Aug 27th, 2013
Category: Fat Burning
Do Abdominal Exercises Burn Abdominal Fat
Obesity has become a global epidemic over the past few decades. Individuals have begun to add more processed food into their diet while becoming more sedentary. These lifestyle changes have lead to a major increase in overweight individuals, which has amplified numerous health issues. Abdominal fat is one of the highest problem areas resulting from excessive weight gain and obesity; abdominal fat is also known as subcutaneous and visceral fat. Abdominal fat has been linked to coronary heart disease, type 2 diabetes and various other health conditions. Visceral fat appears to adversely affect insulin resistance, high total and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, metabolic syndrome, and glucose intolerance. These diseases all directly correlate to metabolic complications. Therefore, it is advantageous to seek an exercise program or a lifestyle change that results in abdominal fat reduction.
It has been theorized that “spot reduction” is an available means of body fat reduction. Spot reduction focuses on movements and/or exercises that specifically work an area. However, this theory has been proven false over and over again by numerous case studies. Therefore, focusing on abdominal exercises, and abdominal exercises alone, to reduce abdominal fat is not recommended. In order to properly reduce visceral and subcutaneous fat within the abdominal region one must seek a balanced plan between nutrition, aerobic exercise, resistance training, and core exercises. These four training methods have been shown to enhance body weight and abdominal fat reduction.
Nutrition is one of the most important aspects in regards to fat loss and body weight reduction. For example, analyze the traditional gym rat and/or personal trainer. Both groups have their clients, or themselves, perform numerous abdominal exercises requiring flexion and extension of the spine with little to no stabilization training. This is improper core training. As a result, their clients are often left asking “why I am not able to see abs?” The answer, your diet is crappy and your training methods are faulty. Proper nutrition coaching is very detailed. However, without getting into too much detail on nutrition, individuals should follow these simple tips: limit saturated fat intake, sodium intake, and high glycemic carbohydrate intake. Limit saturated fat intake to under 20 grams per day. Avoid carbohydrates that use white flour or are extremely high in sugar. Avoid foods that are high in sodium, which can lead to coronary heart disease and high blood pressure. It is also important to mention that sodium leads to excessive bloating within the human body. However, the most important nutritional tip to successfully reduce abdominal fat and total body fat is to choose low glycemic (GI) food. Low GI foods are absorbed slower within the body and do not spike blood sugar levels. Due to the following two traits, low GI foods are much less likely to be stored as fat.
Aerobic exercise has proven to be an effective tool in regards to weight reduction and weight maintenance. Various studies have proven that individuals whom participate in aerobic exercise daily, or numerous times per week, often have lower body fat levels and are generally healthier. With that said, different methods of aerobic exercise are superior. Most individuals engage in aerobic exercises that utilize a constant heart rate throughout the duration of the activity. Constant heart cardio is not a preferred method of aerobic exercise. Performing aerobic exercise that constantly varies the level of intensity between moderate, hard, hardest, and even a walk pace will drastically reduce fat levels. This form of aerobic exercise is also known as High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). HIIT training has evolved into much more than simply running on a treadmill, hills, or even just riding a bike. HIIT now incorporates resistance training into its workouts, and this form of HIIT has shown greater results than simply performing cardio. In order for individuals to achieve greater results, they should engage in a program that involves resistance training and aerobic exercise.
Resistance training has proven to be the greatest form of exercise to reduce body fat (i.e. belly fat, or visceral and subcutaneous fat). In fact, resistance training can even reduce fat levels without reducing body weight levels. Resistance training programs with a goal to reduce abdominal and total body fat should properly progress their participants through repetitions, sets, exercises, and rest times. A proper program will progress their participants through various levels and will utilize resistance training that requires heavy weights and/or difficult movements for prolonged repetitions. Utilizing these movements with brief rest times (
Core exercises have proven effective in achieving abdominal fat loss. Movements like the plank, back squat, front squat, baker squat, deadlift, one arm bench press, or any other form of cross education training have been successful in reducing body fat (check out www.functionalmusclefitness.com “exercise of the week” to watch these exercises and more). Focusing on abdominal exercises that engage the core through stabilization have shown results in fat loss, strength, and proper core development. Modern day fitness has removed itself from simply performing flexion and extension of the spine in order to achieve a six pack. We now understand that it is far superior to engage in an abdominal program (2,4,6,8,10,12 Pack Abs) that develops the core along with the abdominals.
Although it is important to engage in abdominal exercises, more importantly core exercises, simply performing abdominal exercises have been shown to be ineffective in reducing abdominal fat levels. In order to decrease ones waistline, visceral fat, subcutaneous fat, and total body fat, one must engage in a core program that utilizes various workouts involving resistance training and aerobic training. A proper program should utilize complex movements and workouts that require stabilization through cross education training (one side training) and proprioception. In conclusion, a proper abs or resistance training program will engage in more than abdominal exercises. This program will utilize resistance training, even if it is only body weight, aerobic training, stability training, core training, and many other forms of training. Only through hard work and proper nutrition will one reduce their abdominal fat levels and get the six or twelve pack of their dreams.
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