According to Michele Olson, professor of exercise science at Auburn University in Auburn, Alabama, lower body fat is much more difficult to lose than fat in the midsection or other areas. The good news is that overweight, pear-shaped women are at a lower risk for health problems than overweight, apple-shaped women. However, it is best to tackle obesity as early as possible to avoid complications later in life. Begin by implementing exercise into your life at least five days a week, and by eating smaller meals. Remember, starvation or extreme food restriction will cause your body to store more fat, so focus on reducing portions but eating steadily during any workout program.
Interval Walking and Jogging
Interval cardio training burns more calories than steady cardio, such as going for a long jog. To incorporate intervals into a cardio workout, simply start at about half your maximum intensity (a brisk walk, for example), and increase your intensity every couple minutes. After you sustain your maximum intensity for a minute or two (a jog or sprint, depending on your fitness level), drop back down to a recovery level at about half-intensity. Repeat this cycle for 20 to 45 minutes, and remember not to strain yourself if you haven’t exercised in a while.
Other Interval Training
You can implement interval training into a variety of cardio activities—running, cycling, elliptical, or swimming. A good way to increase intensity in running or cycling is to add hills to your workout. Because interval training is intense, you may want to alternate interval days with steady cardio days, or alternate interval days with strength training days.
Two or three days a week of weight training can have phenomenal effects on health and physique. Weight training is the only way to change your body shape—while cardio training will help you lose weight, weight training will build lean body mass and balance the shape of your body. For the lower body, light weights and high reps will build lean body mass without “bulking up” your pear shape. For the upper body, Olson recommends a more traditional program—higher weight levels and a lower number of reps.