Most women exercise because they want to lose that 'spare tyre' around their waist. They do sit-ups, abdominal crunches and the like to no avail. Hey they may even see a slight increase in the waistline due to stronger but enlarged abdominal muscles (abs).
Jillian Michaels, the master trainer for the reality show "Biggest Loser" explains it well in these series of articles, quoted from her daily newsletter (that I subscribed online)
- What is the best way to get rid of the belly bulge?
Contrary to what you might think, getting rid of the belly bulge is all about diet and cardio, rather than strength-training exercises that target the abdominals. This is because belly bulge results from excess body fat, not lack of muscle. The best way to reduce the bulge is therefore to reduce your body fat, and we all know what that requires — diet and exercise, baby!
It is possible to carry extra water weight in your tummy. To get rid of this: try cutting your sodium intake to 1,500 mg a day and increasing your water intake. This will help you reduce water retention and reduce the spongy appearance of belly fat just a bit! (My say : How strange -- common 'logic' says that drinking water makes our tummy bloat up. But fitness fact says, to reduce water retension, we SHOULD drink more water... ha ha ha, a paradox!)
But really, it comes down to healthy eating and consistent cardio workouts. Stick with it, kid — it’ll come off. Just keep at it and be patient with yourself.
- What kind of exercises can I do to target my love handles and get rid of them once and for all?
This answer is the same one I have for any spot-reducing question you guys could ask. Both belly bulge and love handles are about excess body fat, not lack of muscle. Crunches and ab exercises are therefore not the solution. The best way to reduce these problem areas is to reduce your overall body fat percentage, and we all know that that requires diet and exercise.
That said, I'm actually experimenting with different stretches and light isolation exercises to try for specific areas of the body. These stretches will bring blood, and thus oxygen, to these problem areas — my theory is that the oxidization will help break down the fat. And hey, stretching is always beneficial!
For love handles, try this side-bend stretch in conjunction with diet, exercise, sodium reduction, and 80 ounces of water a day:
Side Bend (Do this stretch at least three times a day throughout the day.)
Purpose: To stretch the triceps, upper back, abdominals, and obliques.
Here's how you do it: Bend to one side, while holding your opposite arm overhead, then quickly stretch to the other side, raising the other arm. This drill should be done in a controlled, continuous fashion for 10 stretches on each side of your body. (My say : wish she had included photos)
- Are there really foods that burn fat? If so, what are they?
Not really, but there are foods that contain fewer calories than the body uses to digest them. Therefore, when you eat these foods (cruciferous veggies, leafy greens, and so forth), you’re helping create a calorie deficit. (ie, less calories consumed as compared to calories used = weight loss)
That said, there are also certain foods that will crank up your metabolism by releasing the right hormones. Protein will release more human growth hormone. Foods with selenium and zinc will support a healthy thyroid. You can boost your metabolic rate by eating clean, whole, fresh foods and avoiding processed foods and chemicals. But there is no food that will magically burn off fat. You have to get off your butt and get moving!