Forget about the infomercials you’ve seen promising a toned tummy from a magic machine; bikini-baring abs don’t come from isolated abdominal exercises! In fact, I'm sorry to tell you, no singular act will get rid of belly fat…
But, here's what you can do. You need a comprehensive workout to lose fat everywhere and then zero in on your middle. Here's your blueprint for success!
What you need:
- Cardio machine (or the great outdoors!)
- Stop watch
- 8-15 pound dumbbells
- Yoga mat
Step 1: Zone Out
30 minutes of cardio at 70 percent of your max heart rate (MHR), four times a week.
Most people don’t work hard enough during their cardio sessions. I see the “cardio queens” all the time – they’re always on the elliptical but they don’t lose weight because they’re not working in their heart rate zone. To make sure you are sweating enough to burn the fat layer off your abs, wear a heart rate monitor and stay at 70 % of your max heart rate for 30 minutes (remember to take 5-10 minutes to warm-up).
If you don’t have a heart rate monitor, you can figure out your target heart rate with this equation: 220 minus your age x 70% = THR.
So if you were 30 years old, its 220-30 = 190. Then 190 X 0.7 = 133 beats per minute.
Then take that number and divide it by six to know how many heartbeats you need per 10 seconds. (so in the example its 133 /6 = 22 beats per min).
Step 2: Lift Off
15 minutes, four times a week.
Resistance training is a must! When you combine cardio in your zone with resistance training, studies show it’s more effective than just doing cardio alone to get rid of abdominal fat. Work your major muscle groups to maximize calories burned. Repeat this workout 3 times, doing each exercise for one minute:
Push-ups: Start face down on the mat, arms straight, hands placed slightly wider than shoulder width. Keeping the body straight, bend arms at the elbows and lower body on the mat. Straighten arms and repeat.
- Single-arm row: Hold a dumbbell in each hand; bend forward at your waist so that your chest is leaning forward over your feet. Keep your knees slightly bent, your feet shoulder width apart. Start with your arms fully extended below your chest lift or ‘row’ the dumbbells up to the side of your torso, one arm at a time. keeping elbows at a 90 degree angle. Return to the start position and repeat.
- Squats: Stand with your feet a little more than shoulder width apart, spine straight, bend your knees until thighs are parallel to the floor, push off heels to stand and repeat. Holding a weight is optional.
- Plank: Lie face down on a mat, push off the floor, keeping forearms on the mat, elbows under shoulders, rising up onto toes. Keep your back flat, in a straight line from head to heels. Tilt your pelvis so your bum doesn’t stick up in the air!
Ab-alicious Diet Tips
There are certain foods that are much better to eat than others if you are trying to whittle your middle. In a recent study, people who ate whole grains (in addition to five servings of fruits and vegetables) lost more belly fat than a group that ate the same diet, but with all white grains. Also, trans fats (in margarine, crackers, cookies – anything made with partially hydrogenated oils) are more likely to send fat right to your stomach, so avoid these as much as you can.
There you have it, your belly fat zapping blueprint for success!
Elena Ciccotelli is the founder/CEO of TrainerDiva, Inc., an in home personal training company that serves the Greater Philadelphia Region. To learn more about TrainerDiva and to get free fit tips in your in-box each and every Monday- visit TrainerDiva.com