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Wednesday, 21 September 2011
Many people believe that performing endless rep after rep of crunches or situps will somehow miraculously burn away the fat from the abs but science tells us that whilst an element of spot reduction from exercise may be possible, the contribution of fat burned during an exercise comes from the overall fat supply within the body rather than from one site alone.
So trying to show off your six-pack with endless crunches is a waste of time. Sure, you’ll make the area stronger and create greater endurance (both worthy goals) but you can be sure that the fat sitting over your stomach won’t be going anywhere as a result of your efforts.
Our approach needs to be from a different perspective… such as that of our hormones.
Science has shown that where you lay your fat stores down is directly related to the action of your hormones and that you can predict how balanced or imbalanced your hormones are by looking at where you hold your fat.
If you find that your belly fat is a problem, chances are that your cortisol levels (your ‘fight or flight’ hormones) are markedly elevated due to increased stress levels and/or lack of sleep.
Whilst endlessly grinding out the abdominal exercises won’t ever help you to remove this layer of fat, simply getting to bed by 10.00 – 10.30pm 5 nights a week and taking steps to reduce your stress can often yield dramatic and rapid results.
Try supplementing with Ayurvedic supplements like Ashwaghanda and Rhodiola and taking magnesium and zinc supplements and even the most stubborn of belly fat will start to shift.
Reduce stimulants such as coffee, tea and caffeine containing sodas and replace them with green tea and Tulsi which is an excellent cortisol lowering Ayurvedic tea.
Eliminate the sugar (in all it’s guises), and reduce starches from your diet too to give the sympathetic branch of your nervous system a chance to rest and recover.
In addition, try incorporating breathing and meditation exercises into your daily routine by trying ‘cyclical breathing patterns’ that have you breathing in for 4 seconds, holding for 4 seconds and breathing out for 8 seconds for 8-10 breaths. The relaxation and oxygenation effect is amazing in reducing the amount of stress levels.
Finally, commit to shorter, more intense and more frequent workouts rather than longer ones as these create far less cortisol.