On face value it seems to make perfect sense – ‘If I do lots of sit ups, planks and ab exercises then my stomach fat should begin to melt away.’ The harsh reality, despite what the infomercials tell you, is that no amount of core and ab exercises will ‘melt’ away anything, except your valuable time.

The reason for this is fairly simple. The layer of fat that sits around your mid-section is not there because your abs are weak, unused or non-existent. It is there because that is where it was genetically pre-dispositioned to go. It is also there because over many years, or months, you have consumed too much energy (food). It is the most convenient place for our bodies to carry excess weight – even though it might not look nice.

Our bodies store this fat because at times, during our evolution as a species, we have lived through various times of feast and famine. I won’t move into the detail of this, but the human body is phenomenally adaptable and it is being able to deduce that there are times when food is scarce. In order to account for this, so we didn’t starve to death, we stored any excess energy as fat (some carbs can be stored as well, but not much) and it was kept as a reserve energy source. For men, this excess was stored around the stomach and for women it was typically stored around the waist.

But back to the original point of this article, because of the above our body will not use the energy residing as fat around our stomachs simply because we start doing core and ab exercises. Ultimately, the only thing that is going to get you the flat stomach that you probably desire is a reduction in your energy consumed (food) and an increase in the energy that you use (primarily exercise).

We all have ab muscles, even if we don’t train them. A lot of us can’t see them because they are residing under a layer of fat. But to reduce this layer of fat what we need is a well-rounded food and exercise plan that provides slightly less energy in than energy out each day. To get this balance right can be difficult and you might need some help.

If you have tried to flatten your stomach and just can’t quite get it done each of our gyms has some of the best PT’s in the industry, so please make time to speak to one. But in the meantime don’t waste your time performing a relentless amount of core and ab exercises in the hope that it alone will help to get rid of your stomach because it almost certainly will not.

Yours in Health!

Chris Dounis

Senior Personal Trainer – Fit n Fast St Peters

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