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Rev It Up: 4 Metabolism Boosters

The process of losing weight after pregnancy can seem especially slow, particularly since it's tough to find the time for calorie-burning aerobics with a new baby around.

A time-efficient way to get your body to burn calories is to strength-train. "You can get a lot done in twenty minutes, three times a week," says Susan Harris, fitness expert and mother of four in Charleston, SC. (Check with your doctor before starting any workout.)

Harris recommends the following strength-training moves, using 3- to 5-pound hand weights. Try to do them when you're already warmed up -- say, after you've taken a walk with the baby -- and stretch afterward. Do one set of 12 to 16 repetitions for each move, working up to two sets of each. When that becomes easy, increase the amount of the hand weight.


Target: Mid-back
Starting Position:
Hold a dumbbell in your left hand and stand with your left foot on the floor and your right knee on a bench or chair. Place your right hand in front of your right knee on the bench to support your weight; the weight in your left hand should be directly beneath your shoulder.
The Move:
Bend your left elbow and bring the weight up to chest level. Slowly lower; repeat. Switch sides.


Target: Shoulders and arms
Starting Position:
Sit in a chair with your feet flat on the floor, hip-width apart. Holding a dumbbell in each hand, bend your elbows and bring the weights in line with your shoulders, palms facing each other.
The Move:
Extend your arms straight up, raising the dumbbells over your head and slightly back, so that your arms are next to your ears. Slowly lower; repeat.


Target: Triceps and chest
Starting Position:
Get down on your hands and knees, then move your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Make sure that your back and head are in alignment. Cross your ankles.
The Move:
Pull in your abdominal muscles, bend your elbows, and lower your upper body down to one or two inches above the floor. Push yourself back up; repeat.


Target: Butt, thighs, and hips
Starting Position:
Stand with your feet slightly more than hip-distance apart. Holding a dumbbell in each hand, gently rest the weights on your shoulders. (If this is too difficult, try resting the weights across your thighs.)
The Move:
Keeping your back straight, press your heels down into the floor, pull in your abdominal muscles, and squat down as if you were going to sit in a chair, leaning forward a bit. Come up slowly; repeat.