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There is enough evidence to suggest that you cannot lose belly fat by just exercising your abs. It is best to target whole body fat and opt for a combination of aerobic exercises and resistance training.
Abdominal muscles, popularly known as the abs have become a symbol of fitness and are a part of all major work out regimens. People seem to be obsessed about ways to get those 6 packs.
Many fitness experts believe that abs, when done correctly can help in getting rid of that stubborn belly fat. But do these ab exercises seriously burn that belly fat? Read on to find out: Firstly, let us try and understand what abdominal muscles are.
Abdominal muscles are a group of muscles that help stabilize your core. They also help you when you are breathing, assist a wide range of movements, protect your vital organs and provide balance and support. There are four main abdominal muscles:
It is essential that all of these muscles are strong and in optimal working condition. When abdominal muscles are strong, they improve posture and balance and reduce back ache.
Excessive abdominal fat also known as the belly fat has been linked to risk of diabetes and heart ailments. But all of the abdominal fat is not the same. There are 2 types of abdominal fat- subcutaneous fat and visceral fat.
This is that fat which you can pinch and feel. It is located right under your skin between your skin and muscles. This fat has not been directly linked to risk of metabolic diseases like diabetes and heart diseases.
This is the fat that is stored in the abdominal cavity, surrounding your internal organs. Visceral fat is the kind of fat that has been associated with metabolic syndrome which includes diseases like type 2 diabetes and heart diseases. Also, visceral fat releases certain compounds that affect various disease related processes in the body.
Most people opt for ab exercises since they want to get rid of belly fat. However, studies suggest that just doing ab exercises (spot reduction), hoping to burn belly fat, is not effective.
The term "spot reduction" refers to the misconception that you could get rid of fat in one spot by doing exercises for that particular part of the body. Human body however does not function that way. You may feel the burn when you do spot training workouts, since the muscles around that area are getting strengthened.
But studies suggest that this won’t help you get rid of the belly fat.
One reason why the targeted fat loss may not work is because muscle cells cannot use the fat contained in fat cells directly. Fat needs to be broken down before it can reach the blood stream. This fat could come from anywhere in the body and not from that body part which is undergoing spot training. Also doing crunches is not very effective when it comes to burning calories.
There is a saying "Abs are made in the kitchen, not the gym." This is somewhat true, since what you eat impacts your body fat.
There is enough evidence to suggest that you cannot lose belly fat by just exercising your abs. It is best to target whole body fat and opt for a combination of aerobic exercises and resistance training, such as lifting weights. This, coupled with creating a calorie deficit by eating healthy will help you get rid of whole body fat, including belly fat. Have good amount of protein, whole foods and fiber and practice portion control to burn body fat. All these methods will help you burn calories, boost your metabolism and help you lose belly fat.
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