You don't need to spend a fortune on crappy abdominal machines and gizmos to tighten and tone those abdominals. You just need to understand a few things about the body. 

"How do I get rid of this?" Is one of the most popular questions I get asked as a personal trainer. Men and women of every shape and size ask me this question on a frequent basis when starting out with one of our training plans, whilst pointing to their bellies with puzzled faces.

It's the million-dollar question, and one that many companies are making more a whole lot of money from instead of offering answers. But you don't need to spend a single penny on those gimmick machines you just need to understand the human body and more importantly “your own body”.

 

The Latest Gimmick

These television ads promoting these devices that apparently stimulate the abdominal muscles without exercise are every where now. I even saw an infomercial for an "ab belt" that claimed it does the work of a few hundred sit-ups in ten minutes! The ad shows people doing various abdominal exercises the wrong way, hating every second of it, versus smiling men and women going about their days with "Ab-whatevers" strapped around them. How enticing!

They pay in shape “actors” to testify that they have lost inches around the waist as a result of using these products. Many inches. Men with six-pack abs give credit to the device. This is feeding the viewership's disillusionment about how to lose the belly. How wrong they actually are. 

If a heavy set woman does hundreds of crunches a day, she may develop strong abs, and they might tighten up a bit, but she'll still have lots of fat covering them up, and she won't look any thinner. 

About fifty percent of her body fat is located directly beneath the skin. Do you know where most of the rest of it is? Inside the muscles. Doing crunches will not get rid of this fat, and neither will the vibrating belt in the television ads. And that my friends is just a simple fact.

Burn The Fat

Now lets have a look at some of the best ways to slim down in that mid region

Examples of exercise which will actually help burn that fat around the belly. 

  • Walking

  • Running

  • swimming

  • Cycling

So yes if your a triathlete you are in luck, as all of these sports you should be paying enough attention to. 

However other activities such as volleyball, tennis and basketball or any activity that brings your heart rate to its training zone and keeps it there for at least twenty minutes conditions your heart and burns fat.

High intensity circuit and weight training is perfect for this. If you take a look at any professional cross fit athlete you won’t see them carrying around a big gut. 

As you lose subcutaneous fat, your skin will become more taut. As the fat within your muscles decreases, you will appear more toned and less flabby. The number one thing you need to think about is the cardio. Five times a week as a minimum. Diet will pay a HUGE role in the reduction of your stomach and waist size as well.

Make Your Body A More Effective Fat Burner!

Large Muscle Groups To Concentrate On

  • Front and back of thighs

  • Buttocks

  • Back

  • Chest

  • Triceps and biceps

  • Calves

  • Hips

  • Forearms

  • Shoulders

Toning along with cardiovascular work will speed up and improve the process, but don't think that you only need to work on your abs. This is another grave misconception. The truth is that when you work all the larger muscle groups, adding more mass to your muscles, you rev up your metabolism to heights it has never before reached.

Your muscles will need extra calories to maintain themselves, so more of the food you eat will be feeding your muscles instead of your trouble spots. Your conditioned heart (from the cardiovascular stuff) is more effective at burning calories as well.

As the fat comes off your body, it will come off your belly. Your body fat is like one organ, located throughout your body, and you can't take it off of just one spot unless you have liposuction done.

Always work your abs at the end of your workout. There's a good reason for this. You are indirectly using them for all the other exercises you do.

The abs are important stabilizer muscles that keep your form in check. If you do abs first, you will tire them out, and your whole workout will be less than optimal. Work down from the largest to the smallest muscles.

Crunches and sit-ups primarily work the largest abdominal muscle, the rectus abdominis, which flexes the spine. This muscle compresses the abdomen to a point, but there are other muscles that you need to pay attention to, as well.

The internal and external obliques, are located at the sides of the rectus abdominis. They are the muscles you use when you bend sideways at the spine or twist at the waist. They also contract to compress the abdomen, so you should work them just as hard as you work the rectus abdominis. Adding a twist to crunches works, as well as dumbbell side bends, but be careful not to use any jerky motions, especially if you've had back problems.

The transversus abdominis is located at your sides, below the obliques. Often called "lower abs," this is the muscle that women who are trying to lose the belly after pregnancy should concentrate on. Exercises that call for raising the legs instead of the upper body are very effective at strengthening the transversus.

Walking at a decent intensity puts all of the abdominal muscles to work. Make sure you swing your arms and contract your midsection while you walk, and maintain a brisk pace. Once you get your body accustomed to a daily walk, you'll hate to go a day without it. Walk for at least thirty minutes each time to achieve the aerobic effect, and be sure to drink plenty of water.

Weight training not only helps the metabolism, but it also strengthens the bones. Women who work out with weights are much less likely to develop osteoporosis in later years than their counterparts. Adding muscle also does wonders for the energy level and self-esteem.

Contrary to a popular myth, lifting weights will not bulk you up with muscles that will eventually turn to more fat. They will give you a more feminine and symmetrical shape. If you enjoy weight training, do it.

Yoga is equally effective at strengthening the body, especially the abs and back. It improves the posture tremendously, to create a taller, leaner appearance. Pilates and many mat-based exercises are also great alternatives. The important thing is that you find an activity that you like to do. This will greatly improve the odds of you sticking to it.

The most important thing you need to do is to program yourself mentally. Don't use a scale to measure your progress. If you work out with weights, you may gain a few pounds while losing inches around the waist. Instead, use that pair of jeans that you want to fit into again, or a pair that fits you now. You'll see a slight change every few weeks, and that should give you confidence.

You are able to sculpt out a slimmer silhouette with cardiovascular exercise, a healthy, balanced diet and whatever bonus activities you throw in. In terms of diet the key is to eat natural foods, anything that grows from the ground, hangs from tree’s and food that is not full of sugar or has been highly processed. The types of food we would avoid are white refined carbohydrates, like white pasta, rice, or bread. These are good for quick release energy before sport but should be used sparingly and only before exercise as if they are not used they are essentially materialised into fat. Cereals are another low quality food with minimal nutrient impact and are usually packed with sugar. These cereals should be avoided as they provide the body with very little nutritional content. Finally anything that has processed sugar in or any other form of the word (Anhydrous Dextrose, Cane Crystals, Cane Sugar, Corn Sweetener, Corn Syrup Solids and Crystal Dextrose) should be avoided at all costs. Orange juice is an example of what people perceive to be healthy however the orange juice, even if it is fresh has had all the fibre removed which means the sugar is very quickly absorbed into the body and if not utilised is turned into fat. The amount of sugar in one glass of orange juice is equivalent to a coca cola. 

I'm not telling you that it's easy, but it really is pretty simple. In an age where people don't even have to go outside to grill a steak, it's tempting to spend a few dollars on a quick fix. Human anatomy hasn't changed much throughout history, however. If you adopt that hard work ethic and apply it to your every day life, you will achieve your greatest results.