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8 Minutes in the Morning to a Flat Belly
by Jorge Cruise
2004

Is it possible to lose weight and get a good abdominal workout without crunches? It certainly is, and Jorge Cruise has developed a whole fitness program that targets the abs without including one crunch. 8 Minutes in the Morning to a Flat Belly is a lot more than just ab exercises, however - it's a daily exercise and diet program that will get fitness novices off to a great start.

Cruise's program includes just eight minutes a day of exercise - actually it's really closer to ten or so when you include the quick warm-up and ending stretches. While just a few minutes of exercise won't turn you into a muscleman or a finely toned bathing beauty, it's easy to make a commitment to do it, and commitment is the most important part of any fitness program. And as simple as they are, these mini-workouts are based on a solid foundation - they start off easy and become more challenging as the weeks go by, and you work different body parts on different days (the ab workouts are Monday, Wednesday and Friday - upper body is done on Tuesdays and lower body is Thursday). Cruise points out that you need to build muscle overall to reduce fat, and the less fat you have, the more you will be able to see the abs you are developing. To do the workouts, you will need a Stability, or Swiss ball, and a weighted medicine ball - both are good workout tools to own. Most of the exercises rely on body weight for resistance - you don't even need a set of dumbbells.

The eating plan is equally uncomplicated. It's based around dividing a 9-inch dinner plate into 4 equal parts - 2 parts (or half the plate) for vegetables and fruit, a quarter plate for protein and a quarter plate for starchy carbs, plus a teaspoon of added fat. There's no complicated carb or calorie counting. It's really just wholesome, sensible eating, and Cruise gives you a list of suggested foods, including snacks and treats, to make meal planning a simple task.

In addition to the dietary and workout plans, Cruise emphasizes visualization and affirmations, and suggests building a group of friends and family who are supportive of your resolve to lose weight. He recognizes that the emotions play a big part in weight loss and fitness, and addresses this issue throughout the book. This is especially good for beginners, who must learn how to deal with such obstacles. Cruise makes the whole process easy to understand, and easy to do.

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