ABDOMINALS - The Truth on
How to Achieve a Toned Tummy and Slim Waistline
It often seems like the hardest thing
in the world to do: "Reducing your waistline and toning your
abdominals". People all over the world spend thousands of
dollars per day attempting to accomplish the "SIX PACK". I
have regular requests asking for advice and quick fixes to remedy
the storing of body fat around the waistline and how to create a
firm toned midsection.
The Truth about achieving a toned
tummy and being able to actually see that "muscle tone" is
to get rid of the layer of body fat covering your abdominals. That's
right! It doesn't matter how many crunches you do, or what new
machine you use from the continuous advertisements that hound us day
in and day out. If you don't reduce your body fat you will never see
those strong toned abdominals.
Spot Reduction - A Fallacy!
You cannot spot reduce. Although you
can change areas of your body with resistance exercise eg. weight
training techniques like toning, body shaping and body building etc.
You cannot just train or exercise one body part alone, such as your
abs, and expect to see a whole new look. Achieving a six pack or
muscle tone in your abdominal area is a lot more involved and I
intend to show you how to go about reaching your new slim and toned
waistline by following a few simple steps and hints..
A familiar tune.......
As I mentioned above I frequently
receive emails of desperation with requests such as "I am happy
with the rest of my body, but my wide and fatty waistline ruins my
body shape. Can you give me one exercise that will fix this".
Or "I have an occasion coming up and I want to reduce my
waistline, can you recommend a supplement and some special crunches
that will make me lose 10 kilos around my waist within the next 6
weeks?" And "I perform 200 crunches per day and I still
don't see any difference in my waistline, what am I doing
One More Thing Before We get
Started - Don't Rely On Gimmicks!
One thing I am very concerned about
is the fact that most of us want to believe that some miraculous
piece of equipment, or pills, will give us that toned tummy that the
sexy girls and guys have in the ads for these types of products.
Believe me, before I started in the fitness industry years ago I
also thought if I spent hundreds of dollars it would work for me
too. I was so upset when I found out that I actually had to work at
it and there was no such miracle cure or quick fix solution.
The Difference Between Firming Up
Your Abs and Reducing Your Body Fat Around Your Waistline
Now that you know that the only way
to trim down your waistline is to reduce the amount of body fat
around that particular area you are probably thinking "where do
I go from here?". First you need to realise that a slim waist
doesn't necessarily mean that you have a toned midsection. As you
know to firm up your abdominal area you need to perform crunches or
some kind of resistance program. Many men and women do have slimmer
waists or flat stomachs, but they can still lack tone and firmness.
This where the "resistance training" comes in.
"Why does my Waistline Grow
Instead of Shrink when I Perform Crunches?"
One of the most common reasons that I
have found for this occurring is a diet full of fat, calories: from
sugar foods and junkfood and too many starchy carbs towards the end
of the day. Most people think that if they perform a few crunches
every day their waistline will magically turn into a six pack!
WRONG! How could you possibly expect to acheive a six pack when you
are consuming foods that are increasing the actual layer of bodyfat
that prevents the ab muscles from being seen in the first place? I
know this sounds harsh but if you want to have a waistline or abs
that look like you've put the effort in to produce them then that's
exactly what YOU are going to have to do. If you are eating all of
the wrong foods while increasing the muscle growth in your ab region
you are actually "bulking up" this area. Why? Because you
will have an increase in both muscle and bodyfat - which will
therefore increase your measurements.
"So how can I Firm Up my Abs
and Reduce My Waistline too?"
If you read through the steps below
you will grasp a better understanding of how to attain the above
goals. In no time you can get started on improving your training
program to help you achieve the waistline you've always dreamed of
Steps / Hints to Help Set You on the
Right Track to Getting Started on Your New Ab Program
When you read through the following
steps and hints you will most probably find that there are quite a
few of them that you aren't currently following or didn't know
about. For each step I have included a list of things you need to
remember when training your abdominals. I have tried to keep it
brief but informative. You may like to use the following steps /
hints like a checklist so you can remember each point when starting
your NEW ABS progam.
1 Resistance Training Program
*Train your lower abdominals first
*Breath out as you crunch up.
*If you have your hands behind your neck, make sure you keep your
elbows back, and crunch up using your shoulders. (This will help
prevent neck soreness)
*Keep your lower back pushed into the floor or bench. Unless you are
advanced, and have sufficient abdominal and lower back strength, do
not perform exercises that encourage you to arch your back up. If
you find in general that your back arches keep your knees bent and
closer to your body so that your lower back if pushing into the
floor or bench.
*Don't overtrain your abs. Three quality training sessions per week
is ample. Remember muscle needs recovery time to grow. It's muscle
growth that increases your muscle tone in your midsection.
Overtraining will actually deplete the muscle instead of increasing
*Don't go overboard with perfroming loads of repetitions. Rather
than trying to achieve 5 x 100 crunches per exercise, hold for a
count of 2-5, each rep you perform using 4-5 x 12 burning reps. This
will get you better results. Your goal is to damage the muscle to
promote muscle growth for increased muscle tone.
*Don' t just train your abs. You need to be performing a full-body
program rather than just concentrating on your abdominal region.
Focus on training each body part so that you can a achieve a
"toned and firm look" all over.
2 Low-Fat Eating Program
*Reduce your fat content in your
*Do not cook with oil, use a low fat cooking spray instead.
*Reduce, and I mean really cut back, on your fried foods
*Reduce your margarine and butter usage to only a small amount or
none at all
*Increase lean protein (to assist with muscle growth)
*Eat fresh salads and veggies
*Towards the end of the day reduce your intake of carbs like potato,
rice, pasta, cereals and bread. Still include them in your meals but
don't pig out on them. Fill up on green veggies instead.
*Don't use fatty gravies on your meals or meat, use very low oil or
no oil gravies instead.
*Don't use oily salad dressings, go for low oil or no oil with them
*Check the fat content on the labels of tins and cans
*Cut all the fat off your meat and grill it.
*Eat six meals smaller regular meals per day rather than having one
or two large meals per day.
*Always have breakfast!
*Use egg whites rather than eggs with yolks. You can actually
purchase egg whites in cartons, they can normally be found in the
freezer section of your supermarket.
*Have one day off your eating program per week
*If you have trouble keeping up with your protein intake use
low-fat, low carbohydrate, high protein drinks. There are some great
flavours ranging from vanilla, chocolate, banana, strawberry etc.
Purchase a shake that is easy to mix and has quality protein
content. You can use these as a morning or afternoon snack.
Click here to take a closer look at
protein powders or here to read more about the benefits of protein
and why you need it to help you reach your training goals.
3 Fat Burning Program
To reduce your ab region, and the
rest of your body, of that extra body fat, you will need to increase
your fat burning exercise.
*Vary your fat-burning times for each
*Vary the intensity
*Increase the amount of sessions you perform each week - don't over
do it though. Over fatburning eg. fatburning twice per day, 7 days
per week is classified as over training and will deplete your
muscle. For a faster metabolism 3 times per week is suitable. For a
slow metbolism 5-6 times per week will give a good kick start to
losing body fat. You can then decrease this as your metabolism
*Swap from treadmill to bike to treadmill etc so your body, and you,
don't get bored with your training program. If you have access to
several different cardio machines you can alternate between them.
*Fat Burn before breakfast to encourage your body to burn away at
your stored body fats.
*Fat Burn on an empty stomach. Inbetween meals or first thing in the
*Don't fat burn for any longer than 40 mins each session maximum!
Floor Crunches - (you can also use
your ab roller/ frame for this exercise)
Lie flat on your back on the floor, legs bent, feet flat, pushing
your lower back into the floor. Clasp your hands behind your neck,
keeping your elbows back, in line with your head. Crunch up
slightly, raising your head and shoulders, breathing out as you
crunch. As you crunch up push your lower back into the floor and
squeeze your tummy as tight as possible. Lower your head and
shoulders back down to the floor and repeat. You should feel a
burning sensation in your upper tummy area and midsection.
Lower Ab Crunches - Lie flat on your
back on the floor, legs raised, knees bent and lower legs folded.
Push your lower back into the floor. Place your hands by your sides,
palms facing the floor. Raise your backside and hips slightly,
breathing out at the same time. As you crunch up push your lower
back into the floor and squeeze the lower section of your tummy
(pelvis region) as tight as possible. Lower your hips and backside
back down to the floor and repeat. You should feel a burning
sensation in your lower tummy area and upper pelvis.
Side Crunches (you can also use your
ab roller for this exercise)
Lie flat on your back on the floor, have your knees bent and legs
twisted to one side. Your lower body should be twisted to the side
but your upper body should remain straight and flat on the floor.
Have your hands by the sides of your head and your elbows back.
Crunch up slightly pushing your lower back into the floor, raising
your head and shoulders, squeezing the side of your waist. Lower
your head and shoulders back down to the floor. Repeat the exercise
until you have finished your reps. Then change to the other side.
Setting Yourself Some Goals
Achieving a toned, slimmer midsection
is possible if you are prepared to make the above changes to your
lifestyle. You will be surprised at the results you receive if you
dedicate yourself for a solid 12 - 16 weeks. The hardest part is
getting started, but once you are on your way you won't regret it.
Set yourself monthly realistic goals that are possible to acheive.
Use goal clothing or a tape measure to monitor your changing
waistline. Re-measure every 4 weeks. Don't forget about the good ol
fat callipers too. If you are keen to measure your bodyfat click
here for a very affordable fat calliper kit with full instructions.
or purchase them at your local pharmacy or chemist.
Happy training folks,
Yours in fun, health and fitness
Personal Fitness Trainer
For more info on Personally Designed Programs click here http://www.virtualfitnesstrainer.com
Persons who are of good health,
suspect of their health or are aware of any conditions, physical
deficiencies or diseases should always consult a physician before
undertaking any eating or exercise program. Mandy Gibbons, Mandy's
Body Sculpt and Tone, Virtual Fitness Trainer,
www.virtualfitnesstrainer.com.au and www.virtualfitnesstrainer.com
disclaims any liability or loss in connection with the above program
or advice given in this article.
This article was written by:
© Mandy Gibbons 2001
Personal Fitness Trainer / Consultant Virtual Fitness Trainer:
Interactive Online Health and Fitness Club Health and Fitness
programs, workouts, exercises with photos and video clips, low fat
eating plans, calculators, articles, recipes, webmaster cool tools,
low fat recipes, log sheets, assessment charts, DIY Fitness
Assessments, Support Forums, Chat and more.....online, at your
finger tips 24 hours per day.
As Seen on TV!
to HomePage | Sign
up for Newsletter | Add
Url | Contact Us
related links | Advertise
in HealthyNews | Sample