Fit Tip: Crunches Do Not a Six Pack Make
Somewhere far, far away, there is a magical gym where there’s never a wait for a cardio machine at 6:30pm, the bootcamp instructor never raises his voice above a whisper, and jiggling upper arms instantly tighten up after just one biceps curl. This mythical place is called Imaginary Fitness Land, and it, like spot-training to burn fat, doesn’t exist.
Welcome to the real world, where workout results take time, energy, and variety, and where our body’s ability to eliminate fat, and which specific areas it will eliminate fat from, are influenced by age, genetics, hormones, and some other factors beyond our control.
Luckily, we can control the fat-melting effectiveness of a cardio workout, so keep this real-world advice in mind to maximize your results.
Two’s company. Combine fat-reducing cardio exercise with a consistent strength training program to tone and sculpt your muscles. Although spot-training won’t work for burning fat, spot-sculpting will tighten and tone the areas where you want to show off your results. Focus on a specific group of muscles during your strength training routines.
Add instability. Use theBOSU ball, balance disk, or wobble board to throw off your balance and force your core muscles to work overtime. With a strong core, you’ll be able to take on more challenging workouts, and achieve success faster.
Pilates, please. Heralded as the secret behind tons of toned tummies, a Pilates mat workout provides an effective ab routine when you want to add some necessary variety to your exercise program. Pilates utilizes very focused and specific movements, so find an instructor to get you started.
Intensify. Interval training is a great way to incorporate high-intensity exercise into your workouts. Start with 30 seconds of jogging followed by 2-3 minute of walking, then repeat for 30 minutes. Once you can complete the program with ease, lengthen the jogging intervals. Your increased intensity and elevated heart rate will result in more calories burned and a smaller waist line.
The trick to getting the fit, sculpted body you want is to be realistic. If you have overall body fat to lose, you aren't going to see washboard abs without eliminating that excess insulation first.