Reduce Belly Fat
Fit to the core. Fitness and fashion for a flat stomach and pain-free back.
Core training to reduce belly fat and improve your posture is currently the centre of attention. Core training targets not just the abdominals but all the muscle groups that stabilize the spine: back, side flank, lower loin, pelvic floor and diaphragm. For both men and women, these muscle groups tend to weaken with age unless specifically exercised.
Both men and women have a natural girdle — the core muscles. In fact, toned core muscles may be the best control you can give yourself. Dr. Doug Richards, medical director of the David L. Macintosh Sport Medicine Clinic and assistant professor at the University of Toronto Faculty of Physical Education and Health (www.macintoshclinic.ca), suggests these exercises.
Before You Start
Pull in your gut. Use abdominal muscles to pull your belly button toward your back. Breathe evenly. This is the starting position for all core exercises.
“It’s the endurance capacity of these core muscles that matters more than their strength,” says Richards. Endurance means holding the positions with good form as long as possible. Start with six seconds and build up to two minutes.
5 Basic Core Exercises
Abdominal Hollowing. Tighten your core and, without changing your breath at all, pull your belly in as if you were tightening a belt. Can be done face up or down, sitting or standing.
The Plank. In a face-down position, balance on the tips of your toes and elbows while attempting to maintain
a straight line from heels to head.
The Side Plank. Lift your body off the ground and balance on one forearm and the side of your foot.
Partial Sit-up. Lie on your back with knees bent, arms by your side, folded on your chest or behind your neck but not
pulling on your head. Sit up by raising head and neck only enough so your shoulder blades come off the ground.
The Bird Dog. Get down on your hands and knees, point your right arm forward and raise your left leg behind
you. Hold the position, then repeat on your other side.
NEXT: HARD CORE TRAINING
HARD CORE TRAINING
Once you can perform and hold these exercises for two minutes, try adding these three principles of advancement to increase the intensity of your workout.
Wobbly surfaces. Put your body on things that wobble, such as core balls, BOSU balance trainers or wobble boards. Whether it’s a plank or a partial sit-up, an unstable surface forces the muscles to work up to 50 per cent harder.
Breathing hard while exercising. Alternate cardio exercise and core stability exercise. Pedal hard on a bike for five minutes and get out of breath, then do planks for two minutes while you’re still breathing hard.
Asymmetric perturbations. These are things that throw you off. For example, while doing the plank or partial sit-up, lift a weight with one hand out to the right side. That weight is trying to pull you to the right so your core muscles activate to resist that pull.
NEXT: FASHION TO HELP YOU LOOK FIT
Bra Boost. A well-fitting bra anchors your shoulders down and back, helping to activate your core muscles. But 80 per cent of women wear the wrong-sized bra which, according to Raymonde Tranchemontagne, designer at Wonderbra for more than 30 years, leads to fashion crimes such as double boobs and back fat bulges as well as slouching and spinal problems. The most common bra mistakes: not having an annual bra fitting; and not adjusting the straps and placing the bust in the deepest part of the cup.
It’s a safe bet that most actresses walking the red carpet are wearing some type of shapewear. A high-waisted control brief makes you conscious of tightening your abs while supporting your back. Today’s shapewear is unlike the foundation garment girdle of the 1950s, which was made of stiff elastic and rigid boning. Today’s support garments are made of lightweight nylon, Spandex or polyester, which is comfortable and cool. Large bulky seams have been replaced with smooth laser-cut finish seam construction that lies flat. TRY: Secret Fusion Natural Shape Enhancement (secretfusion.com).
Made for Men
Men now have their own body-slimming garment: the Core Precision Undershirt (www.equmen.com). Designed with physiotherapy taping techniques to support the body’s core and gently pull the shoulders back to improve posture and back support,it may be enough to inspire you to tone your own natural girdle — your core muscles.
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