Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Mythbusters: Keep crunching to lose that spare tire

Crunches are great.
They are. They are great in the right doses, that is. I laugh a little bit inside/(feel bad and want to shake some sense in to people) when I see them doing countless reps of crunches, believing that is going to get ride of that plush midsection they've acquired. If only it were that easy.
The TRUTH of the matter?
Doing crunches all day is NOT going to get ride of your belly fat. Doing crunches alone won't burn enough calories to get rid of the fat you're storing.

What will get rid of that excess fat around your waistline that we all hate?
A combination of a few things...

1. Increase your cardio. You have to burn off the fat that is being stored on your body. When you lose weight you lose it all over. Because you can't specifically target one area for fat loss, you need to do enough cardio to lose the excess weight from allover, and in doing so losing it from your trouble areas as well. Cardiovascular exercise is the best way to do that. If you want to lose weight you have to create a caloric deficit, meaning you're burning more calories throughout the day than you are eating. Burning off excess calories is a great way to do that. If you are serious about dropping the LB's I'd recommend 60 mins of cardiovascular exercise 4-5 times a week.

2. Watch your diet. Here is another place where you can create that caloric deficit. If you aren't a calorie counter, cut out the junk foods. Cut out the snacks, and the extras. Try writing down your food to see if you're overdoing it. Make quality food choices. Eat foods closest to their natural form. Pack your meals with whole grains, fresh fruits and veggies, and lean protein. Cut down on the carbohydrates, limiting it to about 4-5 servings of carbohydrates per day. Try to cut out the fats and sugars from your food choices. All of these little decisions can make a big impact.

3. Include strength training in your regimen. Building muscle on your body increases the amount of calories your body is burning all the time. The more muscle you have the more calories you burn. It's a math thing. You won't become bulky. That is the number one concern I hear, and I can promise you. Weightlifting will actually make you drop inches, and become more condensed. Compact, in a sense. Women don't have the same genetic makeup as men, and because we lack the hormone Testosterone, we don't physically have the ability to become large and muscular like men.

4. Make all your training core training. You can strengthen your core and abs in everything you do. Balance on one foot while doing bicep curls. Do a plank in between every exercise you do. Incorporate core specific exercises into your daily workout routines. Include some abs and crunches in as well, but if you're working your core all the time you won't need to be doing a million sets of crunches.

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