If getting those six-pack abs were as easy as counting from one to three, we’d all have toned, flat tummies. After all, whenever we think about losing weight, the first image that comes to mind is slipping into a pair of flattering jeans without worrying about spillage (aka a muffin top).
Trying to get rid of excess weight around our midsection isn’t an exact science. The bad news is that there is no specific exercise that truly targets your abdomen. Unlike the squat or a push-up where both exercises focuses on a definite body part (glutes, shoulders, and upper back, respectively) spot reduction in the abs just isn’t possible.
Belly fat seems to be the most dangerous type of body fat. People who have a pudgy midsection are more prone to stroke, diabetes, certain cancers, and heart disease.
Curious about whether your waist is causing you more harm than good? In the comfort of your home you can gauge if your midsection needs some work. There are two standard ways to measure your waist:
● Waist circumference: Stand straight and measure right below your rib cage or your last rib bone. Then measure your hips, just above your hip bones. Any reading above 35 inches is a cause for worry.
● Waist to Hip Ratio: Stand straight again and measure your waist from below your last rib bone and your hips from above your hip bone. Do this twice to get a more sure or accurate reading. Now divide waist circumference from your hip circumference. A ratio of over 0:86 isn’t considered healthy.
If you discovered that your measurements are above healthy levels, then it is time to make a change.
Top Exercises for Killer Abs
Walking and Running
We had to mention this first because walking and/or running is possibly one of the best things you can do to your body .
Right off the bat you might be wondering,
How in the world can something as basic as walking and running get rid of my belly fat?
Here’s the thing with our bodies — our genetics pretty much dictate where to store fat and usually one of those areas is our midsection. Walking or running gives you a perfect excuse to start moving. Plus they’re both awesome ways to burn calories, leading to a decrease in body fat percentage.
Generally speaking, ANY exercise will lead to fat loss all over the body and of course that includes your tummy. Running will give you more of a workout and allows you to burn more calories compared to walking but both are excellent fat busters.
A HIIT workout routine lets you do so much more in a much shorter period of time. HIIT sprints are particularly good movements to mobilise the body fat.
Begin by jogging for sixty seconds. Then run for 20 seconds. Run as if you’re being chased by a hungry, ferocious lion. Slow down to a jog for a minute, and then run again for 20 seconds. Do this cycle five times.
Burpees is the jumping jack’s cousin. It gets your heart pumping because you’ll be doing plyometric movement. Target areas include your core, triceps, shoulders, chest, lats, and quads.
Position your feet shoulder width apart and lower your body to a squat. Your hands are positioned outside of your feet. Your chest is touching the floor. Maneuver your body into a plank by pushing your hands on the floor and then jump using your heels, your arms overhead.
It is not enough that you get to burn and lose body fat. You have to strengthen those abdominal muscles too! A simple ab crunch just won’t do the trick; the best exercise you can do is the bicycle. It helps stabilise your abdomen by means of rotating your body, plus your muscles get more of a workout compared to other exercises.
Begin by lying down flat on the floor with your hands behind your back. Bring your knees to your chest, also raising your head and shoulders off the floor. Now bring your left elbow to your right knee while you straighten your left leg. Afterwards, switch sides. Bring your right elbow to your left knee while you straighten your right leg.
To give you an idea, it is as if you are pedaling in the air. Relax your breathing, inhaling through your nose and exhaling through the mouth.
Begin by doing 12 repetitions and 3 sets. You can ramp it up to 20 reps per set to engage the muscles even more. You should be able to feel a nice burning sensation around your abdomen.
Crunch 2.0: Exercise Ball Crunch
Ramp up your boring, run-of-the-mill ab crunch by adding an exercise ball to the mix ! This will definitely hit the spot as you are forced to balance yourself on a huge ball while attempting to do a crunch.
The ball should be supporting your lower back. Your feet should be placed firmly on the ground, about hip width apart. You may opt to place your arms across your chest or behind your back. As you lift your upper body into a crunch, contract your muscles. Go back to starting position.
Trying to keep the ball stabilised is half the battle. You have to be able to maintain proper position and movement to prevent any injuries. Always exhale as you begin, inhaling when you lower yourself back down.
Doing 2 sets of 12 repetitions should be a good ab workout for beginners. Always aim to push your body further to strengthen it even more.
Changing Your Lifestyle
While physical activity is indeed very beneficial to all, you also have to keep in mind that what you eat matters too.
People have this misconception that simply hitting the gym is enough to shed those pounds. This couldn’t be further from the truth.
Avoiding food that causes weight gain in general (like that pizza you’ve been thinking of) is just one of the few ways to get rid of excess body fat and weight. Sugars are known to be calorie bombs as well.
Learning more about calories and what it does to your body can be a good starting point to changing your lifestyle for the better.
Toned Abs in a Jiffy
The secret to a taut, flat stomach is getting rid of body fat and doing the right exercises that activate the abdominal muscles. Cardio exercises like walking, jogging, running, and cycling are great heart-pumping, calorie-burning activities that can easily be added to your current roster of physical activities. Visit any of our five locations and talk to our friendly staff and avail of our $11/week rate.