When it comes to getting abs, everybody wants to know the most efficient exercises to get rid of belly fat. Sadly, most people won’t ever get a visible six pack. Most of the time, the main problem is not their lack of training or motivation but the way they train and eat.
I can bet you’ve heard at least one time that in order to get visible abs, you have to burn the fat by doing abs. Maybe someone told you. Maybe you’ve read it on the internet.
How I Started
When I first started going to a gym, I was doing countless abs. Every day. I really liked reading fitness magazines. I was always impressed by most guys that were appearing on the front page of those magazines. They all had nicely defined six pack abs. I think this was the force behind my motivation to do daily crunches at that time.
I was doing hundreds every day. I didn’t know at that time that I was doing them in vain. They didn’t help me with anything other than adding a bit of muscle mass to my core.
It would be superb if there would be a way to burn fat from a specific area of your body. Butt, thigh, abdomen, love handles, you name it. Burn everything with the help of just one exercise: the almighty crunch.
Sadly, burning the fat from your belly area with the help of crunches, is a sad myth. I will tell you why’s that, in a moment. I will also tell you why abdominal exercises are the worst method of building rock hard abs, or and lose the fat around them. Not only that but I will also give you a solution to this problem. Take a look at the picture below:
It’s the same thing as with my 6-year transformation. I got visible abs without doing any cardio, abdominal exercises like crunches, or any „special” dieting at all. I don’t even remember the last time I used a treadmill. I don’t even know how to use it. I don’t do these things. For me, cardio means slow paced walk, having a good time walking. That’s all. Don’t you believe me?
If you would have asked me this question 5 years ago, I would’ve probably been skeptic about it. But I don’t blame you if you still believe it’s possible to burn the fat around your midsection by doing abdominal exercises.
It’s not your fault!
The idea of burning fat around your abs started years ago. Nobody knows exactly the source of this myth, but I suspect it all started with the appearance of the first bodybuilders.
This myth is also fueled by the supplement industry that continuously pumps out „fat burning” supplements. You know? The famous ads with pills that „burn belly fat”. Where’s the efficiency of those pills?
Usually, the only proof I see when it comes to most “belly fat burner” type of supplement is on the pages where they sell it. And nowhere else. Most of the time, nobody else gets the same results.
You know, most people believe that if they take a pill, they will lose the belly fat irrespective of their eating habits. They believe that if they swallow that pill, the fat will burn like magic. Yes, I would also like to see such a pill.
The Science Of Getting Rid Of Belly Fat
Imagine that you have a canister of petrol. To use it as a fuel for your car, you should transform it into gas. Logically, your car won’t work with petrol. Imagine that the fat on your abs is the same as that petrol. Your body can’t use it directly as a fuel. Before he can do that, he has to convert it into a form of fuel he can burn.
Before I tell you what are the studies telling us about belly fat burning, let me show you how fat burning works. It’s very easy:
Fat burning is a 2-way process. The first part is about the energy release from you fat storage. Fat is released into your blood stream under the form of fatty acids. The second part is about burning those fatty acids that are being released into the blood. This is how we burn fat.
The sad part is that your body can’t take this fat from a specific area. He tries to take it from all over your body. This is the way it works. It converts your body fat into fuel that he can burn. When you want to get rid of belly fat by doing thousands of crunches or exercises to get a flat stomach, your body might use a bit of energy from there.
Sadly, if I can put it this way, that energy is not coming just from your abdominal area. Your body will also derive energy from other areas of your body like chest, back, legs, etc. The muscles under your abdominal fat can’t burn fat from that local area. Why?
Fatty acids are released into your blood stream to be burned. Everything’s fine until here. But blood flow and muscle tissue are separated. The fat your body will mobilize will be „thrown” into local circulation.
As stated above, if you abdominal muscles can’t use the fat that’s being mobilized from that area, then we have a busted myth. The simple conclusion is that you are training your abs with no real results. Your abs can’t burn the fat that’s covering them. It is structurally impossible. But I promised you I will talk about scientific studies. Let me give you an example:
A study that analyzed fat burning from a specific body area came to these conclusions:
Ten people did certain exercises for 30 minutes. From estimations, these exercises burned between 0.6 and 2.1 milligrams of fat. Yes, you’ve heard me right. Milligrams. Let’s suppose you have to burn around 10 Kg of body fat from your abdominal area.
Local exercise (crunches), might mobilize between 0.6-2.1 milligrams of fat for each 100 grams of body fat. With the help of some small calculations, this means that for each 10 Kg of body fat, 30 minutes of exercise mobilizes around 60-210 milligrams of fat.
Insignificant. You see?
10 Kg of body fat contains around 8.880 grams of fat. Can you imagine how long it would take you to burn all that fat? If you are burning between 60 to 210 milligrams for every 30 minutes.
I think you would have to do billions of crunches to burn that fat. Impossible. It’s way easier to get rid of that fat by keeping a diet, and doing some sports.
The Fundamentals Of Getting A Six Pack
- Create a caloric deficit – you can do this by increasing the number of exercises you do, increasing your overall daily activity, or reducing the quantity of food you are consuming each day
- Train with weights – by doing this, your muscle mass and strength will grow. If you want to lose fat, it will be way easier to maintain muscle mass while dieting
- Have a balanced diet – Eat foods with high protein content like meat and cheese but don’t forget vegetables and fruits.
- Move around – take a walk, do some jogging. Any kind of activity burns calories. Any type of movement you make helps you progress further. Little by little, it counts
- Reduce foods that are high in fat content – foods like oils and seeds. It’s not because they make you fat by themselves. It is easy to overeat them. They are high in calories.
- Reduce processed foods and sweets – These are also foods that can be high in fats and calories. Stay away from frequent consumption of processed foods and sweets. People that produce them take care to „help” you by making them extremely tasty. It’s all about your will here.
Six simple steps. Even if these steps are generalized, they are fundamental. Don’t forget the fundamentals. They are the key to a well-built body.
Wrapping It Up
Localized fat loss through exercise is a myth. To be honest with you, I can’t understand how is it so well promoted. And it’s not the only myth that’s circulating around for years. Believe me, there are lots of things out there that don’t work, and you might be doing them for nothing. I will tell you in some future articles.
If you want to get a six pack, improve your health, or just progress to a better body, my suggestion for you is to concentrate on your overall training routine, and the food you are consuming every day. Doing the so-called “exercises to get rid of belly fat”, won’t help at all.
I see so many people that still got the impression that if they are going to a gym, and keep doing abs, they will somehow get a six pack. I don’t judge people for doing that. I remember how I was many years ago.
It is hard to change the mentality of other people when they are living inside their own inner world where their logic can’t be challenged without a guaranteed loss. But there’s a saying from where I am coming: Who wants to learn, can learn and progress. Who is not interested in learning and getting better, can keep getting the same results.
Doing crunches or any type of abdominal exercise is irrelevant. Do them for a functional purpose or to strengthen your core. Do them to increase the size of your abdominal muscles. But if the main reason why you are doing crunches or any other type of exercise, is to get rid of belly fat, just drop it.
Concentrate on your diet and training. And forget about the saying „I am doing abs so I can get a well defined six pack”. Now, if someone asks you how many crunches should he do to get abs , send him to this article.
This is my first article. I would appreciate if you will share it with your Facebook friends or anywhere else you want. Also, what’s your opinion about getting a nicely made six pack? What are you currently doing that you hope it will get you abs?