One of the body parts that most people obsess over would most definitely be the belly; it ideally should be flat, toned, and a six pack wouldn’t hurt either. And if possible, it should look taut and toned before the start of bikini season! The goal is clear – but getting there can be a bit of a struggle.
The approach I have most often observed over the last few years of my career is endless crunches and sit-ups. There are a few issues with this though:
- The abdominus rectus, is a small muscle and it alone will not have the power to burn the fat that’s covering it.
- The abdominal muscles are fast relaxing muscles – this means you have to work them much harder in order to achieve any effect.
- In order to see your abdominal muscles, you have to get rid of the fat from all over your body – this means you have to strengthen all muscles in your body, especially the large muscle groups, as they will be the ones that will burn the fat, even while you are sleeping. The more muscle, the higher the metabolism, and the more energy your body will need, which leads to the next point.
- Exercise is only one small part – you have to look at your diet too. At the end of the day, you have to eat less than your body needs so that it can start using your fat depots. Once your belly fat is gone THEN you will start to see the effort you put into training this little muscle with sit-ups. Of course you need to provide your body with the right building blocks to build up muscles too.
- Aside from crunches and sit-ups, there are many other exercises that work great on your belly and also other muscles as well – like planks and various TRX moves. I would say they are even more effective than crunches.
So if your goal is a flat tummy, see this project from a more holistic view.
- Start with whole body strengthening instead of only focusing on your tummy and doing crunches. Functional training exercises are great as you use many muscles at the same time.
- When it comes to cardio, go for interval training as this helps you to burn a great amount of calories.
- Look at your diet – what are you actually putting into your body? Are you giving your body the nutrients it needs? The proteins to build up muscles? The healthy fats to build up cells?
These will bring you onto the right track and closer to your flat tummy dream. Your midriff will not only look better, it will also help prevent back pain as the abs support a good posture and the lower back. And as always, it’s all about balance so don’t forget to train your lower back too!