By Amelia Santaniello

By Amelia Santaniello, WCCO-TV

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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — No matter how much snow just fell, the calendar says swimsuit season is just around the corner. Still, for many of us, that also starts a countdown to get our bodies back in swimsuit shape.

So, WCCO’s Amelia Santaniello took one for the team, hit the gym and found three key exercises you can do at home. And even a way to check your diet, to send those saddlebags packing.

No matter how hard we work and how hard we sweat, it seems like all of us have one spot where we worry about the fat.

And for many women, it’s the area between the hip and thigh, an area some folks call “saddlebags.”

Even the fittest women carry a little bit of fat in that area. Even when they don’t, they’re worried about it.  So that’s why we turned to an expert for some help.

Dee Burton is a personal trainer at The Firm in Minneapolis where she showed Santaniello how to get the most out of the hip abductor machine. Instead of sitting with her back resting on the chair, she had her sit straight and tighten her core.

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Burton also showed Santaniello three excellent exercises that you can do at home — starting with the wall squat hold.

With your back braced against the wall, you put yourself in a sitting position. Burton said you can add difficulty by lifting your heels off the ground.

The next exercise is the stationary lunge, and the advanced version, pushing off with your back leg.

And then something Burton calls high plank with hip abduction. Santaniello called it killer.

Burton pointed out that training one area isn’t as effective as working larger muscle groups.

And the folks at The Firm say nutrition is the key to everything. They recommend keeping a food diary and shooting for a 40-40-20 mix. That’s 40 percent carbohydrates, 40 percent protein and 20 percent fat.

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There are even phone apps available to help you track those stats.

Amelia Santaniello