Common myths about getting a flat belly

Clinical and sports nutritionist Shwetha Bhatia says that one of the common misconceptions that people have when it comes to exercising belly fat is that spot reduction is the answer. “People believe they can achieve a flat tummy by doing 1000+ crunches a day. Fat actually accumulates in that area due to the genetic tendency for the fat storage there. How you lose it, depends on your genetic make-up. When a structured diet and fitness program are followed, all fat cells are equally targeted. Nevertheless, the fat cells in the abdominal area have fewer receptors for release and more receptors for storage.”

Shalini Bhargava, founder and director of JG’S Fitness Centre, explains further: “The abdominal muscles are covered by a layer of adipose and fat and unless that is not reduced, the muscles will not be seen. No doubt that crunches will strengthen the ab muscles and the tone will be set but unless the covering layer of fat is not removed, these will not be seen.”

Another widely accepted myth is diet-related. Nutritionist Rina Baliga of Gold Gym says, “A universal misreading that people have is that you need to avoid carbohydrates or starve in order to get a flat stomach. The truth is that you can consume carbohydrates and still slim down. You need to include wholesome carbs such as brown rice, whole grains and oatmeal and you need to avoid refined carbohydrates and processed food.”

Fitness solutions for a flat tummy

The first thing to remember when it comes to fat reduction on the belly, says fitness guru Vinod, is that spot reduction absolutely does not work. “If you focus on developing bigger muscles in legs or back, you will burn more in an hour as compared to working on the smaller muscles in your abdomen. No matter what part of your body you workout, you burn calories and lose fat overall, not from that specific spot.”

Include Yoga, breathing or Pranayam and other exercises like calisthenics, aerobics or cardio activity with brisk walks on a regular basis. Exercises when done regularly will not only improve your stamina, strength and flexibility but boost your metabolism resulting in more weight loss. The following exercises are excellent for the abs and need to be included in your schedule crunches, reverse crunches, leg raises, sit-ups and side bends. Also include yoga stretches like surya namaskar, naukasan, bhujangasan and dhanurasna which are stabilizers and core-strengthening exercises.

Also important is strength training. Do strength training to build muscle. It will increase your metabolism, so you’ll burn calories faster overtime.

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