Say #ByeFelicia to your belly flab
Love handles, muffin top, belly flab – if you have ‘em, you know how impossible they are to get rid of. Despite the promises from the so-called experts and gurus in the multi-multi-billion-dollar health and fitness industry, however, there are no short-cuts, no magic pills and certainly no one-type-fits-all pathway to tighter abs.
Last week we hit on what to eat and not eat to help the process along. This week we look at an “angrier” way to attack the flab – and you are pissed off about it, right? OK, let’s go.
The fat you can actually see on your body is, unfortunately, not the most worrisome. It’s the gunk that’s hidden – visceral fat – that is responsible for churning out the hormones that tell our bodies to produce insulin. And, if you read our last post, you know how important your insulin tolerance is to weight loss of any type.
That jiggly stuff that you can see (subcutaneous fat) is actually quite harmless. Ugly, yes. But it’s merely an indication of what lies below. And – good news – what lies below is actually easier to whittle away than that blob just under the skin’s surface.
And, crunches don’t work, as well as we’ve been told.
“If you think doing endless crunches is going to reward you with ‘six-pack’ abs, think again,” warns Joseph Mercola, D.O. “When 24 adults did seven abdominal exercises, five days a week for six weeks, they did not lose any belly fat, or fat anywhere on their bodies, for that matter.”
And, the American Council on Exercise agrees, calling crunches “ineffective” ab exercises.
So, what did work?
Aerobic and exercises that involve the larger muscle groups are key to tightening your ab muscles. The former includes anything that increases your heart rate, such as jogging or biking. A Duke University study showed that just 12 miles of pavement (or treadmill) pounding a week will melt that fat that’s hiding your six-pack.
And, although resistance training is a key part of overall physical fitness, aerobic workouts burn nearly 70 percent more calories, so the rest of your soon-to-be-glorious body will benefit as well.
Involve the larger muscle groups
Yoga and Pilates are ideal exercises that target multiple muscle groups and scientific research proves that they work.
Exercise scientists used that same electromyography (EMG) technology they utilized to measure the effectiveness of crunches on a series of Pilates ab exercises. “What we found was that the Pilates maneuvers we tested were significantly more robust than the standard crunch exercise in activating the rectus abdominis and external obliques,” claims Michele Olson, Ph.D., FACSM, C.S.C.S.
Which Pilates moves you ask?
- Double leg stretch – On a scale with 100 being the lowest (where crunches sit), the Pilates double leg stretch scores the highest, at 139 for producing increased deep muscle activity.
- Roll-up – give a 103 percent increase in “the output of the external obliques” over crunches
- Criss-cross – a 310 percent increase
- Teaser – a 266 percent increase
The researchers go on to say that “Although Pilates abdominal exercises provide an ample challenge to the abdominal muscles, they do not ‘’corner the market’’ in isolating the deep abdominal muscles.”
Bring on your favorite Yoga asanas
The research team at Auburn University Montgomery used EMG technology to test several yoga poses and deemed their results “quite impressive,” and up to 54 percent better values than the crunch.
If you suffer from low back pain, the researchers suggest the “stir-the-pot” move, rather than the dolphin plank. You can watch this one in action, here. Be sure to look below the video for the instructions.
Need help quick?
"It's 100 percent possible to see a difference in your abs in one week," Astrid Swan, fitness pro to Hollywood’s A-listers tells Jaclyn Emerick at shape.com. Although intense, the routine involves only 30 minutes of exercise a day. You’ll do cardio, lift weights and perform some Pilates exercises and you can find the routine online at shape.com.
Finally, take heart in the fact that you’re not alone in your quest for the sexiest abs in Vegas. The abdominal exercise machine at health clubs ranks at number six for the most popular activities according to The International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association.
So, pop into The Sweat Store, or visit us online, to check out our latest fabulous yoga wear so you can look amazing while you sweat off that flab.