This is one of the most frequently asked questions, both on the Internet and in clubs. Tummy and bellies are what we definately don't want to come to terms with. Let's start from the beginning and finally clear up some myths.
Myth #1: you must do hundreds of crunches, conflicts and bends every day (e.g. Weider's 6 Pack) to get rid of fat.
Unfortunately, 90% of the effects of reducing body fat depends on a properly selected DIET. If you do not change the diet and you are going to gorge on sausages, white bread, and then drink it with sweetened drinks and beer, your whole work will go o waste. Paradoxically, even the heaviest workouts without changes in nutrition produce minimal effects. Even if you are going to crucify yourself with crunches all day long, you will still look the same. When it comes to "Weider's 6 Pack training"-the idea of a day-in-day-out training of abdominal muscles is rather misguided. A risk of injury and back overtraining is very high. Abdominal muscles should be exercised 1-2 times a week, and no more. If you do strength training with squats, deadlift, bench press, clean and jerk or other weight lifting exercises, your stomach will receive a huge boost for growth! In this case, limit the abdominal workouts. Additional intense muscle training aimed at body stabilization will not only be redundant, but also, in most cases, harmful!
Myth #2: "crunches" is a good stomach exercise.
Unfortunately, it does not produce results in the form of body fat reduction, and instead it can lead to a spine injury (e.g. in the cervical section).
The best abdominal training includes:
- short muscle tenses (scissors, knee-to-chest + isometric muscle contraction - keeping one position on time),
- Russian twist (rotation with weights),
- knees-to-chest in suspension,
- legs over obstacle while in suspension.
Conventional crunches are not effective. There was a man who used to do three hundred crunches after each workout. When I showed him stomach tensions with extra weight, he was unable to do 15 repetitions.
Myth #3: fat reduction is effective only while running in low-intensity aerobic phase (60-70% of HR; low heart rate)
Unfortunately, observations on a group of 13 000 runners have brought surprising results: every year they were getting fatter – even those who would do over 68 kms a week! A paradox is that running at a steady pace does not only appear to be less efficient at fat burning; it could potentially affect lower carbohydrate management (and cause diabetes in the future). One of studies proved that workout in the atmosphere with high concentration of electric smog (like in fitness clubs) leads to insulin resistance (worse carbohydrates management, more fat stored in your body).
Conclusions? You want to have problems with fat? Go on with treadmills (do not run outdoor!) and forget about intervals. Seriously, you need to remember that all treadmills, bikes and steppers prevent you from fat burning. Researches clearly indicate that interval training is a much more effective solution than any aerobic.
How do I enter intervals to my plan? In its simplest form, the interval training is a high intensity workout (85-90% HR) alternating with low intensity (65-75%) or simply change the pace of running/cycling/swimming etc. What is HR? Check definitions!
The MOST EFFECTIVE intervals are:
- running (15 seconds of sprint, 15-45 seconds of resting); Repeat 8-12 times
- additional weight exercises done on time (eg. TABATA),
What is HR? HR = Heart Rate = number of heartbeats per minute.
What is HR MAX? Maximum heart rate adjusted to the type of activity and one's age. In order to calculate it number of heartbeats per minute is monitored during a training. This parameter tells us about our current condition (the smaller the pulse rate of the work – the better trained person) and body capability. In the beginning you should calculate maximal heart rate for yourself. There are may ways to do it, and one of them is: HR MAX (maximum heart rate) = 220 - age. So a 30-year-old should have maximum heart rate (HR MAX) at appx. 190 beats per minute.
What does it mean 65-75% HR? Estimate your HR MAX, for example = 190 heartbeats per minute. Then multiply 0.65 x 190 = ~ 123 beats per minute, 0.75 x 190 = 142 heartbeats per minute. This is the correct scope of work for a man at the age of 30 who aims at body fat reduction. You should bear it in mind, though, that you ought to include intervals into your training from time to time (85-90% HR and more) since aerobic training (low-intensity training) will cease to be an effective tool in fat reduction.
Myth #4: it is worth wearing belts and warm clothes to get rid of body fat faster.
Unfortunately, faster water removal (through sweating) does not correspond to body fat reduction. Conclusion? Never judge a workout by the amount of sweat ("if I sweated so badly, it must have been a great training!".)
Myth #5: "sauna is useful for body fat reduction".
And the cryochamber is good for muscle mass increase? Unfortunately, staying in a high temperature environment has little effect on metabolism and fat burning. As mentined in myth number four: the amount of sweat does not mean that there has been greater energy expenditure or any effect on metabolism.
Myth #6: "local fat burning is possible".
Unfortunately, this is only possible through surgical intervention. No training and no wonderful dietary supplement will let you get rid of fat only from a selected part of your body.
To Sum Up:
- Normalize your meals, introduce changes in your diet, put emphasis on restrictions in carbohydrates consumption, especially of simple ones (sweetened drinks, candy, snacks, white bread, carbo/vitargo, gainers). Deliver more valuable proteins and fats (olive oil, linseed oil, nuts).
- Start running 2-4 times a week for 20-40 minutes at the spead of at least 9 kph.
- After some time introduce interval training plan (8-10 intervals, then aerobic training lasting for 20-30 minutes)
- Do the FWB strength training 3 times a week for 60-80 minutes (3-6 series on a given muscle, 2-3 minutes of resting between series, 75-85% of CM).
The effects of changing exercise levels on weight and age-related weight gain.; Int J Travel Outside The Body (London Eye). 2006 Mar; 30 (3): 543-51.
Charles Poliquin-"Five answers to five stupid comments from male clients"