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  • I am overweight and want to get a flat stomach. Will ab exercises make a difference to my appearance? Or should I not bother with them?

    No and no. No, it won't make a difference to your appearance until you lose weight. No, you should bother with abdominal (and other) exercises. I'll explain.

    Envisage your stomach as two layers. Layer one (the bottom layer) is muscle - your abdominals. Layer two (the top layer) is fat.

    Initially layer one is extremely thin, because we don't naturally have well defined abdominal muscles. By doing certain abdominal exercises, you can stimulate layer one to increase in size. Now essentially you could make layer one as large as you like, but if layer 2 is covering it up (ie. the fat) - you're not going to see a single thing. It is essentially a blanketing effect.

    Consider the two photo's below taken during my transformation:

    Jay

    In both photo's I have a very similar amount of muscle mass (as I had been lifting weights prior to the first photo for a while). The big difference is the amount of fat I am carrying. On the left you can see that I have a layer of fat covering up my midsection. As a result, you can't see too much in the way of abs. Strip all that fat away and you get the photo on the right.

    The reason why I suggest that you do perform resistance training is twofold. Firstly, it will encourage muscle growth which will assist fat loss by speeding up your metabolism. Secondly, once you do eventually lose the fat, there will be some good looking muscles already there! It takes a long time to build muscle compared to losing fat. Start now so you can build some solid foundations for the long-term.

    It should also be noted that females will not experience nearly the same effect from weight lifting that males will. So, by performing abdominal exercises you cannot expect to obtain the definition in the abdominal muscles that I have. Females will tend to see more of a 'toned' effect.

  • Hi Jay, Congrats on your win and your new page. I weigh 76 kilos at the moment and my stomach is really big and hangs over my undies, will I ever be able to get it to become a flat tummy.I have never been a skinny person - even when I was younger. Is there some hope for me or will I need some sort of surgery after the Bodyblitz challenge. Suzikatz.

    Hi Suzikatz!

    Assuming that you are in sound medical condition, I am a big believer that ANYTHING is possible if you put your mind to it.

    I think that surgery is too often referred to as a 'safe alternative' to getting in shape by leading a healthy lifestyle.  It's quite simply not a magical cure.  Surgery should only be considered after ALL other avenues have been exhausted.

    Consider what you have done so far in regards to your health and fitness.  Ask yourself the following questions:

    Do I KNOW how to eat properly?

    Have you done your research?  Do you know what foods are acceptable and what aren't?  Do you know how to read food labels?  Do you know how many grams of fat, protein and carbs to consume in a day?

    Diet is obviously a very important factor here - it will make a HUGE difference to your weight concerns.  The beauty about these 12 week challenges is that by being consistent with your diet for a number of weeks, you form a completely new eating habit.  No more yo-yo diets or magical supplements - as far as I'm concerned, THEY DON'T WORK.  You must ensure that this eating lifestyle is healthy and something that you can live with.

    Do I KNOW how to exercise effectively?

    Exercise will of course make an enormous difference to your physique.  What I learnt from my challenge is that, prior to my research, I never knew how to exercise effectively.  Knowledge is power - and with that power you can reap some amazing results.  There are two types of particular interest, cardio and weight training.

    With your cardio training, you don't need to run for hours on end to lose fat.  This can become boring and time consuming - you can lose interest VERY quickly.  By increasing the intensity of your cardio workouts, you challenge yourself whilst expending more calories in a given time.  Not only that, once you get off the cardio machine, your metabolism will be raised for a longer period of time - which means you'll be effectively burning fat even after your workout!

    Your resistance training will also increase your metabolism.  The more muscle mass you have, the higher your resting caloric expenditure.  But don't be scared to get in there and challenge yourself with the weights either!  Higher intensity here will produce some great results.

    With your exercise, it is important that if you are unsure of how to train, enlist the help of a professional to show you how to achieve your goals.

    How much time and effort have I invested into improving myself?  Is this enough?

    Ask yourself if you really have put in 100% into your transformation.  At the end of the day we have to accept responsibility for ourselves.  Put yourself right at the top of your priorities.  Remember, this is not selfish - you NEED to look after yourself.  Once you look after yourself you can then look after others.

     

    There's a lot of information on this website about all of the topics discussed above.  Because I can only go into limited detail here, if you're unsure of anything please visit our forums - we have a whole section dedicated to women's training.

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