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Make this the year you get your best body ever

Acquiring your dream body takes time, patience and effort. The watchwords for success and long-term change are “start small.”

There’s no quick fix for getting a lean body. Just as you didn’t get flabby overnight, you aren’t suddenly going to become toned either. Acquiring your dream body takes time, patience and effort.

The watchwords for success and long-term change are “start small.”

“People should just start moving in general — get out, take the car less,” says Fawn Cronin, Boston Sports Clubs’ fitness manager. “Walk those two blocks to the coffee shop. Most people sit all day for work. [You] need to get up and move around every 20 minutes. Take the stairs for a few floors so that you’re getting more cardio.”

The first area to work on is the abdomen. “Always start with the core,” she says. “A strong core is the basis of a fit body. Without a strong core, there’s no support.”

Cronin says people who aren’t used to exercise should expect some discomfort from the effort; however, pain is a cue to stop. “I don’t believe that ‘no pain, no gain’ is the motto today,” she says.

“Approach exercise slowly. Listen to your body. If you feel tightness, adjust. Listening to your body is number one.”

And now that the weather is colder, you’ll likely be tempted to coop up indoors all day. But being active doesn’t require power-hours at the gym. “Even if it’s just to a video game, get up and get moving,” advises Cronin. “There’s so many things you can do around the house, something functional in your everyday life. Just get moving.”

Cronin’s tips

Body-toning exercises to do at home

1. Dumbbell squat into overhead press

Choose weights challenging enough for you to press overhead but light enough to maintain good posture.

Line the heels up with the hips, with the weights in front of your shoulders.

Hinging at the hips, sit back into a squat — simulating a movement that is comparable to sitting into a chair.

Push through the heels to stand while rotating the palms away from the body, and lift the weights into an overhead shoulder press.

2. Push-up into side plank

Position the body into a full plank by placing the palms shoulder-width apart, and the feet in line with the hips.

Lower the body into a push-up, engaging the core and glutes. Press back into the plank position.

From here, shift the weight of the body to one hand and rotate, reaching the other hand upward to bring the body into a side plank.

Return to full plank and repeat on the other side.

3. Reverse lunge with a twist to balance

Begin standing on one leg.

Reach the opposite leg back into a reverse lunge.

Keeping the body straight, bend the legs to lower yourself and reach the opposite elbow to the front knee.

With a tight core, push off the back foot to stand on one leg again and balance.

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