Marsh column: Here is how to banish that belly fat!

Published 12:00 am Monday, August 11, 2008

By Ester Marsh
For the Salisbury Post
Q. I am doing so well with my weight loss and exercising but my belly is not going away. How can I get rid of the fat around the middle? I am walking and running now.
A. Good for you! I am excited that you have accomplished those things. As you probably have read before is that it takes time, and very hard work, to get your body in shape. I’ll get into the cardio part but I also want you to start a weightlifting program.
Too many women are scared that if they lift weights their muscles will “pop” up. Believe me, it doesn’t happen that easily.
The reason you should do weights is that weight-bearing exercise helps prevent osteoporosis, a disease where the bone density is reduced that leads to an increased risk of fracture. Weightlifting can actually reverse osteopenia, a condition where bone density is lower than normal.
And most of all it will put a bigger “engine” in your body!
A what?!
By doing weights, more of your muscle fibers will be involved and therefore burn more calories. It is like changing your body from a 4-cylinder to a V-8 engine. It takes a lot more gas when you have a V-8!
Now let’s look at your cardio workout. Make sure you stay in your target heart rate (THR). To find your THR you deduct your age from 220. That sum is your maximum heart rate (MHR).
THR is between 55 percent (low end) to 95 percent (high end). I mention this because there are people out there who exercise every day but are below their THR and ask me why nothing is changing. You have to challenge your body to make the changes you want.
Like I said before, it is HARD work and it takes a lot of PATIENCE!
If you can get two days of weightlifting in for about 30-45 minutes you are on the right track.
A weightlifting workout can look like this:
– Warm-up and stretch óabout 10 minutes.
– Chest press machine ó 2 sets of 10-12 reps.
– Pectoral machine ó 2 sets of 10-12 reps
– Lat pull machine ó 2 sets of 10-12 reps
– Low row machine ó 2 sets of 10-12 reps
– Leg press machine ó 2 sets of 10-12 reps.
– Leg extension machine ó 2 sets of 10-12 reps.
– Leg-curl machine ó 2 sets of 10-12 reps.
– Shoulder press machine ó 2 sets of 10-12 reps.
– Biceps machine ó 2 sets of 10-12 reps.
– Triceps machine ó 2 sets of 10-12 reps.
– Abdominal machineó2 sets of 25 reps.
– Stretch!
Are you ready to put that bigger engine in your body?
Good luck and let me know how it goes!

Ester Marsh is associate executive director of the J.F. Hurley Family YMCA. Contact her with health and fitness questions at 704-636-0111 or