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ARE ABDOMINAL EXERCISES EFFECTIVE IF I WANT TO LOSE FAT AROUND MY STOMACH?

Written By Camilla Akerberg 13 Nov 2018
ARE ABDOMINAL EXERCISES EFFECTIVE IF I WANT TO LOSE FAT AROUND MY STOMACH?

We all have a six pack, but for most of us, your abdominals are hidden under a layer of fat. If your goal is to tone up your tummy you need to understand that you cannot spot reduce fat from around your abs and you need to work towards overall fat loss. You do not need to do hundreds of crunches and sit-ups to show off your abs! This is not the most effective way to tone your core or shred the fat around your belly.

These three steps are the secret to great abs:

 

STEP 1: Clean up your diet- Abs are made in the kitchen!

To burn fat, you need to be in a calorie deficit- meaning you need to consume less calories than what you use in a day. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t eat, but eat healthy foods in the right amount. Here are some foods you should have in your diet:
  • Make sure you eat enough protein

Eating protein promotes fat loss as it’s the most thermogenic macronutrient, meaning that you use the most energy to break it down in comparison to the other macronutrients. Protein also help you build lean muscle mass as it promotes your protein synthesis and it can help you control your blood sugar levels and help with bad food cravings.
  • Consume healthy Fats

Make sure you obtain lots of healthy fats from your diet. It sounds strange- but good fats will help you lose fat! It will also help you build lean muscle mass, aid with memory function, support a healthy immune system, help with feeling fuller for longer and minimize damage from free radicals in the body. Some healthy sources of healthy fats include: Almonds, Walnuts, Avocado, Flaxseed oil, Salmon
  • Chose high fibre carbohydrates

Fibre helps keep your gut health in control. Fibre also helps you keep fuller for longer which will help you manage your food intake. Also, more calories are needed to burn high fibre foods than low fibre ones. Get your fibre from colourful salads, fresh fruits and berries, roasted vegetables, beans, wholegrain products etc.
  • Take a probiotic.

Making gut health a priority will greatly aid you with your fat loss goal. A probiotic with its benefical gut bacteria will support several processes that directly impact weight loss, including enhancing your metabolism.
  • Drink enough water

Drinking enough water will keep you boost your metabolism, hydrated, helps flush out waste such as sodium to help retain water and prevent bloating and acts as an appetite suppressant. Increase water intake when it’s hot and when you are exercising.

  • Don’t avoid eating all together!

To lose fat you still need to eat enough food or your body will go into survival mode and hold on to fat. But you need to eat the right type of foods. Eat as much fresh food as possible and limit empty calories that are low in nutrients. Processed foods, junk foods and added sugar in your diet should be limited in your diet. These types of carbohydrates result in high blood sugars spikes which in surplus can lead to conversion into excess body fat. Alcohol should also be consumed in moderation- it stimulates your hunger and inhibits your body to break down and digest nutrients in your foods effectively.

 

Step 2: Train according to your goal- Burn off the layer of fat to see the abs

Cleaning up your diet really is a key to showing off your abs, but training play a role too. Combine lifting weights to tone up and lose weight with some cardio conditioning for sustainable results! Remember that the more lean muscle you have on your body, the more calories you can burn at rest. This is the reason why balancing out your cardio with strength training is the best for amazing results!

  • For your weight sessions;

Focus on a lot of big, compound movements and keep your rest periods shorter to pick up your heart rate. Remember to keep the weights heavy enough to obtain good lean muscle mass results. A weight where you can just finish 8-12 reps of the specific exercise is ideal for hypertrophy.

  • Lead an active lifestyle and try and move around a lot;

Go for walks with your friends as a catch up instead of dinners and drinks.

  •  Add in some HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) as part of your cardio conditioning as an effective fat loss strategy;

HIIT is simply working at a high intensity for periods of time, then slowing down the phase for lower intensity intervals. This way of training is great for fat loss due to an after-burn effect, also known as EPOC (Excess Post Oxygen Consumption). Your body will continue burning fat long after your session has finished, so even though the HIIT session is shorter than a steady state cardio session- the fat loss benefits may be greater.

 

Step 3: Train your whole core, not just your abs- to make your abs pop

The foundation to a great set of abs is a strong core, (See my 7 week CORE training program that tagets your whole body but with a core result emphasis)! Your ‘core’ is the midsection of your body. It involves all muscles in your front, in your back and on your sides. The muscles in your core are stabilizers for your entire physique and a vital part to keep strong for a healthy body and to shape the visual aspect of your abs!

Core training can be defined as doing specific exercises to develop and strengthen your midsections stabilizer muscles. This involves a big variety of exercises to target all areas, and not only sit-ups and crunches! Also remember that big compound movements and balancing exercises target your core effectively. Make it a priority to always make sure you engage your core in your exercises to train safer and to get the best results.
 
Weakened core muscles can result in many complications like lower back pain, poor posture, degraded balance or general weakness of the body. Yet another benefit of having variety in your training rather than just doing sit-ups and crunches!


 
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