With summer just beginning, the “summer body” social media posts are in full force and the number of people doing abs in the gym has gone up dramatically. Crunches are happening in every crevasse and salads are a major food category. Here’s the thing: As a trainer, 90% of the people I see doing this, are approaching it all wrong (especially women). Our bodies are a very complicated machine and finding the right equation for you is important. Here are a few important pieces:
Losing belly fat is going to happen through nutrition, not ab exercises.
If you are really concerned about that section of the body, put your energy into cooking healthy foods because that is where it will be useful.
2. You can’t choose where you are going to lose weight.
A lot of people come to me and ask how to lose weight in one spot specifically (inner thighs, underarms, waist, etc.). Now by doing exercises on those areas you will help DEFINE the muscles and in return, you will have a toned look, especially once you start to shed some of the fat, but you can not just lose weight in that spot alone. Weights are a good way to sculpt your body by adding muscle or defining muscle in certain areas.
Everyone holds weight differently. For a lot of women, it’s the hips, legs, and butt that hold the extra fat. When you start to lose weight, you will lose weight ANYWHERE on that body that you have fat to lose, so don’t be discouraged if you notice it on other parts of your body first.
You should approach ab exercises depending on how you want to form your midsection.
Ab exercises are building muscles, not losing fat. (Yes, you are generally burning fat but the fat loss doesn’t go straight to your abs.) So how you want your stomach to look will determine what exercises you do.
If you are just looking to get strong you go, girl! Do all those abs. I’m personally built like a tank so I am all about that strength. Most women are shooting for the slim looking abs like the image below:
You want to stick to high rep ranges and not adding weight (or very little weight). It is just like training the other muscles in your body. You aren’t trying to gain mass, you are trying to define them. In that case, you want to avoid exercises like the weighted side bends. These will thicken the waist and move you away from the slimming look you are going for.
Just remember that just because someone on social media is fit and doing that exercise, doesn’t mean that that will get you to your goals. It is probably a great exercise, and it may help, but having the knowledge about what you are doing to your body is so helpful in getting there!
Featured image via Unsplash.