Guest post from Jonathan Dunsky WorldofDiets.com
Our pal, Jonathan Dunsky writes, runs, and reviews diet and exercise info. He asked to reach you, our Fun and Fit readers with his guest post, written especially for this site. While he is giving us the day off, we will be working on our Abs. Maybe…..
The desire to get a flat stomach is something that’s common to men and women everywhere. This is why you can find a variety of products and services that promise to help you get those coveted, sexy abs you’ve always wanted. It’s a market with money and, as in any such market, you can find a lot of useless products and misinformation that may only serve to waste your time and hard earned cash, not to get rid of your stubborn belly fat.
In this post I want to talk about 3 things which DO NOT help you to get flat abs. Once you know about them, you’ll be ready to invest your time and energy into what really works and your chances of getting flat, firm abs will be much greater.
First Culprit – Crunches
According to an article in Men’s Health Magazine, it takes 250,000 crunches to burn a single pound of fat. Let that number sink in for a moment: 250,000.
This means that if you do 500 crunches a day (and I don’t think you should), it will take you 500 days to burn one pound of fat. This is crazy and it goes to show you how ineffective crunches are at burning fat.
The notion that you can burn fat by doing targeted exercises is a false one. It’s called the spot reduction myth. You can’t decide where to burn fat from. Your body burns fat, some of it from your abs and some from other parts. Your goal is to simply burn more fat in total.
The problem with crunches is that they’re not very calorie expensive. This means that you don’t burn a lot of calories (and fat) by doing them. This is why it takes so many crunches to burn so little fat.
So, forget about crunches and sit-ups. They don’t really help you get flat abs.
Ab machines are one of the hottest fitness categories that you can find on shopping channels or in sporting goods stores. For instance, the Ab Circle Pro is reported to have sold over 2 million items. Crazy, but it goes to show you how people are desperate to get flat abs.
The problem with ab machines is similar to that of crunches: you can’t burn belly fat by doing targeted ab exercises. The bigger problem is that some of the ab machines cost a lot of money and create such big expectations that disappointment is almost certain.
The bottom line is that most ab machines don’t provide a more effective workout than regular abdominal exercises. This is why they are usually a waste of money.
Third Culprit – Ab Belts
These products have long been a mystery to me: I have no idea why anyone would buy them. Back in 2002, the Federal Trade Commission actually charged a few of these companies because their products were promoted with claims that these ab belts can produce the loss of fat or inches or provide the users with well defined abdominal muscles (full report here). Needless to say, these are unsubstantiated claims.
Ab belts can’t help you lose belly fat and they can’t help you lose inches. Physical therapists use them to treat people with severe muscle injuries or weakness. They do not provide sufficient resistance to develop your abdominal muscles or to burn belly fat.
What To Do Instead
If you want to get a flat stomach you need to burn off belly fat. This can only be done with hard work and it does take time. So, stop looking for gimmicks or shortcuts. You need to do total body workouts and intense cardio to get rid of belly fat. It won’t happen overnight, but it’s better to start soon… today even.
Jonathan Dunsky blogs at World Of Diets where he writes about fitness, nutrition, and lifestyle tips for a healthy and fit body.