Americans spend millions of dollars each and every year in the quest for a flat stomach. Right now there are about 200 or more ab exercise devices out there all claiming to give you that coveted flat stomach. You would think that with all of these amazing products being hawked that most people would be walking around with a nice, lean mid-section. But unfortunately, that's not the case. Most, if not all of these products will provide little help as you try to flatten your stomach. That's because these exercise contraptions simply can't remove the layer of fat that lies on top of your abs. In order to be successful at thinning your waistline, you have to get a basic under standing of how the abdominal muscles function and how your body burns fat. The first thing that you need to understand is the difference between fat and muscle tissue. Fat is created by eating excess calories and it is primarily stored in layers on top of your muscles. Muscle tissue consists of fibers that contract to produce movement. Fat can't turn into muscle, and muscle can't turn into fat. But you can lose muscle mass while you gain fat. That's what happens to most people, especially as they begin to get a little older. So if your goal is a trim waist line and a nice flat stomach, the first thing you need to do is remove the layers of fat that are sitting on top of your abs. Everyone has a flat stomach. It's just that some of them are covered with excess fat. The most effective way to flatten your stomach is with a combination of strength training (placing an extra focus on the mid-section), cardiovascular exercises (short, intensive workouts), and a stable blood sugar level to keep you from adding even more fat (and it makes it easier for the body to use your body fat for fuel).
1. You have to do some type of progressive strength training. The ab muscle is primarily used to flex your torso forward. But there are also muscles that flex your torso to the side and other muscles that rotate it. Often you will see people on their ab roller every day doing lots of sit-ups or crunches. If you want to effectively strengthen your stomach muscles you need to incorporate these exercises: o 1-2 forward flexion exercises (sit-up, crunch, etc.) o 1-2 side flexion exercises (side crunches, side bends, etc.) o 1-2 rotational exercises (standing twists, trunk rotations, etc.) Your abs are muscles, and just like any other muscles, they should be exercised at most 3 times per week. You also want to make sure you're training them progressively, which means working them harder each time.
2. Increase metabolism using short, and hard, cardio workouts. Cardio workouts are very important because they can, if done properly, increase your metabolism for up to 24 hours or more! This means that you're less likely to store any excess calories as body fat simply because they're more likely to be used up by your higher metabolism. Plus, you're more likely to burn off some excess body fat in the process! Here's a simple interval workout that you can do with just about any activity (bicycling, walking, swimming, etc). o Warm up at an easy pace for 2-5 minutes o Perform 30 seconds of hard exercise (almost as hard as possible) o perform one minute of moderate exercise (recovery time to catch your breath) o Repeat this process from 6-10 times o Cool down at an easy pace for 2-5 minutes
3. Maintaining a stable blood sugar level is the key. Most importantly, you have to stabilize your blood sugar level! This is by far the most important factor when it comes to shedding that excess body fat and keeping it off! To stabilize your blood sugar level you have to feed your body frequently, about every 2-3 hours. The key is to give your body only the amount of food that it needs at that time. Your body burns calories all day long, so why would you only feed it once or twice a day? Give your body the fuel it needs: fruits, whole grains, vegetables, nuts, berries, and lean proteins (fish, lean beef, chicken, eggs, etc). Most people pay too much attention to how much fat is in food, or how healthy a meal is. Calories are calories. It doesn’t matter where they come from. If there’s extra it's going to body fat! I'm not saying that what you eat isn't important because it is. It just doesn’t have all that much of an affect when it comes to losing fat. Make healthy choices whenever possible, but don’t feel like every cheeseburger you eat is guaranteed to be stored as fat.
4. Enlist the help of a professional trainer. Realistically, most people just don’t know enough about their body, nutrition, or effective exercise plans to meet their health and fitness goals. Ask yourself this question, “Am I happy with my current progress or physical condition?” If the answer is no, then you should consider texting me at the Dr.Fitness Help line 904.236.5858
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