Lie on your stomach with your forehead down, your pubis anchored to the mat, and your inner thighs pressed tightly together. Your arms should be stretched forward with your palms down, and your feet should be pointed. Lift your arms, legs, chest, and head up on one count, and hold (A). Inhale and exhale normally as you alternate lifting right arm/left leg (B) and left arm/right leg (C) without touching them down to the mat. Count slowly from 1 to 10 as you swim, lifting higher and reaching longer with each progressive count. Sit back on your heels for a counter-stretch in your lower back, if needed.

Yes, you lose weight when you cut calories, but pounds lost aren’t always fat. Some of your weight loss may also come from muscle tissue. Cyclists that diet often end up thinner, but risk becoming slower and weaker on the bike. As pioneering diet expert Covert Bailey once wrote, “When someone says that they lost 20 pounds, the key question is: 20 pounds of what?” Some dieters can end up having a higher percentage of body fat even as they lose weight. And don’t forget that muscle burns calories. The more muscle volume you have, the more calories your body can burn—even when you’re just lying on the couch.

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