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Sunday, January 8, 2012

The Truth about Flat Abs

Over the years, I have had students come to me with that one problem spot: How do I get rid of the belly pooch? I eat right, I do all the ab exercises and I still don't have the flat abs that I want. (Well, I'm right there with you! I got more in my belly than I like too!)

But....what to do? Well, let's dispel some myths: It is still showing up on the magazine covers: "Blast that belly fat with 5 exercises a day!" or "Eat this one vegetable and watch your belly fat melt!" etc. You cannot work on one area in your body and make it thinner. It's called the "spot reduction" myth and it has been around forever. Having said that, what can you do to obtain the best abs possible? You probably already know the answer:

Cardio Exercise Regularly (5-6 times a week)
Strength Training (for the whole body)
Eat Healthy (unprocessed, nutrient dense foods)

There is nothing wrong with body sculpting (or strength training) to get well defined muscles. However, in order to see those muscles, you must reduce that fat around them. Cardio exercise and strength training will help reduce the fat by revving up your metabolism. Cardio (running, swimming,dancing, biking, etc) helps you burn more calories, even hours after you are done working out. Strength training (that is lifting weights) builds muscle  - and guess what? The more muscle you have, the more calories your body needs to maintain that muscle. So it just makes sense that you will be able to burn fat.
Reducing your calorie intake is the third element. Keep track of what you eat by writing it down or use one of the online fitness trackers, like www.myfitnesspal.com. Make sure as you reduce your intake that you pick nutrient dense, whole foods.

So one more thing about those abs. Most of us will never see those six-pack abs. Chances are you would have to be unhealthy thin in order to come close. Genetics play a role in what shape our body is. I, for one, have always been curvy - even when I was in my 20s. Be healthy, but embrace the fact that (and to quote Lady GaGa)...Baby, You Were Born this Way!!














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