Do you have a little extra padding around your middle that you’ve been trying to shed? Do you yearn for a set of six-pack abs? Have you tried countless abdominal exercises to no avail? There’s a common myth out there that performing an endless number of crunches or other abdominal moves will help you finally get rid of your belly fat. But it’s just that: a myth. There’s one thing you need to do before you will ever see results when it comes to whittling your middle. Keep reading to find out what this secret exercise is.
You’ve probably heard the reports about how belly fat is bad for your health, and can be an instigator in health conditions such as diabetes and even dementia. But aside from all that, belly fat is cosmetically unappealing and downright stubborn: you may feel like it will NEVER go away, despite your efforts and the endless number of hours (and dollars) you’ve spent on ab machines or doing crunches.
The interesting fact is that you cannot lose fat from just one part of your body, like your stomach.
So then, what is the secret for defined abs? Believe it or not, the secret exercise to losing belly fat is not sit-ups or crunches. And even better, you don’t have to have any special exercise equipment to perform it.
The best exercise for your stomach is jogging or any other type of cardio exercise, such as walking, biking, stair-climbing or swimming (just to name a few). It’s true. You have to eliminate that fat layer that your stomach muscles are hidden under before you see any results. And as such, it will not do you any good to target your stomach muscles until you have lost that layer of fat surrounding those muscles.
So, if you have been working hard at sit-ups and crunches and are wondering why you are not getting anywhere, this is likely the reason. The key to a flat stomach is exercising off all of your fat, in addition to a healthy diet.
You do not have to spend a lot of money for a gym membership, nor do you have to exercise every second of every day. You can start slow, and up your intensity as you go along.
For instance, start walking or jogging for 20 minutes 3 times a week, and work up to 30-40 minutes 4-5 times a week. Exercises such as these will increase your heart rate, as well as boost your metabolism. Boosting your metabolism will help your body burn excess calories and help eliminate the fat all over your body.
You can even incorporate exercise into your daily routine. Whether you are dancing around the living room with your kids, doing housework, or walking the dog, as long as you’re moving and elevating your heart rate, it counts. The important thing is to do a variety of cardio exercises that you enjoy and want to keep doing!
Are crunches a waste of time? Don’t worry . . . all those crunches and sit-ups you’ve spent years doing are not a waste. You can continue to strengthen your abdominal muscles while losing the belly fat. Here are a few abdominal exercises that zero in on your effort for defined abs:
- The Plank: Lie face down on a mat, resting on your forearms with your palms flat on the floor. Push off the floor, raising up onto toes and resting on your elbows. Keep your back flat in a straight line from your head to your heels. Tilt your pelvis and contract your abdominals to keep your rear end from sticking up into the air. Hold for 20 to 60 seconds and repeat 3 to 5 times.
- The Plank with Leg: Start in the plank position with your forearms and toes on the floor. Keep your leg straight with your toe flexed. Raise one leg about five inches off the floor. Hold for 1 to 2 seconds and lower slowly to the floor. Switch legs and do 2 to 3 sets of 10 reps.
- The Reverse Crunch: Lie down on your back. Your knees should be bent and feet on the floor. Put your hands on the floor or behind your head. Bring up your knees towards your chest at about a 90 degree angle. Contract your abs and lift up your hips off of the floor. Lower down and repeat. Work up to 3 sets of 20 reps.
- Pelvic Tilts: To do a pelvic tilt, lie on your back on the floor with your knees bent. Straighten your back against the floor by tightening your abdominal muscles and bending your pelvis. Hold for 5 to 10 seconds; try to work up to 20 reps.
- Pelvic Lifts: Lie on your back with your knees bent up toward your chest and your arms relaxed to your side. Tighten your lower abdomen and lift your buttocks up off the floor. Your knees should be aimed towards the ceiling. Hold for 5 to 10 seconds and work up to 20 reps.
Remember, you must get rid of the fat layer before you will see results. But if you’re intent on achieving a six-pack stomach, it can be done!