How Many Hours Of Exercise A Week For Weight Loss Fitness Myth – Why Crunches Won’t Give You Nice Abs

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Fitness Myth – Why Crunches Won’t Give You Nice Abs

I can’t tell you how many times people come to me and ask, “What abs exercises should I do to get nice abs?” And every time I’m stumped because there aren’t any. Doing a few push-ups (or any other ab exercise) won’t get you 2 inches closer to a sexy midsection. Right now you have a six pack, that is the natural shape of the muscles. However, chances are you can’t see because there’s too much fat between your skin and your abs. If you want a nice belly, lose weight and crunches have nothing to do with losing weight.

Why crunches have nothing to do with weight loss

They fall into a category called “isolation exercises”, and when it comes to fat loss, isolation exercises are pretty much worthless (they’re better than watching TV, but that’s about it). Isolation exercises are exercises designed to target one muscle, such as bicep curls, triceps extensions, calf raises, leg extensions, etc. of all kinds. The theme is that these exercises try to work one muscle or part of your body at a time. This is retarded for at least one reason, which we will discuss:

Little to no results:

If you want to burn fat (grow or become a better athlete), you want to gain as much muscle as possible at once, because you want to use up as much energy as possible during your workout and create as much Afterburn as possible. (Afterburn is a post-workout metabolic boost that can last up to 36 HOURS that only comes from a well-designed strength training program and/or interval training, not aerobic training).

Example: leg extension vs. squat In a leg extension, you sit on a machine that stabilizes your hips and back, and then you straighten your knee (just like in a butt-kicking competition). You only hit one muscle group – the muscles on the front of the thigh (quadriceps). That’s maybe 8 or 9% of the muscle mass on your body.

In a squat, you hold a weight on your back, shoulders, or hands and squat—as if you were sitting in a chair without using your hands. In the squat, you hit the muscles in your feet, front calves, back calves, inner and outer thighs (you can skip the inner/outer thigh machine now), front and back thighs, butt, abs (much more than crunches) and all the way up and down the back. You will hit about 80% of the muscles in your body at once or do 1000% more in the same amount of time. Basically, you could do 10 isolation exercises to get the benefit of just squatting. Even better, you could do squats, push-ups, deadlifts (which also stimulate your core much more than crunches), and rows to hit your whole body and really burn some fat and do a lot more. 30 minutes of multi-joint exercises than you could do in 2 hours of isolation exercises.

(Side note: Isolation exercises are also pretty damn worthless for muscle growth. If you’re a man, you can get jacked in 3 days a week if you stick to deadlifts, squats, deadlifts, presses, etc. in a well-designed program.)

Weight loss:

I think almost most of the articles I’ve written so far have dealt with weight loss (fat loss), but I’ll summarize again:

#1. Burn more calories than you take in:

This is the golden rule of weight loss – a rule you cannot break if you want to make any progress. Excess calories are mostly stored in your fat cells. Your body will have no reason at all to access its “savings account” until it is in caloric debt. Common sense plays an important role here:

*When you go out to eat, you don’t need to devour a bread basket, you don’t need 3 drinks (or more than 1 in this case), you probably don’t need an appetizer (especially fried), and you almost certainly don’t need dessert more than once a week unless you’re interested in carrying that food around and/or hips and thighs.

* Do you drink OJ every day? Stop. Eat a real orange instead. An orange actually has some nutritional value, like fiber, and will save you nearly 180 calories a day over a standard glass of OJ. This one change could train for 18 pounds of fat lost over the course of a year! (OJ has as much sugar as soda, no, it’s not “okay” because it’s “natural” – whatever that means, sugar is one of the biggest culprits in making your fat cells grow).

However, this does not mean starving. This will likely do more harm than good and either cause your metabolism to collapse and/or send you into a binge to end all binges – like the one that killed your last diet.

#2. Improve your metabolism and strengthen your muscles

Nothing new here, lift weights and do intervals. If you are interested in losing weight, avoid wasting time in the gym doing aerobics – it is almost worthless in the short term and counterproductive in the long term. Aerobic training stimulates your muscles to contract, which slows your metabolism in the long run. Intervals and lifting 3 or 4 days a week (total of 2.5 to 3.5 hours/week) will burn a lot of calories during the workout and for 24 to 36 HOURS after the workout.

#3. The icing on the cake:

If #1 and 2 are the icing on the cake, then #3 is the icing on the cake – but a bonus, or a thing that makes absolutely no sense to do until you take care of your foundation (#1 and 2). The icing on the cake is exercises for your core (your core is the muscles in your midsection, all of them). Doing some extra core work can be beneficial for many reasons, including giving you an even nicer midsection than #1 and 2 alone would give you. PS eating a lot of cake would pretty much negate #1, but you already knew that .

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