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Marsh column: Getting rid of belly fat

Q. Where is the machine that will make my belly go down?
A. I can tell it’s the New Year and people try to stick with their resolution. Probably the number-one question we get is: “Which machine will make my belly go down?”
First of all, you cannot spot reduce. Just because you are working a certain area does not mean the fat goes away right there. To lose weight/body fat, your calorie intake needs to be less than your calorie usage. You need to eat less than you burn in a day.
You can do that by eating fewer calories or exercising more. Most of the time, doing both will give you the greatest results ó and your body will tighten up a lot better when you include exercising.
Now remember, how long did it take you to add your belly fat? Don’t expect to have it disappear immediately just because you started exercising and eating better. With time and dedication, you can do it!
You need to do more than just do the abdominal machine or fit ball. You need to work your whole body to get rid of body fat! Yes, that includes your belly fat.
Abdominal exercises will strengthen your stomach muscles and probably tighten them but if your body fat stays the same, you won’t see the benefits of all those crunches you have been doing. (Instead of the six-pack, you will see a keg!)
So try the following;
– At least 30 minutes of cardio for at least 5 days a week. Work your way up to 45 minutes. Make sure you push yourself enough to work within your target heart rate.
To learn your target heart rate: 220 minus age equals maximum heart rate. Take that number and multiply it by .55 or .65, use your maximum heart rate again and multiply it by .75. The range between these numbers is your target heart rate between 55 to 75 percent of your maximum heart rate. If you are below that, you are wasting your precious time.
– I would like for you to do the following strength exercises, 2 sets of 12-15 repetitions.
– One chest exercise like a chest press.
– One back exercise like a lat pull.
– One leg exercise like leg press or squats.
– One shoulder exercise like side lateral raises.
– One biceps exercise like barbell curls.
– One triceps exercise like cable tricep push down.
YES, I am ready to give you more than one stomach exercise! But before I do, watch your posture at all times. Stand tall, shoulders back, chest up, and suck your belly in. Make sure you breathe, You will be amazed how it will help strengthen your abdominal muscles and enhance your appearance. Here are some stomach exercises you can do;
– 4 sets of 25 crunches on the floor. Bring belly button to “inner spine” when crunching up
– 4 sets of 20 obliques (side to side) on floor
– 4 sets of 25 leg lifts (bend knees, slightly bend legs or straight legs)
– 30 “bicycle legs”
When doing abdominal exercises, it is important to work the lower back muscles and other core muscles as well.
– Prone position (face down) “super man position” lift right arm and left leg then lift left arm and right leg. 4 sets of 20 reps.
– Plank position. Basic plank is on elbows and balls of feet óbody straight as a plank. Low option is on knees and elbows. High option is with extended arms and balls of feet. Highest option is “crocodile”óon balls of feet, hands on floor bend elbows and hover above floor.
Remember. Chest up, shoulders back and suck your gut!
Contact Ester Marsh with health and fitness questionsat 704-636-0111 or emarsh@rowanymca. com.

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