Abs – Build Them, Sculpt Them, Strengthen Them & Keep Them
Fact is fact, so called ‘cardio’ workouts will not be enough to burn belly fat. Strength training increases muscle mass, and because muscle needs more energy to live, you will in turn burn more fat (belly fat included). This is not myth or fiction, this is fact. This is also the exact reason that there are so called ‘skinny’ people with belly fat. Hence the fact that ‘skinny’ is not always the same as ‘fit’. You must incorporate strength training into your routine to get the strong core, and flat abs you want. Another great way to burn belly fat is to include several high intensity interval training sessions a week into your training regiment (the KB Scorcher, 7DL and KB Body all do this for you). By using the kettlebell and it’s unique motions like the swing, as well as more standard strength motions like a kettlebell squat and martial art motions like the leopard series; these include motions we show you in this book and your Kettlebell Kickboxing strength training and high intensity DVD workouts you will always include belly fat fighting moves in your routine. Plus, these motions will undoubtably strengthen your core and make you a better athlete in your sport, and your life.
BONUS! DID YOU KNOW:
A squat can be just as efficient in burning belly fat as all those crunches! How? Squats are so efficient that besides working the legs they are one of the top exercises for firming the abdominals and burning belly fat!
ABS & CORE:
Your core muscles go far beyond your abs. There are actually too many ‘core’ muscles to name here (there are over thirty). However what you should know is that if you work to strengthen your core and you will find a harmony between the pelvis, lower back, hips and your abdomen. You will firm the muscles in your back, obliques, pelvis, abdomen, and even the butt. Your core helps stabilize the spine. It also transfers force between the lower and upper part of the body, helping you have a powerful punch, an awesome tennis serve or a great jump shot. If your core is weak you can suffer from back pain and instability. Athletes with a weak core will see poor athletic performance and are more susceptible to injury.
Think about it this way- your core is involved in every single movement your body does. In your workouts and in your life. Therefore its important for you to train it correctly and in its entirety (not just the muscles you want to see in the mirror).
WHY MANY OF THESE MOVES INCLUDE KETTLEBELLS?
Kettlebells (which look like a cast-iron cannonball with a handle) are particularly good at sculpting a slim waistline because the odd shape causes the weight to be distributed unevenly. Your core muscles are continuously engaged throughout every motion to control the bell’s shifting center of gravity. In fact, a study commissioned by the American Council on Exercise found that eight weeks of training with kettlebells increased study participants’ core strength by 70 percent.
As we mentioned above, to fight belly fat you must lift weights! You must also watch your diet and eat clean (as we discuss in every Kettlebell Kickboxing Guide and the 7 day Lean Book).
Of course belly fat comes on due to a great variety of reasons. Your lack of activity, poor diet choices (including over eating and/ or poor quality foods and bad pairing) can be a culprit. Stress is another huge factor that many people overlook when it comes to figuring out your mid-section:
1. CARDIO ISN’T ENOUGH.
Fact is fact, and I’m here to tell you cardio alone isn’t enough to burn belly fat. Strength training increases muscle mass, and because muscle is far more metabolically active then fat (it needs more energy to live) you’ll burn more fat (belly included). The simple fact is you must add resistance training to your workout if you want a great belly. If you feel lost for workout programs, checkout our 4 home fitness programs and see if any of them are hight for your goals.
2. STRESS CAUSES BELLY FAT.
You’ll be surprised to hear how much of the weight you carry has to do with hormones called cortisol, insulin and leptin.
Cortisol: A stress hormone that triggers fat storage. If you’re placing your body under stress daily, including incorrect workout structure, overtraining, stress at home or work, stress due to yo-yo diets or lack of sleep you’re triggering this stress hormone. As just one example, a study concluded “that both insulin and cortisol are potent and possibly physiological regulators of leptin expression,” which basically that stress hormones are very much responsible for triggering overeating and messing with your body’s signaling system for energy use, fuel storage and balance.
When you breathe incorrectly during exercise, or when you stress or get lack of sleep your adrenal glands release the stress hormone cortisol. That response, which is meant to give you a burst of energy for fighting or fleeing, causes you to accumulate and store fat specifically in your belly. Additionally, cortisol production can remain at high levels due to sustained stress, and leave you craving high-sugar or high-carb foods.
• Breathing correctly during exercise is crucial to controlling the production of this hormone during exercise! Look over Chapter 2 in this book to make sure you are breathing correctly.
• Stress! Cortisol is a stress hormone, so working out, breathing correctly during your workouts and sleeping well are all factors that can help you control this.
Leptin: Produced by your fat cells and plays a role in appetite control. It can also act to slow your metabolism. To help regulate this hormone you must exercise, stay active and eat clean. Research has found excess body fat can cause a condition known as leptin resistance, meaning your brain isn’t affected by leptin even though your body contains higher levels of it — basically, when you have too much sugar and poor-quality foods, the hormone is overproduced and the body does not respond to it correctly.
• Exercise regularly and safely
• Eat clean
• Include strength training in your workout regiment
Insulin: Every time you down a carb-heavy meal or sugary drink, your blood sugar spikes. In response, your body releases insulin, whose job it is to pull extra glucose (sugar) from the bloodstream. Gaining weight can often lead to insulin resistance, a condition in which cells become less responsive to the hormone, and to diabetes.
• Eat well and pair your foods correctly
• Avoid sugary meals in the am, or mid-day sugar packed snacks
• Exercise or get up and move instead of drinking a coke to get a boost of energy in your day
3. BREATHING IS CRUCIAL.
Incorrect breathing during even your toughest workout can hurt your flat belly goals. When you panic breathe during exercise, your adrenal glands release cortisol. That response, which is meant to give you a burst of energy for fighting or fleeing, causes you to accumulate and store fat in your belly.
Additionally, cortisol production can remain at high levels due to sustained stress and leave you craving high-sugar or high-carb foods. Breathing correctly means breathing deep into your belly — never shallow “panic” breathing with your mouth. Aim to fill your belly with air by breathing in through your nose. No matter how hard your workout, never allow yourself to shallow breathe through the mouth.
4. OVERTRAINING WON’T HELP.
Just because you’re working out doesn’t mean you’re getting the benefits. This means having a training plan, not just training at random. When you train, you should be doing a specific sequence of exercises, lifting weight and having a goal-specific work-rest structure. Aim for daily activity.
Make sure to find a complete program, not a single workout. The program should have workout plans, calendars, a nutrition education and also a good structure.
5. IMPATIENCE IS A LEADING FACTOR IN NOT REACHING YOUR GOALS.
You get on a program, get excited, give it your all for a week or two … and then what? If you don’t see as the results you’d like in the first week or so, you get disappointed and switch to a new program, diet or workout.
But the truth is that everyone gets results at a different pace. If you abandon a workout too soon, your body doesn’t have the opportunity to make the changes you’re asking it to make. If you pick a program, give it a chance; stick with it all the way to the end, be patient and enjoy the learning process.
6. FAT-FREE FOODS ARE NOT YOUR FRIENDS.
Fat-free foods might seem like a good idea, but they’re often full of hidden sugars, additives and preservatives, all of which will trigger poor hormone response and hunger cravings. You have to eat real, whole food. Look for good fats like avocados, salmon, nuts. Eat fiber-rich foods, leafy greens and fruit. Enjoy natural proteins and all-natural carbohydrates from sweet potato, kasha, quinoa and whole grains.
Be picky about what you put into your body and don’t let a food label sway your judgment.
7. LOOKING FOR “PERFECTION” IS DANGEROUS.
The truth is that your abs might never look like those of your fitness mentor or an underwear model. But they can be defined, strong and capable.
Learn to look at your gains in terms of strength, function and then looks, not just looks alone. We’re all distinctly unique and so are our strengths, weaknesses and abs. Recognize and respect your body, hard work and results.