4 Belly Fat Myths that May be Holding You Back:
Myth #1: “Do LOTS of crunches or sit-ups.” People are usually shocked when I tell them I haven’t done a single crunch in years. Realize this: your body does not burn fat in isolation! You may think that working your stomach will make your abs ripped. But really, the key to getting amazing abs is through weighted exercises that use all 3 portions of your abdominals – your obliques, your lower abs and your upper abs. If you want your abs to change you need to properly and safely stress each of these muscles in the proper order (obliques, then lower abs, then upper abs). Crunches only exercise a small portion of your abdominals and put very little muscular stress on them. Seriously, you are better off brushing your teeth vigorously for 15 minutes (34 calories) than doing crunches for the same amount of time (30 calories). Think about it, your abs and lower back support over 30% of your body weight ALL DAY LONG. In terms of muscular stress, doing a couple hundred crunches is like a drop in the bucket. If you really want your abs to grow and adapt from exercise and eventually become flat, tight and sexy then you need to do something a little more challenging.
Myth #2: DIET! “I must eat nothing but carrot sticks”. Despite what you’ve been led to believe, going on ridiculous diets and severely limiting your caloric intake will only make your belly fatter. How can that be? Well, it doesn’t matter how “skinny” you are, you’ll never see those abs if you don’t first develop and define your abdominal MUSCLE! And of course, building muscle (aka “toning”) requires that you don’t starve yourself. Remember, under severe dietary stress your body consumes muscle before fat. So running + crunches + starving = eaten belly muscle and increased fat stores. Not to mention, starving yourself has other belly-sabotaging consequences: such as a sluggish metabolism and the release of stress hormones that make you crave fatty foods.
Myth #3: “I must do cardio every day”. While cardio is a great addition to any workout routine, lots and lots of cardio alone will NOT get you those great abs. Why not? Well, because cardio is not the most effective way to build muscle. And, as you now know, more muscle is the key to burning more fat…and burning more fat is the key to having great abs! You need solid healthy muscle glistening underneath a sleek slim belly. Furthermore, if you only do cardio every day, you run the risk of losing this precious muscle tissue (your body’s natural fat-burning powerhouse!) That’s why you must add muscle-building weightlifting to your repertoire if you want to see those knockout abs.
Myth #4: “I cannot eat carbs!” For some reason, we have grown up thinking that carbs are “bad” -- the big “no-no” if you want to look great. But, these people couldn’t be further from the truth! Your muscles need carbohydrates to function properly: it’s where they get their fuel to perform! So, if you limit your carbs, you limit your body’s ability to get the most out of your workout. You will heal and develop ab sculpting muscle much slower, maybe never if you don’t have adequate nutrition.
4 Things that Actually Work:
- Do compound lifting exercises! Instead of isolating exercises like crunches, which burn little to no overall fat from your body, you should spend your time doing multi-muscle lifting exercises that trigger your body to burn a TON of fat all at once. Strength exercises that force you to use as many different muscle groups as possible , such as the deadlift and box squat, are the best way to do this! Believe it or not, the deadlift uses more muscles per lift than any other exercise on the planet. The deadlift makes your abs strain to stabilize and support weight in ways that crunches can only dream of.
- Eat to feed your muscles! If you want your body to burn fat from your belly, you should eat well and eat often. How often? Every 4-5 hours is optimal if you want to keep your metabolism revved up, and your muscles full of energy. How well? 3 small meals and 2-3 snacks a day, with each meal consisting of a lean protein source (like a cup of greek yogurt or a piece of grilled chicken the size of your palm) and a serving of fruit and veggies (an apple and a cup or so of raw chopped red peppers). Your muscles also need a lot of water too – so be sure to drink at least 6 – 8 glasses per day! The goal is to stress your body in a controlled and safe way and then do everything you can to help it heal by feeding it with only the best food. Not eating properly will force your body to get energy for your workout from the destruction of your tissues (i.e. your muscle).
- Practice “cardio sandwiching”. What the hell is THAT? I am not telling you to wolf down a sandwich mid-run :). I am talking about strategic positioning of your cardio sessions during your workout. Instead of doing cardio in one long 40 minute haul, break up your cardio into 2 mini sessions: one 10 minute session before your lift, and one 10 minute session after your lift. This will take the fat burning power of your lift to a whole new level by revving up your heart rate and core body temperature. Combine this with a second short run after you lift and this will increase the calories burned post-workout like crazy. But don’t get too eager - limit this method to no more than twice a week
- LOVE healthy carbs... especially after a workout! Carbs are required for proper muscle performance and building. The OPTIMAL time to get your healthy dose of carbs is immediately following your workout. Why? Well, post-workout is when your muscles glycogen stores are most depleted, and in great need of some muscle-repairing nutrition. It turns out that this replenishing process is super active during the first 45 minutes after you workout. You want to grow muscle and lose fat faster? Eat a source of starchy carbs and an easily digestible protein source (protein drink, greek yogurt) immedietely after your workout.
Looking sexy is a symptom of lifting strong and eating right. If you want a flat belly you need to start feeding your body and actually challenging your muscles. For most people this can be achieved by learning how to safely lift weights and eat properly.
If you want to get started on developing a super sexy stomach of your own, get a hold of my free workout and nutrition guide, or try my FULL PROGRAM! It's full of all the exercises and nutrition information you need to finally get that flat belly!
To start shedding unwanted fat from your belly right now, check out my complete workout and nutrition guide below!