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Contrary to what many people believe, doing thousands of sit-ups or crunches will not get you closer to achieving six pack abdominals. Both belly bulge and love handles are about excess body fat, NOT lack of muscle, that’s why abdominal exercises alone are not the solution. Achieving a flat stomach is all about workouts that impact different muscle groups of the body at the same time — so you’re strengthening your entire body and burning more calories.
Each workout should be a combination of strength training and cardio exercises (4-8 exercises) that are performed directly after one another, with little or no rest in between. When all the exercises are performed, you go back to the beginning and do them again, repeat this 3-4 times. A typical circuit-training workout will get your heart rate up and impact a variety of muscles, not just one body part, which is the best way to burn off belly fat.
I’m not going to tell you to abstain from alcohol completely, I’m pretty open about how much I enjoy a glass of wine from time to time. But when you’re trying to lose weight and get fit, alcohol is the ultimate enemy. Basically, carbohydrates have 4 calories per gram, but alcohol is a super carbohydrate and has 7 calories per gram. Alcohol also releases oestrogen into the bloodstream and when you have excess oestrogen, you’re more prone to hold onto weight. Ever seen a man(or woman!) with a beer belly? It’s the excess oestrogen causing that fat and inhibiting muscle growth.
Alcohol also lowers your inhibitions, decreases your willpower and stimulates your appetite. The result? Eating take away food at 11.30pm.Now that is definitely not the route to a rock hard six pack. Also, the body processes 1 unit of alcohol per hour. So imagine that you have yourself 4 glasses of wine in an evening, this adds up to roughly 10 units of alcohol consumed. During the following 10 hours, your body will not burn off a single fat cell and will store any calories that have consumed during this period as fat. This is because the livers main goal is to remove toxins from the body, so processing and burning off body fat becomes its secondary goal, once the alcohol has been removed.
Dehydrated and tired? Let go work out then? No? Exactly. When you’re hung-over you’re also not in the mood to exercise, you’re usually only in the mood to lounge around, so the calories are still clocking up and so are your fat cells.
First of all let’s get one thing straight, the core muscles are not just your stomach muscles, but they are in fact your abdominals, back and glute(butt) muscles combined. All of these muscles need to be strong, flexible and working in synergy with one another to achieve a strong core.
Now get ready to learn The Plank. This exercise is a powerful move that targets your core muscles, practices balance, and strengthens your chest and back muscles. This pose is not as easy as it looks or sounds, but trust me, the effects are well worth the extra effort it takes to master this move.
Plank: Start in a push-up position, except keep your hands directly under your shoulders instead of outside your chest. You can always lower to your elbows if this is uncomfortable for your wrists(see below). Legs should be straight out behind you with feet together, bottom gently tucked under. You are balancing on your palms and the balls of your feet. Hold this static contraction for as long as you can. Work your way up to a minute, and then challenge yourself to hold the pose even longer.
What I love about the plank is that there are so many different variations: side plank, reverse plank, plank-ups, plank twists and more. Different types of planks target different core muscles, so do yourself a favour and work a plank move into at least one of your daily circuits. You’ll love the quick results.
There is nothing to love about love handles and there’s no quick fix solution to getting rid of them. Sorry, but it’s true! Targeting “problem areas” is tough because fat is burned systematically across the body according to your own unique genetics. Focusing on one region of the body won’t make fat disappear altogether, but there are some exercises that will bring blood, and thus oxygen, to these problem areas and I believe that this oxidization will help break down the fat. So focus on exercises that basically warm up(to touch) the area that you want to reduce and stay motivated and patient for at least 6 weeks and you will see the results.
First of all, let’s get something straight, all processed foods need to go. Get rid of the potato chips, microwave dinners, and definitely put an end to those fast food fixes. The sodium, preservatives and sugars alone will help keep your belly looking bloated and defeat your efforts. Replace the junk food with whole, quality, organic foods that are packed with healthy nutrients, not preservatives. Then, work these three foods into your diet for maximum belly-fat burn.
Bloating isn’t all in your head. It is possible to carry extra water weight in and around your stomach. To beat the bloat, decrease your sodium intake to 1,500 mg a day and increase your water consumption to at least 2 litres a day. It’s easy to start monitoring your sodium intake by reading food labels. Limiting the amount of sodium you consume will help you reduce your water retention and look leaner in your clothes.
Hope this helps,
Faye believes each body requires a minimum input of a particular essential fitness ingredient, be it: a cleaner diet, clearer mindset, better scheduled training sessions, more relaxation, some functional training or just a general lifestyle tweak or two.