Getting a ‘flat-stomach’!

This is a huge topic with many ramifications, so to give it the attention it requires I’m going to address it over a number of discussions over the next few weeks. This way we can start to put things in place one step at a time, and give you the time to ask any questions you need.

So here it is! I’d love to get your feedback, opinions and further questions on this!

Firstly one thing needs to be clarified. Many people do crunches to reduce the fat around their abdominal area. Fat CANNOT be spot reduced, meaning that you can’t choose where you will lose fat from, even if you focus your exercise (or scrubbing/loofaing) on that specific area. Fat loss is a chemical process that happens from the whole body. 

So you will lose as much fat from your abdominal area from doing crunches as you are from squats. as a matter of fact you will lose more from the same number of squats, as you are using a larger muscle mass, and hence requiring more energy.

It’s worthwhile mentioning that adypose (fat) cells in the abdominal region are more labile. That is, they are typically the first to absorb fat and the first to lose it. But this is due to their chemical/physiological responses and not to the type of exercises we do. This is why we would tend to see guys with relatively lean legs and arms, but with a bulge around the abdominal area. And why women find it harder to lose fat from the stubborn hips and bum area. These fat cells truly are more stubborn!

So, the number one rule to achieving a flat stomach is to get rid of the covering over it! yes, its about becoming leaner. I guess most of us have heard the statement that ‘we’ve all got a six-pack, we just need to show it’. This is largely true. The shape of that six-pack (which is actually an eight-pack, as there are eight visible segments of the rectus abdominis behind its connective tissue) is largely genetically determined, but the leaner you are, the better it will look!

Next week I’m going to post a discussion on some recent and very high quality research that presents very interesting and exciting strategies to help us become leaner in a sustainable and achievable way, so make sure you stay tuned in!

So what should we take away from this weeks discussion: a) start to look at your dietary intake, because therein lies the answer to your ‘six-pack’, and b) spend the time you may have spent on crunches/sit-ups on ‘larger’ whole body exercises, or increasing your energy expenditure (out put) by doing some higher intensity cardio(vascular) exercise, such as fast walking, jogging, cycling, etc. Even a solid gardening session will do the trick! considering the rains we’ve had, and the current sun-shine, I’m sure your lawns could need a bit of attention. If not, I’m happy for you to exercise on mine!!