Myth vs. Truth - Crunches will get rid of belly fat!
"Crunches will get rid of belly fat."
Here are my thoughts on how this myth likely got started; It's common for the abdominal area to be the first area to gain fat and the first area to lose fat during the onset of an exercise program. Since so many beginners implement some type of abdominal training into their new weight loss program, it's likely that they attribute the fat loss in that area to the targeted abdominal exercises they've been doing as opposed to the dietary changes they made or the more intense exercises that train the entire body that they've also been doing.
It's true that resistance training will tighten up muscles and often give the appearance of less fat as the muscles become more toned. Although this is a great benefit, it has nothing to do with the amount of fat in that area.
You can do a thousand crunches every day but it's unlikely that they will have much impact on reducing the amount of fat on your belly. Actually you'll probably give yourself some lower back pain, but that's for another article.
In order to lose fat you must create an energy deficit that allows for fat to be burned in excess as fuel for the body.
Regardless of the muscles that are targeted during exercise, we will burn fat across the entire body. We don't have a choice or a way to encourage fat to be burned from a specific area regardless of the exercise we choose. If this were the case, I think most of us would all be walking around with really lean legs, considering our legs generally get more regular exercise then the rest of our body's. That is surely not the case.
"Lipolysis" is the term used to describe how fat is broken down and used as fuel for the body. This is how we shed those excess fat pounds. Lipolysis happens in cells across the entire body, not just the cells of the exercising muscles.
So If you want to lose fat, the best way is to create an energy deficit through diet and/or exercise. Diet is the number one way to create a deficit as well as enhance the metabolic environment that will allow for the burning of fat rather then storing it.
Exercise is another way to create an energy deficit, but the fact remains that "you cannot out train a poor diet", especially when it comes to losing weight.
Many people will use aerobic exercise on top of a calorically restrictive diet to create this deficit. Historically, this has been proven to be effective. However, more recent research as well as hands on experience has proven to me that there are other dietary and exercise methods that can be much less restrictive and time consuming and have the potential to be more effective.
A proper combination of diet and exercise has been proven to be the best method to losing weight and keeping it off.
"Core Diets" is our in-house nutrition program at Core Dynamics and was developed by nutrition expert John Erickson. This system uses the science of "hormonal manipulation" to maximize results. This method of eating trains the body to enhance it's fat-burning efficiency by balancing and properly timing macronutrient ratios (proteins, carbohydrates and fats).
The Core Diets program coupled with many forms of interval training (i.e. HIIT, circuit training, Tabata method, etc.) and strength training has been quite effective in helping countless clients completely transform their bodies while reducing the amount of time spent exercising.
Compared with steady-state aerobic exercise, Interval training can dramatically increase post workout energy expenditure so you burn fat at a much higher rate for many hours rather then just during the bout of exercise.
Strength training in its various forms, is used to enhance and preserve lean muscle tissue as well as eliminate movement dysfunctions and reduce injuries.
These concepts make up the foundation of the Core Dynamics fitness philosophy. When I create programs for my clients my primary focus is to help them build a healthier, leaner, stronger body all around.
Email me if you would like to learn more about the Core Diets System or to learn how to develop an effective exercise program to target your weight loss goals.
Strength For Life,