Today I wanted to talk to you about one of the oldest fitness myths in the book…
but first… come join us for a free week of group training bootcamp classes! All levels welcome!
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Okay now…onto one of the biggest myths!
Look, a tight lean stomach is the ultimate sign of a fitness plan that’s working, but it’s also one of the hardest things to achieve.
Maybe you’ve given up on your abs after doing thousands of crunches only to see zero results. I honestly don’t blame you.
It’s time that you forget everything you’ve heard about how to “sculpt lean abs.” The truth is that crunches simply won’t give you a six-pack. Ever. Period.
Doing crunches with the hope that it will turn your midsection into a washboard is to operate under the most widely held fitness myth. I’m talking about the “spot reducing” myth. Here’s the truth: training one area of your body will not specifically burn fat from that area.
Even those who have heard that spot reducing is a myth often still train as if it is true. So here’s the hard truth that you need to face: Doing crunches will not magically make your tummy shrink, it will not cause your muffin top to melt away, and it will not give you washboard abs.
Only a reduction in overall body fat will do that for you.
So do you want the “secret” to great abs? Here it is (it’s not really a secret):
Focus on building a better metabolism (i.e. more lean muscle) all over your body (not just the areas you want to “tone”); add in high intensity interval training HIIT cardio, and the king of tips for a tight midsection….EAT CLEAN!
It is very possible for you to dramatically shape up your midsection. Yes, I’m talking to Y-O-U. Healthy fat loss and a great body is not reserved only for the people you see on the TV or in magazines or on exercise equipment infomercials. You can do it too! (and with less make-up, lighting, tanning, and photoshop haha!)
First, let’s determine if your current routine is getting you closer to that lean stomach or if you have simply been burning time.
Answer the following two questions to find out…
How many times per week do you exercise?
If you answered with anything less than 4 rigorous hours per week of resistance based training then that’s the first thing getting between you and streamline abs.
What is a fat burning workout? A routine that incorporates intense cardiovascular training with challenging resistance training.
Does this describe what you do? If not, make the change.
I’m sorry to be the one to break this to you but walking on the treadmill for 30 minutes at a comfortable pace isn’t a fat blasting routine. Neither is a leisurely, not-a-drop-of-sweat 20 minutes on the elliptical machine. The truth is that exercising smart allows you to dramatically increase your results while spending less time in the gym.
What kind of exercise do you do?
Resistance/weight training is the most vital part to a workout that burns fat over time and builds a better metabolism and body. This means working your major muscle groups against resistance in a way that challenges you heavily. The key here is to find the right intensity and never repeat the same routine for more than 3 weeks. Also, you must focus on increasing the weight you use periodically. At least by 1 rep, 1 set, or a few more pounds lifted per week. If you fail to do this you won’t see the results you are looking for.
Cardio exercise is important, but it is often overexploited due to its ease of implementation. Always pick resistance training over cardio if you have to pick. Whether your goal is fat loss or muscle development or both; pick the weights.
Cardio is most beneficial when done at an effective level of intensity. This doesn’t mean that you should be gasping for air. It does mean that you need to dig down and push yourself. Every time.
Do you eat clean?
Diet is the number one reason that most people don’t have great abs. If your diet is out of control, then your abs will be too. To trim your waist, start by trimming the junk out of your diet, regardless of how hard you exercise.
- Don’t eat too much. Do you know approximately how many calories you eat each day? The best way to find out is to record every single thing that you eat for a few days. Take those numbers and do an evaluation—feel free to recruit me to help out with this part. Together we’ll come up with improvements for your diet and adjust your calories for maximum results.
- Cut out the junk. While this may seem obvious, your definition of “junk food” may need to be updated. Start with anything that contains sugar. Refined sugar is one of the biggest ingredients in the junk food world—it is found in soft drinks, blended coffee drinks, cookies, cakes, packaged snacks, and other sweet treats. Processed fat is another monster to avoid. As a rule of thumb, view all processed or refined items as junk food, and kick them to the curb.
- Eat when hungry. You’ve been told to never let your metabolism “crash” by going hours without eating, but it turns out that all-day snacking may be counter-productive. Instead of trying to schedule meals and snacks for certain times throughout your day go with how your body feels. If you are hungry then have a small, protein-based snack. If you aren’t hungry then don’t force a snack on yourself in the name of fueling your metabolism.
- Only eat foods that look the way they do in nature. So many people cut corners and try to eat pseudo health foods that say “high protein” “low fat” “zero added sugar” or other buzz words that reel them in. The fact of the matter is, if the food you are eating comes in a bag, package, wrapper, can, or box, you aren’t eating whole foods. You are eating some form of a processed food and you will likely not hit your goals. Yes, I am saying you need to eat food that looks the way it does in nature, and actually prepare and cook it! 🙂
Now you know why just crunches and other “targeted core exercises” will not get you the abs of your dreams. While it is important to exercise your abs a couple of times a week, don’t expect fat to fall of that area after thousands of crunches.
If you seriously want to flatten and sculpt your waist then all you have to do is decide that you really want it. Commit to yourself. You deserve it.
If you are struggling to reach your goals, if you need some advice, or you just want a fun new change to your fitness routine, come join us for 1 FREE week of group personal training classes. Click here:
Let’s get you started on a sustainable fitness and nutrition program that will get you on the fast track to your best abs ever!
Talk to you soon!
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