How To Lose Belly Fat


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How To Lose Belly Fat

  1. 1. ==== ====Are You Overweight? You Need To Read This: ====I have just returned from my daily trip to the gym. While I was there, I noticed an interestingphenomenon. The gym I use is a big, open plan, well equipped room but it seemed there was aninvisible force field around the weight training area that only the female clientele could see. Thewhole time I was there, not a single member of the gentler sex came into the weight training area.Luckily for me, the force field didnt prevent me from going into the cardio area and asking a fewladies why they didnt come over to the other side of the gym. Their responses ranged from "I dontwant big muscles" to "cardio is best for weight loss" to "it smells really bad over that side!" Afterspeaking to a few more women (in the name of science obviously) I realised there was an awful lotof misinformation, confusion and outright lies being spread about resistance training so in thisarticle, I intend to dispel a few of those old myths and start a petition to get more woman liftingweights!Myth number 1) Strength training will cause big, bulky muscles and make woman look masculine.Most women do not have the genetic potential to develop big muscles. They lack sufficientamounts of the male hormone testosterone to develop the kind of muscle mass seen in men. Thedominant female hormone, oestrogen, is not responsible for muscle growth, unlike maletestosterone. The only way for the majority of women to develop large "male like" muscles wouldbe for them it ingest/inject extraneous testosterone to override their normal hormonal functions.Clearly, this is not a common practice and is only really seen in the sport of bodybuilding and otherpursuits where developing maximal strength is necessary.Myth number 2) To lose weight, I need to do lots of cardio.Imagine a glass. In your mind fill this glass with three parts water and one part olive oil. As youknow, water and oil dont readily mix so the oil will float on top of the water. This glass representsyour total body weight; the water represents your lean tissue (muscle, bones and internal organs)and the oil representing your body fat. Most exercisers are only concerned with what they weigh,not what that weight is made up of (correctly termed body composition). Using our glass analogy itwould be easy to pour off either liquid and reduce the contents of the glass, however, the reality iswe want to keep the water (lean body tissue) and ditch the oil (fat). Getting rid of muscle andkeeping fat is just pure madness, but with someone who exclusively uses cardio exercise forweight management, thats exactly what theyre doing.Cardiovascular exercise is essential for our health - it keeps the heart, lungs and circulatorysystem in tip-top condition, and also burns energy (calories) when were doing it. However,because your body is the master adapter and responds to the stress you put upon it, it will doeverything it can to make cardiovascular exercise easier. The body lays down new capillaries toaid in oxygen delivery and lactic acid removal, grows bigger/more cells called mitochondria to
  2. 2. produce more energy giving ATP, makes the heart bigger and stronger and improves the functionof the lungs to increase the efficiency of the cardiovascular system, and rids it self of any extramuscle not actively used in the chosen cardiovascular activity. Think about it. Muscle is vascular -it needs oxygen to survive. Even when you are running, the muscles of your upper body still needlarge amounts of oxygen. To increase the amount of oxygen available for the running muscles inthe legs, it makes sense from a survival perspective to get rid of some of the redundant musclemass of the upper body. Its like trimming unnecessary weight off of a car chassis to give greaterperformance.This is all well and good for runners wanting to run faster or further, but for someone who wants tocontrol their body fat and look good, this is about the worst possible thing you can do. Muscleneeds fuel (food). Less muscle = less food required. We call the daily amount of energy you needyour Basal Metabolic Rate - or BMR for short. The resulting loss of muscle mass lowers your BMRresulting in an energy surplus which will most likely turn into fat when that energy is not used. Atwo pound loss of muscle will result in a approximate 70 kcal drop in daily energy requirements.This means our aerobic loving exerciser will lose muscle, gain fat and look worse than they didbefore starting their exercise regime.What is the best way to maintain/gain lean tissue I hear you ask? The answer is "Lift weights". Itsa simple case of use it or lose it. The body will maintain/increase its muscle mass if that muscle isbeing called on regularly to perform work.A small increase in muscle mass will result in a higher daily BMR which means our exerciser willneed more energy on a daily basis, and if they are under eating, that extra energy will have tocome from body fat stores. So, the take home message is that a combination of cardio and weighttraining is best for fat loss. Weight loss can occur when we lose muscle but the reality is that itsthe fat we need to lose, and keep the muscle.Myth number 3) To tone up I need to do lots of reps with a light weight.The lovely Jane Fonda did wonders by getting people exercising, but she also set us back yearsby promoting "the burn" and super-high reps for toning and inch loss. That burning you feel whenyou are exercising is not fat melting away, it is Lactic Acid being produced by your muscles asthey run out of oxygen. Lactic acid does not cause spot reduction of body fat. If super high repscaused spot reduction of body fat, people who eat lots and often would have thin faces from allthat chewing! Spot reduction is a super-sized myth! Fat stores will disappear globally, not locally.Its cruel but its the truth. Some one once asked me "whats the best exercise to make mystomach thinner?" I replied "Push your self away from the dining table sooner". Probably not theanswer they were seeking, but its a painful truth very few exercisers/dieters ever grasp.The best (in fact only) was to improve the condition of a muscle or muscle group is to overload it -in other words ask it to do more work than usual. This means work it harder, not longer. Thinkabout it. You do 30 side leg lifts to tone your glutes (your butt). When that gets easier, you do 35,then 40 and so on. After a few months you are doing 5 sets of 50 per leg and your entire exerciseroutine consists of nothing but side lying leg lifts because thats all you have time for. Sounds likemadness doesnt it? Surely, it would be better to increase the workload, overload the musclesmore and not have to spend an hour on the same exercise? To improve the condition of a muscle,it must be exposed to progressive overload i.e. asked to do more than its used to on a regular
  3. 3. basis. Only then will it we see the adaptation (increase in tone) we are seeking.A rep count of 20 or less is best in terms of effect and training time economy. Any higher than thatand really its just a waste of your valuable time. This 20 rep rule applies to all muscle groups,including abdominals. Super high reps do nothing but waste time. Find ways to make exercisesharder rather than do hundreds of unnecessarily time wasting reps.Myth number 4) Free weights for men, machines for women.This is one of those stupid, old, sexual stereotypes from the 70s that never really went away. Oldfashioned gyms used to be the reserve of manly men, but that stopped in the 80s whencommercial gyms came into being. The thing is, in many cases, the free weights area is still kindof off limits to women. Why is this? Do the men intimidate the women with all their unnecessarygrunting? Is it because the exercises seem "too manly"? Are women concerned that they mightget big muscles like the guys? (Weve covered this now). Is it really the smell??? (Cant help withthat one - too many protein shakes are the probable culprit there I think). Whatever the reason, thefree weight area contains some of the best tools a girl can use to give her the body she alwaysdreamed of.Its interesting to note that some exercises and machines are deemed to be male or female whenthe reality is that our bodies are so similar, that pretty much all exercises are beneficial to bothsexes. That being said, some exercises considered very "masculine" are virtually essential for anywoman wanting to work on the traditional female "problem areas" of the hips, butt and thighs. Irefer to the squat, dead lift, stiff legged dead lift and to a lesser extent the lunge and high step up.With enough weight, these exercise will give most guys the "killer wheels" theyre after, but withmoderate loading and a rep count of 15-20, they will carve any woman an awesome lower body inmuch less time than endless sets of hip abduction, hip adduction or standing leg curls.Any woman who wants a good lower body should learn to squat and dead lift. Period.Myth number 5) Muscle turns to fat when you stop training - I dont want that to happen to me!Go back to our water and oil in a glass image. Is it possible to turn water into oil or visa versa? Theanswer of course is no (Unless you are Jesus - then youd probably do the water into wine thinganyway.) The same is true of muscle and fat. They are biologically different and cannot turn intoeach other. However, it is possible to reduce fat stores and increase muscle mass thus giving theappearance of one turning into the other. Because muscle is biologically active, it needs energy(calories from food) to sustain it. However, if our subject stops exercising for an extended periodwithout reducing their calorific (food) intake, their muscles will shrink (correctly termed atrophy)and their fat stores will grow (hypertrophy) again giving the impression of one turning into theother. The easiest was to avoid this happening is to a) dont stop training and b) if you do have tostop training for an extended period e.g. illness or vacation, try to reduce your food intake so thatthe excess energy that would usually be used up by your exercise wont be stored as fat.Myth number 6) Strength training makes muscles short and bulky - I want long slender muscleslike a dancer so I do yoga instead.Ive heard this one so many times now that if I had a pound for every time, Id be a rich man
  4. 4. indeed. I had a huge argument with an ex girlfriend about this very subject...needless to say Istuck to my guns and am now single! It always amazes me how common this misconception is.Muscles are the shape they are because of where they are attached to your skeleton. Theseattachment sites are referred to as Origins and Insertions. A muscle is attached to the skeleton bytendons. The point at which the tendon meets the skeleton dictates if a muscle will appear long orshort. These attachment sites will not move regardless of whether you engage in vigorous weighttraining or endless yoga and stretching. Its just genetics, pure and simple. Some people areblessed with long muscle bellies and short tendons, giving an appearance of long, flowingmuscles, whilst other people have shorter muscle bellies and longer tendons giving theappearance of short "bunchy" muscles. There are no special exercises that will magically changethe length of a muscle belly. Dont waste precious time doing weird and wonderful movementsalleged to lengthen your muscles. We can make our muscles bigger, firmer and improve theircondition, but their length is predetermined - if you dont like the length of your muscles, blameyour folks, not your weight training routine.Myth number 7) Strength training just takes too long and I have to go too often - I dont have time!When I here this one, its safe to make the assumption that this woman has trained with a manwho fancies him self as a bit of a bodybuilder and has been exposed to the multi day split systemof training. With the split training system, different muscles are trained on different days e.g.Monday is legs, Tuesday is chest, Wednesday is back, Thursday is shoulders, and Friday is arms(ready for a weekend out in town wearing a T shirt 2 sizes too small!). This type of training is finefor bodybuilders but for the majority of exercisers it requires way too much time in the gym.The average exerciser should seldom adopt a split training programme and instead stick to wholebody weight training sessions where the body is exercised as a single synergistic unit. Whole bodytraining is time efficient, easy to plan and requires only 2-3 hours of gym time a week, leaving lotsof time to do other things.By using exercises which are deemed to be "compound" i.e. there is movement at more than onjoint, we can work multiple muscle groups at the same time. By way of an example, to work thelower body effectively using isolation exercises (an exercise where movement is limited to onejoint only) you would have to perform 6 exercises ... leg extensions, leg curls, hip extensions, hipadductions, hip abductions and calf raises. Or, we could just do squats. Weight training really canbe that simple and straight forward.It is possible to train the entire body using just 6 exercises and still have time to perform somecardio or core work and be finished in an hour or less. Organise the 6 exercises into a circuit andyou have an amazingly effective fat burning/cardio workout in the time it takes the average maletrainer to do his guns workout!So ladies, leave those split routines to the bodybuilders. Smart woman do whole body workouts.Myth 8) I cant strength train because I have back/knees/shoulder pain.Which came first - the chicken or the egg? Its the same for this myth. Is your back/knee/shoulderpain because you dont weight train? Once a doctor has given the all clear and confirmed that any
  5. 5. pain is not due to musculoskeletal or neurological injury, its not uncommon to find that after a fewweeks of corrective weight training chronic aches and pains start to disappear. The body is anamazing machine - far more complex than any automobile. To run at optimum efficiency, it needsto have all its parts working in balance. By balance, I mean our muscles (which are generallyarranged in opposing pairs on either side of a skeletal joint) need to be equally toned. If muscleson one side of a joint are stronger than those found on the opposite side, a dysfunctional joint willdevelop and pain may well be the result. Many of our day to day tasks are unidirectional requiringthe use of muscles on one side of a joint only. This means that within a pair, one muscle maybestronger than the muscle that opposes it.With prescribed weight training exercises, we can rebalance the muscles on either side of a jointand return that joint to full function. Strengthening the lower back can cure lower back pain,strengthening the muscles of the thigh (the quadriceps and hamstrings) can prevent knee pain,strengthening the muscles of the upper back can improve posture and prevent neck pain.Some time ago, I had an email personal training client. The deal was I would write a programmeand the client would take it to her local gym and the resident instructor would then teach her theexercises. This client was suffering from some lower back pain which had been attributed tomuscle weakness so we agreed that she needed to improve the strength of her back and Iprescribed dead lifts. The instructor, on hearing about the clients bad back removed the dead liftsfrom her programme and replaced this great exercise with the leg curl machine. Needless to say,when I heard about this I was aggrieved! What the instructor failed to realise was the client had 3growing children who regularly needed to be picked up and carried and she needed to prepare herback for the rigours of this frequent occurrence and the fact the kids were getting heavier all thetime! She NEEDED to dead lift! Weak muscles shouldnt be favoured or ignored but challenged sothat they cease to be weak.Im sure many more myths are still yet to be busted so if you know of any others please feel free todrop me a line so I can expose them to the world! Im sure you can now see, weight training is anessential form of exercise suitable for almost everyone - young and old, male and female. Thehuge benefits that can be gained from lifting weights (improved strength, bone density, muscletone, joint stability, posture, fitness etc) far out weight any perceived risks so I strongly urge you totake up weight training and reap the rewards. You body will thank you for it!Before undertaking any new exercise programme, always consult your doctor and seekprofessional instruction as faulty exercise technique can result in serious injury.Patrick Dale. Source:
  6. 6. ====Are You Overweight? You Need To Read This: ====