Thursday, June 30, 2011

Crunches Won’t Flatten Your Stomach

People think that if they do 500 crunches a day they will melt the fat off of their waistline. The problem with that train of thought is that you can not spot reduce. In other words, no amount of crunches will shrink your waist any more than doing neck exercises will get rid of a double chin. The body gets rid of fat all over the body at the same time regardless of what exercises you do. We all have problem areas like the waist, and unfortunately the problem areas are the last to go; otherwise they wouldn’t be problem areas. Even if we could spot reduce, it would take a little over seven million crunches to burn one pound of fat! So now what?

Remember when I said that we need to let the six pack out? That is exactly what we do. To do that we must combine the trinity of health and fitness: diet, resistance training and cardiovascular training. By combining all three of these powerful techniques, you will lose weight, burn fat and unleash the abs!

The basics of a diet include a proper ratio of your three macro-nutrients: Protein, Carbohydrates and Fat. A good rule of thumb for basic fitness is a 40/40/20 percentage respectfully. Protein is responsible for building muscle tone. This will help you burn fat. Good sources are lean cuts of meat, fowl, fish and dairy. Carbohydrates are what give your body energy. You will need them for your workouts and normal body functions. Good carbs include oatmeal, sweet potato and beans. Fat is probably the most important because you need it for heart function. Bad fats will lead to bad problems, but good fats like fish oil, krill oil, peanut butter and almonds can aid in the reduction of cholesterol, blood pressure and joint pain.

Resistance can be anything from body weight in a push up to weights in a bench press. You need to perform resistance training to add muscle tone to your body and create the shape you are after. For every pound of muscle tone you develop, you will burn an additional 50 calories per day. Build ten and that is 500 per day. When you multiply that times seven days in a week you will burn an additional 3500 calories which is equal to one pound of fat!

Cardio is anything that makes you sweat. This includes running, jogging, biking, sprints and even cleaning house if you do it right. The greatest benefit of performing cardio is it will keep you heart healthy. Cardio helps you lose overall weight by burning calories. Not as important as resistance training, but it will help you unleash your abs. The best form of cardio is what is called interval training. This means you work hard for a short time, and then rest for a short time. The ideal is sprints. Try doing ten short sprints with no more than 60 seconds rest in between. The old idea of spending 30 minutes in your target heart rate zone is the worst way to burn fat.

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