Will Abdominal Training Reduce My Belly Fat?
Being a health and performance coach I tend to get a lot of the same questions from my clients throughout their coaching journey, particularly in the early days.
Some of the most frequent questions I get revolve around ‘spot reducing’ when it comes to fat loss.
Will training my abs more frequently reduced my belly fat?
What are the best arm exercises for getting rid of my ‘Bingo Wings’?
Unfortunately – mainly due to mainstream media – many people are under the impression that by training a specific body part, you’re able to focus your fat loss on that particular area.
The simply isn’t true!
When you train, fat is lost from the whole body, not the specific body part being trained. No matter how good your Abdominal Workout is, it will not result in fat only being lost from around your waist and belly.
The same goes for the ‘Bingo Wings’. Just because you train your arms, that doesn’t mean the body will only tap into the fat stores on your arms. Again, fat is reduced from the body as a whole.
Now this doesn’t mean that training individual areas of the body is a waste of time, depending on your specific goal it may be essential.
For instance training your abdominals is going to be required if you’re after a flat, toned stomach or a rippling 6-pack.
You’re also going to have to train your arms if you want them to be lean and defined also….
Just bear in mind that regardless of your training programme or the body part being trained, very little fat loss will take place without your nutritional intake being tailored to your goal.
If it isn’t, you may find that you manage to sculpt your amazing 6-pack and you have fantastically toned arms. The problem is, neither you nor anybody else can see them because you still have a layer of fat covering them.
For many, this is often as simple as replacing the poor food choices (cakes, biscuits, sweets, ‘bad’ fats, processed foods, etc) with healthier options (meats, fish, vegetables, fruits, eggs, raw dairy, ‘good’ fats, wholefoods, etc), especially in the early days.
This will ensure plenty of quality nutrition is being brought on board in order to fuel the training, sculpt and tone the body, and provide the necessary nutrition the body will need in order to burn the excess fat being stored.
Then when results begin to slow or plateau, things will have to be tweaked further.
So what does work for losing fat around the waist and belly?
In my many years as a health and performance coach I have found that alongside the above (healthier nutrition plan) the things that have the quickest effect on abdominal fat are learning to de-stress, using a Rotation Diet and a great training programme.
You see, abdominal fat is linked to stress and more specifically a chronic increase in the stress hormone Cortisol.
Cortisol should follow a natural rhythm in the body. High in the morning (to wake you up) and it should reduce throughout the day (so that sleep hormones are released) but when it’s kept chronically high through excess stress this natural rhythm is disrupted and all kinds of havoc follow.
A few examples include:
- raises your blood sugar
- makes it harder for glucose to get into your cells
- makes you hungry and crave sugar
- reduces your ability to burn fat
- reduces your DHEA, testosterone, growth hormone and TSH levels
So as you can see, too much stress is not a good thing… learn to chill!:)
Perhaps even take up a practice such as Tai Chi, Yoga or Meditation as these are designed to reduce stress in the body and help you shift into a Parasympathetic State (repair and regeneration).
Rotation diets are also effective for weight loss (especially when tailored to the goal) because they also help reduce overall stress on the immune system.
So many people these days have allergies, intolerances and/or sensitivities to certain foods and often they don’t even realise that it’s the food causing their symptoms. – A Rotation Diet often helps you to identify these foods.
The trouble is, every time they eat a food that they’re reactive to it causes an immune system response which in turn increases Cortisol levels so the bodies goes back into it’s stressed state and again over time this will lead to increased belly fat.
For a great example of a 4-day Rotation Diet Plan, check out the book How to Eat, Move and Be Healthy by Paul Chek.
Finally, your training programme should not overemphasize any one specific body part (unless for instance you’re training for a body building contest and you have a muscle or group of muscles that are lagging maybe). Instead, if you focus on training your whole body throughout the week alongside your nutritional changes you’ll find it’s almost impossible to not get the results you’re after.
Your friend and coach in health and performance,