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Trying to lose belly fat? Stop doing crunches…

It seems logical that if you’re trying to burn fat from a particular area of your body, you should do exercises that work that area, right?

E.g. if you want to burn body fat from the back of your arms, you should do some tricep kickbacks with weights or if you want to burn body fat from your belly, you should do some crunches.

Unfortunately thats not quite how it works & it’s definitely not the most effective way to use your precious exercise time.

Exercising burns energy. Whether you go for a run, follow a HIIT workout on YouTube or take part in a live Pilates class, every movement you perform requires energy. Your body either gets that energy from the food you recently ate or the food you already have stored.

Food can be stored within your muscles (to ensure you have the available energy to use those muscles when needed) or within your fat cells (to ensure you have a back up supply of energy, if for whatever reason you don’t eat for while).

By trying to burn fat from a particular area of your body, you are in effect trying to use up the stored food from within those fat cells- thereby making them smaller & uncovering the muscle that sits underneath them (leading to a more toned appearance).

Whats important to understand however, is that exercising a particular part of the body does not burn the stored body fat from that area.

The energy required to perform that exercise will be taken from a range of locations around the body- not necessarily the area you’re working.

So that 30 minutes of crunches you just performed, although have acted to help get your core muscles stronger & have given you one hell of a ‘burn’ & feeling of progress, have done very little in your bid to “lose your belly”.

To force your body to use the stored food within the fat cells that sit around your waist, you need to create a situation where you are eating less new food each day than your body is burning.

Your best way of achieving this is through changing your eating habits so you consume less food overall.

But this can also be achieved or sped up through exercising more. You will find it more effective however following a workout plan that includes bigger, more demanding exercises that use larger muscles than something like a crunch does.

Performing exercises like, squats, lunges, press ups & rows (as well as perhaps one or two ab focused ones) mean more muscles are worked, more overall energy is burned & therefore you are more likely to put your body into a state of burning more food than you are eating.

With stronger muscles, you’ll also gain the huge benefit of increasing your energy burning outside of your exercise sessions, improving your posture & reducing the risk of injuring your spine from hours & hours of crunches & sit ups.

Finding the time to exercise can be difficult. So make sure you’re maximising your time by doing workouts that will get you the best results in the smallest amount of time. Less of the ‘abs blasts’ that keep popping up on your social media feed & more focus on full body workouts!

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