Why helllloooooo 2016! Crazy enough, we are already 6 days in, and I’m wondering where the time has gone…also, where are my Christmas decorations? Can we insert the sad face emoji with streaming tears here? Anyone else feeling this way? Yes? Ok, great.
Ok, to the topic at hand. As with any New Year, it starts the season of resolutions, setting intentions, or just goal-setting in general. I do think the New Year is a great time to look at your previous year and what you accomplished, then make a comparison to where you want to go and how you want to feel at this time next year. I will actually write a post of my process, which I actually borrowed from my Lorna Jane Diary last year. More on that to come…
Whatever your situation, I can pretty much guarantee we all have some sort of “health improvement” goal on our list. Yes? I know I do. I think our health is an ever-evolving thing we do need to keep top of mind to make sure we are truly staying “healthy” and whatever that means for you. Health improvement doesn’t have to mean weight loss, but let’s be real and recognize it’s a hot topic of conversation for New Year’s resolutions and goal-setting in general. If we are going to break it down even further, the elusive 6-pack (no, not of beer) or just “firming of the tummy” continues to be an area of concern. Whether it’s a resolution or just general goal-setting, I hear this quite often from clients. At this point, our human nature is pretty much conditioned to be concern with how our stomach looks. Guess what? Me too, guilty as charged. I know I’m thinking about it, but I also hear about it a lot in working with clients. Most recently, one of my co-workers sent this question over to me.
“I have a client who has done remarkably well but has asked me for some simple exercise routines that he can do to ‘eliminate the spare tire around my waist.’ I have noticed the weight loss has eliminated the big stomach and the areas but not the ‘love handles’ any recommendations?”
My initial thought was…if I had a dollar for every time I got that question…but really, can I get someone to pay me a dollar every time? No? Ok, sorry, total sidebar. Before jumping to conclusions about why I hear about it all of the time (shouldn’t people know this answer by now?) I realized that it’s actually just because there are so many myths and so much misinformation about how to truly get rid of those “problem areas” in our midsection. Let’s be real; because of the aforementioned popularity in getting rid of our midsection fat, this has become one of the biggest ways companies market their weight loss/fat loss/exercise supplements to the consumer. Marketers want to appeal to what you need, what you’re looking for. They want to convince you that you need their product to solve your issue…which a more popular issue iiiisssss….stomach fat!
Well, I’m going to go ahead and give you a spoiler alert. There’s not a magic supplement, secret workout, or perfect combination that will solve this issue for you. Yes, the “rumors” are true. It’s hard work; you need to modify your eating habits AND exercise. If that’s not what you’re looking for, I’ll save you the time of reading the rest of this post. Haha, kidding. Well not really, I guess, because if you are looking for a quick-fix and refuse to believe it doesn’t exist, then my words actually won’t mean anything to you, buuuutttt let’s chat through this a bit, shall we?
Ok, so the short answer to this question is… you cannot spot-reduce fat tissue by doing particular exercises in the area we want to lose fat. I always joke with clients that if we could spot-reduce, then chewing gum would make our faces thinner. 🙂
As I mentioned, I get this question a lot because we all typically want to get rid of extra fat around our stomach, whether it be the fat tire, love handles, etc. The thing to know about the body is we are all genetically pre-disposed to put fat on and burn fat off specific areas of the body first. As an aside, this is why some women “lose their boobs” when they start exercising and others don’t. Anyone else have that “problem”? Ok, anyways…so many tangents today. Unfortunately, the place we put fat on first is typically one of the latter places we’re burning a significant amount of fat off from. This is frustrating, but just it what it is. This isn’t a hard and fast rule, by any means, but just an anecdotal piece of info.
Ok, so what does all of this mean for you? Well, you can absolutely include exercises that target the waist to “cinch” it and try to “tone up” underneath the layer of fat, but these exercises aren’t going to burn fat off of that area. Doing exercises will help to give the appearance of being “more toned” though, which is why people of often get confused and think they are converting fat tissue to muscle tissue, which doesn’t happen. We can actually talk more about this “conversion” in a later post.
The ultimate thing is you’re going to have to continue to focus on nutrition and include consistent cardio and strength exercises into your routine. If you feel comfortable, try including intervals or HIIT training, which can be helpful for increasing total calorie burn, which is what we’re after. With all of that being said, if you do want to include some core exercises to help “firm up,” here are some exercises to look at including in your workout to specifically target the area to “focus” are things like …
I hope this has been helpful for putting perspective around dealing with those “problem areas” on our midsection. As you can see, I’m not a fan of doing your standard crunches. It puts a lot of stress on the spine, so I tend to stay away from those exercises myself and definitely stay away from recommending them with clients. I can do another post about crunch alternatives. Wow, I’m promising a lot of future content here today, huh? I’d love to hear what other questions you have and other myths we can bust through…or prove true!