I’ve posted a blog similar to this one before but the topic has again reared its ugly head. If I can teach anyone anything in this world that would stop them wasting their time its this; DOING AB EXERCISES DOES NOT MAKE YOUR TUMMY SMALLER!!!!!. When I used to work at a traditional gym nothing grinded my gears more than watching overweight people come in and just do abs. Just because you are working your mid region does not mean you are losing body fat from your mid region and I’m going to tell you exactly why. So I’m hoping you spare 5mins to read my whole blog because this 5mins could potentially save you hours of your time and completely change the way you think about everything.
I’m going to warn you now this will get a bit scientific but I will try and translate it as well as I can.
So, how do we lose tummy fat then? Well first I need to explain how the body burns fat. Within every muscle cell there is a hard working engine called Mitochondria and within this Mitochondria there is a process with oxygen that transforms stored fat into a chemical compound called ATP. Wow, wow, wow this is already over my head your thinking, but that’s ok all you need to know is that ATP makes a muscle contract, any muscle. The more ATP that is created means potentially more body fat is being burnt by the bodies muscles moving(taking into account that carbs and proteins can also be utilized).
So what, that doesn’t mean ab exercises don’t burn tummy fat?
Your right, it doesn’t, but is it efficient? The bigger the muscle group the more mitochondria there is which means more burning of fat to create ATP. I used the train analogy last time this time I’m going to use cars as my way of explaining physiologically why doing ab exercises does not make your tummy fat disappear. Petrol is your stored fat, Mitochondria is the engine in your car, abdominal’s are a Mini and your chest, back and legs are a Top-Fuel Dragster. WHICH BURNS THE MOST PETROL OVER THE SAME DISTANCE???? Exactly, and that’s exactly how the body works as well.
Have you ever wondered why we do so many push ups, so many rows, so many squats well now you know. The bigger the muscle group being worked the bigger the potential of fat being burnt.
Still not convinced???? Well I’m going to crush your dreams in one sentence…….You cannot choose where fat comes off, and if your doing heaps of ab exercises you are essentially growing your abs so that’s going to make you look even bigger round the tummy. Sorry but true, how many hrs have you wasted doing ab exercises to try and get your tummy smaller?? Hold on but what about all the infomercials that sell ab machines, why would they sell something if it doesn’t work….I don’t have an answer other than to make a dollar PLEASE DO NOT WASTE MONEY ON AB MACHINES THEY DO NOT WORK!!! All the transformations you see are from people that have changed their nutrition not from doing 100 crunches on a Ab King Pro.
But then why do we do ab exercises?
That’s easy because the trunk or abs play such a massive role in movement, stability and functionality. We never give you ab exercises to decrease body fat its there to build a solid foundation for your upper and lower third of the body. Have you ever wondered in your PT or bootcamp why there’s never really anything longer than 5mins of abs? That’s because that’s all they need, if you have been doing exercises working the big 3 (chest, back & legs) you have already been using your core. The abs role is to twist and bend you so without a strong core that’s where back issues can come into it.
How the heck do I get abs and decrease my tummy then Mr Ruin Everything?
NUTRITION, NUTRITION, NUTRITION!!! Exercise does not give you abs, it helps, but its all about what you put in your mouth. Everyone strives to have the perfect body with a 6pack but to achieve this you need to find the right mix between so many factors including exercise, food, hydration, sleep etc. To visibly see your abs males need to be sub 12% body fat and females sub 20% and generally speaking the majority of males fit between 15-22 and females 23-30%. If you eat right (in its simplist form energy input vs energy expenditure) and expend more energy than you input you have to burn body fat and this doesnt necessarily mean by movement either. If you eat 1500 calories worth of food it doesnt mean you need to get on a rower and row till you get to 1501 calories the body burns the majority of calories by just functioning normally called your Basal Metabolic Rate. So your BMR might be 1000cals per day so you need to burn 500calories from physical exercise not 1500, hopefully that makes sense.
Why don’t I just starve myself or just run 20km every day that burns heaps of calories, doing weights will make me bulky and muscley? OK, OK, OK I need to break that down in 2 parts. The first part why don’t I just starve myself to get my body fat down or run heaps that burns heaps of calories…..Yup you are 100% right BUT what happens when you stop that or have a bad couple of days eating??? Theres no muscle there to help burn excess IT ALL TURNS TO FAT. We see it so often people get amazing results from running heaps or doing a crazy limited diet but what happens when they stop you see them back to where they were or even worse (dont tell me you dont know someone this has happened to it might even be yourself). The second part I dont want to get bulky doing weights, simple answer is you wont and you cant. How many times have we given you a weight that is that heavy that you can physically only do 8 reps and need atleast a 2min rest?? Never. To bulk up your weights need to be that heavy that you can physically only do 5-8reps anything over 10-15 is muscular endurance/weight loss & toning you cannot bulk.
Take home message, Stop doing ab exercises at home to try and make your tummy smaller!!!!!!!