By Lauren Denos: 3/18/2015 (Fitness)

You do not get sexy abs just from doing a million crunches.

This is to all the women who have been working so hard to achieve that slim, tight midsection. Every woman seems to covet this, yet many fail to do research to understand what it takes. Therefore, many times spending countless hours, days, years doing the wrong thing. I thought that these misconceptions were a thing of the past, but I am still asked on a regular basis about this. So, we are going to address it.

Common Myths and Mistakes

#1 Spot Reduction

It is amazing to think that people still believe in spot reduction. Most fitness pros or magazines have addressed this issues at one time or another. Spot reduction does not work. Think about it. You are doing crunches, which build up your abdominal muscles, so why would that shrink the fat around your mid-section? Weight comes off all over your body at the same time. Not necessarily at the same rate, of course, but at the same time. You have to workout your overall body, and the weight will come off. There are some fitness pros that will only do one dedicated set of ab exercises per workout or every other workout. This is because they know their midsection is going to be getting a workout with many of the other exercises they do.

#2 Side Crunches

 are very popular – especially with women wanting to create more of an hour-glass figure. There have been debates on whether this is a good practice or not. Many say that when you are working the obliques, you are just bulking the muscle creating the opposite of what you want. This does make sense when you think about it. When you are weight training you are building a muscle, and where it does give women the envious curvy figure many want, the obliques are not an area we are generally wanting to bulk. If you aim is simply core strength and you are not worried about getting a leaner mid-section then go for it. They can be great for building strength, but not for slimming down to create more of an hourglass figure.

#3 Body Wraps

There are wraps you put around your mid-section now that promise to give you that lean stomach instantly without the work. They actually can work, but not the way you think they do. You think you are losing fat, but it is just water weight. There may be some products that do in fact work, but there is nothing out that works so well that it is going to give you a super lean midsection without putting in some work.

#4 Stomach Leaning Foods

There are many adds online saying that they will share the secrets of this one special food you can eat and it will magically slim your waist. This is partially true and partially B.S. The true part is that there are certain foods that you can avoid that create bloating and water retention. On the other hand, there are other foods like yogurt and vegetables and fruits can help you slim your waistline, but why it works is not magic. Yogurt is a probiotic. Probiotics help with gut health, which can reduce bloating. The vegetables and fruit could help because they are going to take up some of the space that you may have been using for other unhealthy foods. You will therefore be leaning down all over, not just on your stomach.

Now that you know the mistakes lets look at the facts for creating that slim stomach.

#1 Nutrition

Yup, what you eat is one of the most important factors for getting that lean stomach. Why? Because this directly correlates to the amount of fat you are holding onto. Plus, no matter how much of an amazing 6 pack you have, you will never see it with a ton of body fat covering it. Have you ever seen a really skinny guy that has a 6 pack? It is common with really skinny guys, not because they are working out a lot, but because they have no body fat. There is a saying that you cannot out train a poor diet, which is true, no matter what your goal is. Watch what you eat AND how much you are eating. Both are very important.

#2 Exercise

When you hear the words exercise do you think, "but I do the elliptical and crunches every day?" Well, the truth of the matter is, you are not going to do enough crunches to slim down your waist. The slim fit physic comes from a combination of cardio AND weight training. The more muscle mass you have, the more calories you burn while at rest.

#3 Consistency

You cannot just eat good and workout some of the time and expect results. You need to stick with it and stay on course. Whatever your schedule is, stick with it. Whether that means going to the gym 3 days or 5 days a week. Stick with it. Many people believe in cheat days. This is fine, but you want to make sure it does not turn into a cheat meal every day. It is a slippery slope, so keep a journal if you need to see what you are eating and keep you in check.

#4 Change it up

If you want to lean down, you need to change it up! If you are doing the same workout for months on end, you are probably not seeing quite the results you want. This is because the body is incredible at adapting to the conditions we through at it. This goes for your cardio and weight training. For cardio, change up what you are doing often. You can change it up between running, walking, hiking, swimming, biking, elliptical, dancing, etc. Many people change it up throughout the week doing swimming a couple days, running a few days, and then the following week they will switch it up to biking and hiking. This can also help you from creating any overuse injuries. For weight training, many people change their routines every 4-6 weeks. But you can change it up more often if you want to.

Remember:

The main key points for a slim sexy midsection are nutrition, exercise, consitency and changing it up. If you want that lean midsection you can have it, but need to work for it. Work your whole body and eat a healthy diet. Stop doing endless crunches and do things that use more of your muscles and your core at the same time, like pushups. If you do this, you will start to notice that your entire body is looking better as well as your abs.





 

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-Lauren