Ask Trainer Jake: How to reduce belly fat
Q: I seem to have put on some weight around my belly, but my other body parts haven’t gotten bigger. Why does the weight go to my belly and how do I burn it? Will crunches help?
This is a question I hear quite often; many people want to see a more defined core. It seems logical that if you target that area, you will see results, right? I mean after all, don’t we see people who do thousands of bicep curls have ripped arms? The answer, plain and simply, is no. Crunches and sit-ups, or other variations of ab exercises, activate the muscles, therefore strenthening, but does not burn fat in that area. The muscles are developing under the layer of fatty tissue; essentially doing nothing to the fatty tissue above the muscle.
The next question is then “well I’m still working out, so wouldn’t working that area decrease the fat?” The way in which body burns fat is systemically. It does not decide to take fat from one area over another. In short, there is no such thing as reducing fat in one specific area. Everybody is different, therefore everybody stores fat in different places. For example, some people tend to put on weight around their abdomen, for other it is their hips. The reason for this is genetics. You cannot change the way you are built (where your body chooses to store fat), however you can change the amount of muscle or fatty tissue present on your body at a given time.
Changing the amount of fat on one’s body requires a change in diet and exercise. Pay attention to portion sizes, increase vegetable intake, and understand what you are putting into your body. Try to eat high protein, low fat foods. As for exercise, chose and activity that challenges you, yet is enjoyable. If you are unsure what you enjoy, I suggest trying a variety of different activities. You are bound to find something you like! Whatever activity it is, make sure you are increasing your heart rate. The higher intensity, the more calories you will burn. Go out and get that heart pumping!