed to feeling restricted or like I’m on a diet. I’ve been playing with intermittent fasting: I now go at least 12 hours without eating—such as 8 p.m. to 8 a.m.—every day, and then twice a week extend those hours slightly to do an 18-hour fast and with a fasted workout in the morning before I eat. Anyone new to intermittent fasting should explore this approach gradually. I saw a major shift in my body fat—not immediately, but about after 3 to 4 weeks.” (Want to know more? Ask the Diet Doctor: The Truth About Intermittent Fasting.)

Chalene Johnson, celebrity fitness trainer, New York Times best-selling author, and creator of PiYo™

Photo: Chalene Johnson

Fat-Burning Tip: Shift Your Mindset

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“My personal journey in the fitness world is all about finding balance. I’m very much an extremist and find myself either going hardcore off of my plan or hardcore on my plan. Through much practice and spiritual help, particularly learning how to meditate, I have gotten out of these extreme cycles. For me, this has been my biggest challenge and change this year, as I firmly believe if your mind isn’t right, your body won’t follow.”

Alexa Tafralis, fitness model and nutrition coach

Photo: Alexa Tafralis

Fat-Burning Tip: Change Your Approach to Cardio

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“Many people still associate fast fat loss with excessive amounts of cardio. Regular strength training is so important for building lean muscle. I’ve also found that mixing up my cardio by throwing in some intervals with bodyweight exercises is a great way to shock the body and challenge myself in a new way. Plus, it’s a lot more fun than spinning away mindlessly on an elliptical for 60 minutes straight.” (Try it! Combine sprints and bodyweight exercises with this 10-Minute HIIT Sprint Workout.)

Jen Jewell, celebrity trainer and fitness magazine cover model

Photo: Jen Jewell

Fat-Burning Tip: Keep Your Diet Simple

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“I’m a fan of eating an unprocessed diet. Natural, real foods are the way to go and, for me, that means a heavily plant-based diet. I don't count calories or eat at scheduled times; instead, I listen to my body and eat whole foods like nuts, fruits, vegetables and meats. I am gluten-free (I‘m celiac, so I need to be), but what people don’t often realize is that simply eating an unprocessed diet means eating gluten-free, since there's no gluten in meat, nuts, fruits, vegetables or fats. If you're eating a lot of natural foods that are good for you, over time, it will result in lower body fat levels.”

Natalie Jill, fitness trainer and creator of 7 Day Jump Start™

Photo: Natalie Jill

Fat-Burning Tip: Get Enough Sleep

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“Getting a solid eight hours of sleep per night not only helps you feel great, but it’s also key to losing weight. Studies show that being tired can lead to eating bigger portions, craving high-carb foods, and snacking late at night. Even worse, lack of sleep impacts the hormones leptin and ghrelin, which signal to your brain when you are hungry and when you are satisfied, leading to increased appetite. Make it a point to get consistent, quality sleep each and every night.” (Find out Why Sleep Is the No. 1 Most Important Thing for a Better Body.)

Dempsey Marks, yoga instructor and personal trainer

Photo: Dempsey Marks

Fat-Burning Tip: Mix Up Your Exercise Routine

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“My workouts are very important to getting the physique I want. My routine consists of weight training three to four times a week, in which I hit every body part, including targeting glutes and legs on two non-consecutive days. I also practice yoga twice a week and do high-intensity interval training (HIIT) one to two times a week for 20 minutes each session.”

Tiffani Bachus, personal trainer, registered dietitian and fitness magazine cover model

Photo: Tiffani Bachus

Fat-Burning Tip: Toss Out Your Meal Plans

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“ I failed miserably following other peoples’ meal plans. The problem is that you are forced to demonize all foods that aren’t on the plan, which can lead to micronutrient deficiencies and also an extremely unhealthy relationship with food. Instead, I prefer flexible dieting, also referred to as ‘If It Fits Your Macros’ (IIFYM). This approach to dieting allows for greater flexibility with your food selection because your focus is on the nutrients rather than a specific food source. With IIFYM I ensure 80 percent of my calories are nutrient-dense, ‘clean foods’ before I factor in any discretionary calories.”

Sara Solomon, personal trainer and retired professional fitness model

Photo: Sara Solomon

Fat-Burning Tip: Commit to Doing Something Active Every Day

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“Let’s face it: We all have days where our minds or bodies (or both!) need a break from our normal exercise routines. I have found it’s essential to still do something active on these days, even if it’s not a structured workout routine. I usually take my dog for a long walk around the neighborhood golf course, go on a hike with friends, or do a fun workout on YouTube at home. Without realizing it, you'll have raised your heart rate for the hour—even if the intensity is lower than you’re used to with your normal workouts—and it helps to beat the flawed idea that if you can’t do it 100 percent, don’t do it at all.” (Turn date night into your workout! See 8 Active Date Ideas That Won't Make You Sweaty.)

June Johnson, certified personal trainer and postnatal training expert

Photo: June Johnson

Fat-Burning Tip: Prep Your Meals Ahead of Time

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“I mostly cook ahead of time and try to make it a habit to carry my food with me wherever I go—it helps keep hunger at bay while keeping my metabolism going and preserving my muscle gains. I personally eat five to six well portioned meals every day. There’s some type of lean protein in every meal and snack, along with lots of veggies and fiber to keep things moving out, complex carbs to ensure I have lasting energy throughout my day and workouts, healthy fats like coconut oil and avocado, and fruits in moderation for their antioxidant goodness that keeps my skin glowing.”

Ana Delia De Iturrondo, fitness model and IFBB bikini pro athlete

Photo: Ana Delia De Iturrondo

Fat-Burning Tip: Work Out First Thing in the Morning

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“I've found that spending just a few minutes first thing in the morning doing stretches and active bodyweight moves is one of the best ways to literally wake up your body. It gets your energy going, blood flowing, and metabolism moving for the day. Your body has been asleep all night, so warm it up and get those muscles working with a simple three to five minute routine. I do my four-minute morning energizer routine every morning and it makes all the difference!”

Amanda Russell, certified personal trainer and YouTube fitness personality

Photo: Amanda Russell

Fat-Burning Tip: Track Your Progress

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“In order to figure out how you can reach your goal, it’s important to establish your baseline and then record and track your progress. I was quite surprised by how many calories I was really eating once I started tracking. I personally love the app LoseIt to track my food intake and exercise.” (Learn about 5 Fun Ways to Use Apple's New iPhone 6 Health App.)

Natalie Minh, fitness cover model and author of The Insider’s Guide to the Business of Fitness Modeling

Photo: Natalie Minh

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