Okay, now that summer is in sight, and we can now get out and about, people start the so-called quest for the six pack abs. However, it appears that more people have opted for grabbing a 6 pack of beer than from trimming down their waistline.
In reality, Six pack abs are overrated and are not healthy. You need to achieve single digit body fat. Ideal body fat is 10-15% for men and 16-20% for women. Lower fat levels than 10% can leave your body over-stressed and have adverse effects on the body. You do need adequate healthy fat to; maintain hormone levels; help body enzyme production; regulate body temperature and cushion vital organs. Unfortunately most people have too much unhealthy fat.
Losing Visceral Fat is one of the most important steps you can take to stay healthy for life. Visceral fat, or “belly fat,” is the white fat that is stored in your abdomen and around all of your major organs, such as the liver, kidneys, pancreas, intestines, and heart. People with apple-shaped bodies (High visceral fat levels around the abdomen) have a greater risk of heart disease, diabetes, stroke, artery disease and some cancers.
More importantly, there IS a direct correlation between body fat and cancer risk. Excess visceral fat affects processes in your body and how it manages hormones like insulin and estrogen - affecting how and when cells divide and die.
Too much body fat triggers inflammation. This causes your pancreas to produce more insulin, which in turn triggers estrogen production. Too much insulin and estrogen causes cells to divide more than usual. This added stress and production can create new cells that are cancerous.
Getting firm abdominals is achievable. Even if you have a flabby stomach, you can reverse this “excess baggage” and reveal a more healthy midsection you always hoped for.
Tips to Flatten your midsection
1. Be active - Move whenever you can.
This means taking the stairs, walking to the store, etc. The more you move your body, the more your muscles work, the more calories you burn, and the flatter your midsection becomes.
2. Perform Core Functional and Resistance Training exercises
Core training strengthens and stretches key muscles of the spine and lower torso and provide a solid foundation for all other movement. Adequately conditioned abdominal & back musculature represents the key “coupling” link of the body that connects movements between upper & lower body. Functional exercises involves training your core in a manner that is similar to daily life and sport demands.
Resistance training builds quality lean muscle, which is more metabolically active than fat. The faster your metabolism, the more calories you burn all day long—a key for a flat stomach.
3. Stay Focused. When you exercise your abs, focus on your midsection. Don’t just “go through the motions”. Picture your stomach getting smaller, tighter and stronger..
4. Brace your abs - Tense your abs
Like any muscle you train, squeezing the muscle on contraction results in the best training effect. Your abdominals are no different for best results do the following;
When working the Rectus Abdominus: Tighten or Tense your abs and push out your belly button during the concentric action shortening the distance between your ribs and pelvis.
5. Always engage your stomach muscles.
Lift your chest and suck in your gut when you walk. Do tummy tucks.
Perform the Vacuum exercise, as follows;
Take a deep breath in while lifting your chest. Keeping your chest elevated, breathe out while attempting to "suck in " your belly button as the lower part of your stomach flattens. You'll begin to feel some of the muscles in your waist feel tighter. Hold this position for a few seconds, then relax. That counts as one repetition.
The key to this technique is Concentration. The vacuum is more than just sucking in your stomach. It demands concentration and mental focus to make it work. With proper concentration, intensity and positive thinking this is will help maintain a tight midsection.
Eventually this will take some time to get used to, but if you do this religiously you will see results in no time.
6. Incorporate Cardio - using Moderate to High intensity workouts.
7. Get Adequate Sleep – lack of rest slows your metabolism
8. Eat the right foods.
This is a must. Hundreds of sit-ups won't make much difference to the appearance of your waist and stomach if your abdominal muscles are hidden under a layer of fat. You have to lose body fat, not weight, in order to “see” your abs and this can only happen when you eat high quality nutrient dense foods.
Focus on Plants and Nutrient Dense foods. Eat lots of fruits and vegetables. Cut out milk, limit (or omit) wheat, dairy and meat. Make sure your drink enough water and limit or abstain from alcohol. This will help you control your blood sugar levels, insulin levels, and energy levels. Insulin management will help you lose fat and prevent you from gaining fat.
Getting rid of that jello belly is doable. Following the steps above will help reduce that flabby midsection. And, hopefully you are doing it more for your health than for vanity. Being obese or overweight IS a health risk that YOU can change. Like anything worthwhile, it takes commitment – it’s all up to YOU!