Name: Obi Obadike
Yo Obi, I'd love to know how to target areas for strength and toning. I've lost 180 pounds and need to tone my stomach and strengthen my core. Sit-ups aren't doing as much as I'd hoped and I don't want surgery!
Obi: I hate to break the news, but there's no such thing as spot reduction to torch belly fat or reveal great abs. Flat stomachs and washboard bellies are prepared in the kitchen.
Eating nutrient-rich, healthy foods allows you to lean down and lose enough overall body fat for the look you crave. Forget spot-toning: a lean belly is built with a lean body!
Performing 100 sit-ups per day won't do much to remove your belly fat, but if you perform them over time, ab exercises strengthen your core and develop muscle underneath the fat. A lot of people actually believe that, if they use some unique ab-carving product they spot on an infomercial, they'll have abs like the spunky fitness model on TV.
The Hard Truth
The infomercials don't do a good job painting the real picture of incredible abs.
They never talk about the vast importance of diet.
Nutrition is 80 percent of the battle to remove belly fat. You can crunch 'til the cows come home, but if you surpass your proper daily caloric intake, then you will never achieve the taut tone you've always wanted.
Typically, for a man to have his abs pop from the shame of his spare tire, his body-fat percentage must fall at or below 10 percent. For a woman's abs to appear, like the forest through the fog, she must reach 12 percent body fat or less. Some women's abs could appear at 14 percent or less, depending on the thickness of their abdominal muscle bellies.
To give belly fat the 4-finger death crunch, you need:
- A proper daily caloric diet that fits your body-type
- A consistent weekly cardiovascular plan that fits your body-type
- A consistent targeted weekly weight-training plan that fits your fitness goals
- A mix of good abdominal exercises to tone your core
There are three body-types you could possibly fit into: Ectomorphic, Mesomorphic and Endomorphic.
Ectomorphic body types are characterized by thyroid dominance, a fast metabolic rate, and a higher carbohydrate tolerance. The body-frame is naturally thin with skinny limbs.
Mesomorphic body types are testosterone- and growth-hormone dominant and have a high carbohydrate tolerance. This body frame is typically naturally muscular and athletic.
Endomorphic bodies are characteristically insulin dominant, with slow metabolic rates and low carbohydrate tolerance. The body frame is naturally broad and thick.
Once you ascertain your body-type, create a sensible diet and training plan to follow weekly. To remove belly fat, your daily calorie intake should be limited to 10-to-12 calories per pound.
Your current body-type dictates the macronutrient ratio of your diet and will dictate your daily physical activity level.
To avoid the sit-up bore-fest, try leg raises, kneeling cable crunches and oblique stability crunches to help tone your abdominal muscles. You won't tone a 6-pack in a week. Make these exercises part of a weekly, ongoing routine. Balance the exercise with healthy, calorie-specific foods and you improve your body.
You will never go wrong with these basic abs exercises, and you'll never go wrong with a balanced, science-backed, body-type program.
Easy as pie? As long as you don't eat it!