There are so many reasons people want to lose weight—tired of not fitting into clothes, feeling unhealthy, or just wanting to feel more confident. When the time comes to engage in belly exercises, people often try abdominal exercises for weight loss. However, these exercises won't actually help you shrink your belly!
We also made a video out of this blog in case you are more interested in watching than reading it.
You may be familiar with stomach muscles or the abdomen. The reason the abdomen is called that is that it is the largest muscle group in your body. As a rule of thumb, your triceps and biceps are actually smaller than your abdominal muscles. And while these two muscle groups help you make important movements like swinging a golf club and pushing a stroller, abs are often considered to be the strongest of all. The abs are made up of several smaller muscles: external oblique, internal oblique, rectus abdominis, transverse abdominis, and erector spinae.
The abdominal muscles are divided into two categories: the lower abs and the upper abs. In addition, there are specific muscles within these groups. The lower abs include external oblique, internal oblique, rectus abdominis and transverse abdominis. The upper abs include the rectus abdominis and the internal oblique.
To start shrinking your stomach, try alternating between a caloric deficit diet and lower ab workouts such as crunches, reverse crunches, bicycle crunches, and side bends. This will help you lose weight as well as shrink the inner and outer edges of your belly.
Another approach to shrinking your belly is to keep active and add in daily abdominal moves. Here are some other tricks people find helpful:
Weight loss: Take a walk, play basketball, or swim for an hour a day.
Summertime: Increase water intake by drinking more water instead of soda or beer. Ice cold water is the best way to do this! If you can, invest in a cold water juicer!
Sleep: Getting enough sleep helps your metabolism function properly so that you burn calories more effectively throughout the day.
Never miss a meal: Instead of skipping breakfast or eating on the go, try to sit down and have a light breakfast each morning.
Watch your sugar intake and eat more fiber: Switching out sugar-filled snacks for fresh fruit can help you lose weight. Fiber fills you up and helps move food through your digestive system faster, helping you feel fuller longer.
When it comes to exercise, some people use elaborate ab exercises or machines that claim to "shrink your belly." While these are helpful for strengthening the core muscles, they cannot singly target fat cells in the stomach area like a low-calorie diet or even basic crunches can.
Why You Shouldn't Do Abdominal Exercises?
1. It won't make your stomach smaller. Now that you know the abdominal muscles are the strongest muscles in your body, you will probably think they should take up a large amount of space. However, these muscles are actually very compact. It's not uncommon to hear that someone has lost six inches in one month doing these exercises. It turns out they may not even be six inches.
2. It won't make your waist slimmer. People think that as the size of abdominal muscles increases, so will the size of your waistline. However, there is no correlation between these things; you could have strong abs and still have a huge waist. In fact, some studies show that having larger muscles doesn't necessarily result in a smaller waistline!
3. It won't make you healthier. Many people believe they are unhealthy because they have loose skin hanging over their stomachs or because they can see their belly when they look down at themselves in a mirror from certain angles (the latter known as an optical illusion). There is no evidence that belly exercises will make you healthier.
4. It doesn't actually help with digestion. Exercises that involve the rectus abdominis, deep abdominal muscles, and external oblique all work together to stabilize the spine and pelvis, which is essential for digestion. However, it turns out that stomach exercises don't really work your digestive system very well at all.
5. It won't give you great posture. Many people think that doing abdominal exercises will help them stand up straighter, but that's not necessarily true. It turns out that having a strong core is actually essential for good posture and it isn't related to the size of your abdominal muscles. You also need good posture if you have diabetes or osteoporosis (diminishing bone density).
Why It Might Not Help You LOSE Weight... But IT Will Make You STRONGER!
That doesn't mean you should abandon abdominal exercises altogether. That's because the abdominal muscles are actually very versatile. They can help you with everyday movements like picking up a shopping cart, bending over to pick something up off the floor, or lifting yourself off the ground through a pushup position.
Now that you know the truth about abdominal exercises, you can go back to doing them. However, make sure you're not just doing them for vanity's sake; they actually work!
In addition to being a muscle or fat, fat can be broken down into different types. There are fats that most people store in the body's fat tissue, while others are taken up by organs and other tissues.
Types of Body Fat
• Subcutaneous: This type of body fat is just under the skin and makes up about 10-15% of your total body weight. It can appear in different tones depending on your hormones and age. Fat stored in subcutaneous tissue can help keep you warm and insulated against the cold weather. It also helps regulate blood glucose levels by storing a small amount of glucose as well as triglycerides and other important nutrients.
• Visceral: This type of fat is located within the abdominal cavity and can be used as an energy reserve to supply vital organs during times of starvation. As such, it is more sensitive to insulin and blood glucose levels. When there is too much glucose in the blood, visceral fat can take up the extra glucose and become enlarged or "fatty."
• Liver Fat: This type of fat is stored in the liver. It may be benign or even useful, but it can also be dangerous if you have an enlarged liver.
All types of body fat are formed by your body's cells (muscles, skin, and organs). When you take up more energy than you need, your body starts to store the excess energy in the form of fat (lipid) for later use or for times when there is a shortage of food.
How to Lower Your Body Fat Percentage?
1. Low Carbohydrate Diet: Most diets are high in carbohydrates and low in fat. Carbohydrates are turned into fats to store because they contain double bonds that make them more energetically accessible than fatty acids. The body stores easily accessible energy (fats) as triglycerides, which are fat in the form of a molecule that contains three fatty acids attached to a glycerol molecule.
2. Fasting: You can have a lower fat by fasting. To lose fat, you will need to burn more energy than you take in. When you fast, there is a time when you have no food in your body and no glucose or insulin present to keep your cells alive. This is called the "fasting phase." The human body then switches to an anabolic state and starts burning its own fat supplies (lipolysis).
3. High-Intensity Interval Training: Intense workouts like aerobic interval training trigger a moderate increase in the body's heart rate, resulting in more fat oxidation compared to a low-intensity steady-state exercise.
4. Healthy Diet: A healthy diet is key for losing body fat. You need to maintain a calorie deficit and consume fewer calories than you expend. You can also eat foods with a high thermic effect and avoid those that have high glycemic indexes since they release energy slowly and help you feel full longer. Foods with high starch content are less thermogenic than protein-rich foods, but they are more filling because of their higher fiber content.
If you want to lower your body fat percentage, you should ensure that you have adequate exercise and healthy dieting. Here are some ways to do so:
1. Eat a healthy diet. A healthy diet includes plenty of vegetables, fruits, lean proteins, and whole grains. To gain weight is a good thing, but too much of it can increase your percentage of body fat.
2. Engage in enough exercise. To keep your heart and lungs healthy, you should get enough exercise. Regular workouts help you shed some weight and keep you more fit than if you did not exercise at all. But the good news is that the excess fat on your body may be able to decrease according to the number of exercises you do per week:
• Walking 30 minutes daily or 30 minutes four times a week: You will see an average reduction in body fat of 1-3%.
• Participating in moderate to vigorous exercise like running, cycling, or swimming for 30 minutes daily or 30 minutes four times a week: You will see an average reduction in body fat of 3-4%.
• Brisk walking for 40 minutes daily or 40 minutes four times a week: You will see an average reduction in body fat of up to 6%.
So, you can see that the more frequent and longer the exercise you perform, the more excess body fat you are likely to burn away. And if you have already lost weight and want to maintain it, try adding 2-5 pounds back into your diet every six months. This way, your body won't lose all its muscle mass after you lose weight.
3. Stay hydrated. Water is the best way to replenish your body's essential fluids, and it is essential for your overall health. One of the more common myths about water is that you should avoid drinking it too much; however, the fact is that consuming enough water can help you shed fat by expanding the cells in your body and making them a little bit more buoyant. Another myth about water is that it cannot be drunk at night; however, this myth may stem from an old Chinese practice of drinking warm tea during sleep to promote general health as well as weight loss. Two to three glasses of filtered or mineral water every day will suffice.
4. Lower your intake of alcohol. Alcoholic beverages contain calories, so if you drink too much, you can put on weight. The recommended amount of alcohol to drink is one glass per day for women and two per day for men. Try to avoid too much consumption and excess calories, as well as the negative effects associated with drinking too much.
5. Exercise more efficiently with a calorie-burning supplement. There are certain supplements that can help increase your fat-burning capabilities while helping you lose weight faster than if you did not take any supplements at all.
Most people have heard of lowering their diet to cause weight loss, but the truth is that most people who do so will not see their waist size decrease very much simply because they burn fewer calories than they consume. So if you have heard of abdominal exercises, you might be wondering why they won't shrink your belly.
The answer is simple, while abdominal exercises alone can help you get rid of bulging tummy fat and strengthen and tighten your lower abs and core muscles, they are not enough to reduce the size and number of fat cells present in the body. That's why it's important to combine abdominal exercises with a low-calorie diet.