Fat Loss Myths – or How to Get a Flat Stomach

Getting a six pack can be a hard task and many people have tried to get a flat stomach doing lots of abdominal exercises. There are countless exercises for this muscle group and fitness models present their perfectly sculptured and flat stomach in almost every exercise video. But why do so many people struggle to get a flat stomach and what is the best way to achieve this goal? Are countless abdominal exercises really the best way to get this six pack and impress your partner? Do crunches burn fat?

You might be surprised to hear that abdominal exercises do hardly anything to flatten your stomach. Of course they help build muscles, but they do not actually help you loose fat.

It is first of all important to note that there are different body types, which contributes to how easy or hard it will be to have a flat stomach. The three major groups of body type are: endomorph (naturally short and stocky), mesomorph (naturally muscular and relatively lean) and ectomorph (naturally lean and slim). It is harder for endomorphic body types to obtain a flat stomach and ectomorphs often have flat stomachs.

This is genetic predisposition and part of the natural beauty of human diversity. It may not make your goals easy, depending on your body type, but you will have to work with this.

In addition, fat cells are deposited in the body at certain parts at a very young age, dependent on genetic factors and diet. These cells can increase in numbers and size but everyone’s “problem areas” are defined at young age. Again, as an adult you cannot do anything about that.

Fat loss is dependent on energy consumption and not muscular exercise. Thus, only cardiovascular exercise can really influence your weight loss, concomitant with dieting. It is an old myth that crunches will burn fat in the stomach. On the contrary, independent on what weight exercises you do, fat will be burned on the same spots of the body dependent on the energy consumption of the exercise.

Thus, it is important to perform cardiovascular exercise in conjunction with your weight training. For sure, crunches will always be important to sculpture a six pack, but it will be hidden behind some padding if you do not perform fat burning cardiovascular exercises in addition.

The intensity of cardiovascular exercise is important

What may also be against general belief, at least from my experience, is that long slow endurance cardiovascular training is the best form of exercise for fat loss. On the contrary, it has been shown that high intensity cardiovascular training (such as sprinting, fast cycling, high intensity sessions on the ergometer etc.) is much better at burning fat than prolonged medium impact exercise.

The Combo Work-out

A great way to loose fat is a combination of strength and cardiovascular exercise. This prevents loosing muscle doing prolonged cardiovascular exercise. If you’re after fat loss, aside from accelerating it, strength training will also preserve muscle. Thus, when the fat is gone, you’ll have a lean, athletic body to show for it.

In summary: Abdominal exercises make your abs look great— but only once that layer of fat on top of them is gone. But working your abs is not the way to a flat belly, and crunches are not even the best way to work your abdominal muscles. We will soon report on great exercises for your abs, which will help you define your stomach. In the meantime you may want to start your fat loss now …

Images reproduced from: http://how-do-i-get-a-six-pack.com, http://customizefatloss.com/ and http://www.tnafitness.com

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About Sebastian Müller

Sebastian Müller was born and raised in Leipzig/Germany and moved to England as an adolescent. He is a trained research chemist and geneticist and is currently working as a postdoctoral researcher at the Institut Curie in Paris/ France working in cancer research. He obtained his Ph.D. from the University of Cambridge and is still actively involved at the university today. He is fluent in English, German and French and has many fortés and interests including science, philosophy, linguistics, history, competitive sports such as rowing, fitness and nutrition. He is a freelance writer also drawing from his experience as an author in peer-reviewed scientific journals. "I love writing and putting my thoughts down on paper. The written word to me is one of the most powerful ways of conveying thoughts and initiating discussions."
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