The body part most people are most concerned about is their stomach, midsection, pooch, or whatever you want to call it. One of the biggest reasons that people are so often frustrated with their lack of progress in trimming their middle is that they’re usually acting on bad information.
The Truth About Trimming Your Middle
The #1 biggest myth when it comes to getting a hot core is the idea that time spent on crunches and crunch like exercises will do anything for you. Crunches are a waste of time because they don’t effectively address the real issue with your midsection – there’s just too much fat on top of the muscles. Everyone, even someone who is 5 feet tall and 400 pounds, has a 6-pack. That is just how those muscles are shaped. You can’t sculpt anything about them; all you can do is reveal them.
Revealing the natural shape of your muscles (a.k.a. toning) is about two things: losing fat and not losing muscle in the process (and possibly gaining some as well). Crunches and crunch like exercises target too little muscle mass to do much to stimulate your metabolism and shed any fat, and there is no such thing as spot reduction. Body fat is like a bathtub full of water. If you scoop out a big cup of water you are not left with a hole in the middle of the water, the entire level of the tub goes down everywhere. The same is true with our body fat – we lose is systemically not in isolated spots. Sure everyone has their “first on, last off” spot, but the process of losing fat is systemic, not spot-based.
The photo above is me, Josef Brandenburg, one of my mentors Rachel, and my friend Tom. None of us do crunches. None of us do anything that even looks like a crunch, because we don’t want back pain. We do lift heavy weights, eat a lot of protein, and we all do Bulgarian Split Squats for our abs.
This is how you lose fat, and then set yourself up to keep that fat off your body. (In my opinion the most important part of a fat-loss program is the maintenance. Everyone has lost fat before, but 98% of those people have regained it all and usually more.)
#1. Eat better – you can’t out-train a bad diet unless you’re a teenage boy (and even then, sometimes you can’t). If you workout hard and eat poorly you will literally have nothing to show for it. However, if you workout smart, eat well, and consume a healthy amount of calories for your body and goals, you can double the results you’d get from diet alone and make the maintenance period easier.
#2. Do strength training – strength training will deliver the highest rewards per minute invested when it comes to looking better naked. Chose compound exercises like inverted rows instead of bicep curls because they work more muscle mass at once and will have a greater impact on your metabolism.
#3. Do interval training – alternating short and intense periods of something like hill sprints with something that allows you to catch your breath (walking) can help you shed fat 450% fast in less than half the time of a traditional “cardio” workout.
#4. Do better core training – crunches are dangerous and not very effective. Planks, farmer walks, and heavy lifting are far more effective and safer.
#5. Do some other stuff – please note that “other stuff” is the last thing on this list, and that means it is the least important thing because the results from this category (walking, random activity) are the smallest. Ironically, it is also, potentially the most time consuming and the place where most people start their quest for a better body. This stuff is nice, relaxing and helps to break up a day of sitting, but please don’t kid yourself by thinking you’ll walk your way to a hot stomach.
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