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THE BEST EXERCISES FOR A FLAT STOMACH


How to go from Flab to Chiselled Abs

On the high road to fitness, there are many imponderables. Like why, when it comes to starting an exercise programme, does a body at rest prefer, by nature, to stay at rest? Why do you always have to look pathetic in your jogging suit? And why-oh-why can you exercise and lose weight, build muscle, gain energy — but never flatten your abdomen?

It's a problem that becomes particularly loathsome as your metabolism begins to slow down after age 30. The first place you start depositing more and more fat is around your waist, although it may take you as long as a decade to realize that your middle is spreading and sagging.

Even if you're self-disciplined enough to resolve at New Year to "do something" about shrinking that stubborn gut, you realize by March that it's not as simple as dieting and exercising every

day to a Super Callanetics video. You may lose inches around your waist, even get a fairly firm abdomen, but taut and flat it is not.     

Are you doing something wrong? Are there any guaranteed ways to ungird that gut? What if we told you that there's only one fitness formula that will work?

Getting back the washboard stomach you once had involves a holistic approach because no one exercise is going to get you there. You've got to burn all the fat sitting on top of those abdominal muscles, and you've got to strengthen and tone the muscles themselves. And you've got to work at both goals together.

The Best Exercise for Fat Burn is continuous, moderate-intensity exercise that gets your heart rate up to around 60% of its maximum. Workouts like power-walking, jogging, running, swimming, cycling, exercycling, stair-climbing, working on a treadmill, all fit the bill.

It takes time for your body to mobilize its fat stores when you exercise. For 9 in 10 persons, 20 minutes is set-up time during which your body is burning mainly carbohydrates (sugar). But if you keep going beyond 20 minutes, your body will begin to burn fat.

You'll burn some fat if you exercise continuously for 30 minutes. If you continue for another 15 minutes, you’ll probably burn twice as much fat as if you'd stopped at 30.

That is why the emphasis is on 'moderate' intensity. If you're going too hard, you'll be pooped by the time you've reached the 30-minute mark and you'll not be able to carryover and last through the critical fat-burning period.

The Best Abs Toners. There are two excellent exercises for tautening and tightening up abdominals that have gone to flab:

i) The Pelvic Tilt: Lie on your back with your knees bent so that they are pointing to the ceiling. Slide one hand under the curve of your back. Keeping it there, push down and back with your abdominal muscles. If you're doing it right, you'll feel an increase in the pressure against your hand.

Hold for a count of 5. (One-one thousand, two one-thousand…). Begin with 10 contractions.

When you can comfortably do that, increase the count to 10.

Then increase the number of contractions to 20, then to 30, 40.... when you're shooting for 50 and getting there, you'll have achieved great abdominal tone.

To get even further, try doing it straight-legged. Then, standing against a wall.

ii) The Crunch: Lie on your back, knees bent, feet on the floor, and hands lightly touching your ears. Raise your head and shoulder blades off the ground in a forward-curling motion, then lower them.

Once you can do this easily, challenge yourself some more. Start with the basic crunch position. Then fold your arms over your chest and raise your chest off the floor. Take one foot, rest it on your opposite knee and do those crunches. Put your hands over your ears and bring your chest toward your knees and your knees towards your chest until they meet. Exhale when they come together; inhale when you go down.

When you're starting out, do pelvic tilts and crunches about twice a week, then build up to three or four. Your fat-burning (aerobic) exercise should be scheduled on the in-between days.

Combine this strategy with a low-fat diet and you'll see abdominal fat shed and taut muscles unveiled. How soon? In about three to four months, there should be visible changes in your tummy area. Hang in there for six months and you'll see dramatic improvements. Seems like a long time? Just think how long you took putting it on and six months will seem like a bargain. Belly fat is the last fat you lose — that's how unfair life is.

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Weight Loss

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