Drop 2 Pounds This Week

As part of our 13th annual Challenge, we've created quick, fun ways to peel off pounds without getting woozy from starving yourself or spending your life at the gym. The key is to get your heart pounding so you lose the poundage.

Want to shed some weight without the headache of calorie counting, measuring portions or giving up your fun foods? I did! And now it's your turn, by trying what has been working for more than a million other women: the SELF Challenge. As part of our 13th annual Challenge, we've created quick, fun ways to peel off pounds without getting woozy from starving yourself or spending your life at the gym. The key is to get your heart pounding so you lose the poundage.

Here’s the deal: Decide whether you want to lose 2 pounds a week or less (that may sound slow, but you can drop a size in a month this way and keep it off). Follow our free, easy eating plan and try to burn 500 calories per day for a total of 3,500 a week. Those shooting to lose a pound a week should aim to sizzle 250 calories per day (and 1,750 a week). To maintain your weight, focus on daily sweat sessions that burn 100 calories a day (or 700 calories off per week).

Whatever your goal, choose from the following workouts. (Pay attention to the effort level, using a scale from 1 to 10, where 1 is watching TV and 10 is installing a 100-pound plasma screen on the wall.) The smartest, most effective route to lasting weight loss is through exercise, so no matter which mix of workouts you choose, expect to see results within two weeks.

Activities to burn 500 calories:
• Walk 40 minutes at a level 8 on a hilly course (or crank up the incline on the treadmill).
• Do 36 minutes of running intervals: Jog for 1 minute at a level 5, sprint 1 minute at a level 9. Repeat 18 times.
• Take a 45-minute Spinning class.
• Dance to a good beat for 72 minutes at a level 7.
• Hit the elliptical machine for 60 minutes, doing intervals. Do 2 minutes at a level 8, then 1 minute at a level 5. Repeat 20 times.
• Swim freestyle for 50 minutes at a level 8.
• Use the rowing machine for 40 minutes, doing intervals: Go 8 minutes at a level 8, then 2 minutes at a level 4. Repeat 4 times.

Activities to burn 250 calories:
• Walk for 35 minutes at a level 7.
• Run for 20 minutes at a level 7.
• Bike for 30 minutes at a level 5.
• Dance for 50 minutes at a level 4.
• Hit the elliptical machine for 30 minutes at a level 8.
• Swim freestyle for 25 minutes at a level 8.
• Use the rowing machine for 28 minutes at a level 8.

Activities to burn 100 calories:
• Walk for 25 minutes at a level 4.
• Run for 12 minutes at a level 4.
• Bike for 17 minutes at a level 4.
• Dance for 20 minutes at a level 4.
• Hit the elliptical machine for 15 minutes at a level 5.
• Swim freestyle for 15 minutes at a level 5.
• Use the rowing machine for 25 minutes at a level 5.

Want to firm up while you're slimming down? Add in this toning routine, developed by our fitness director, certified trainer Meaghan B. Murphy, twice a week. Or try this flat-belly bonus video.

Good luck!

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