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Do Crunches Burn Belly Fat?

I often get asked what is the best exercise to lose the fat around my tummy? Or what Ab exercises can I do to reduce weight around my stomach?

As summer holidays are vastly approaching and everyone is striving to achieve that beach body look of a flat and toned stomach or that chiselled six pack, many people hit the gym will look to training their Abs with crunches, sit-ups, leg raises, ab cycles etc to achieve that perfect beach body tummy, but is this really the best way to achieve that SIX PACK?

What if I told you that everyone has a six pack!!.... The problem with many people is that they have a layer of excess fat covering those desired muscles. Crunches along with many other abdominal exercises build strength, endurance and power in the midsection, however this does not always equate to a “skinny” stomach, as these exercises will not burn belly fat and spot reduction for fat loss is a complete MYTH.

Body fat is a storage deposit of excess calories. Your body will store fat in fat cells in the form of triglycerides around the body, and an accumulation of these cells will form in areas such as your belly, hips, bum, legs and arms if we are consuming excess calories, or not burning enough calories.

When we are in a calorie defect from either exercise, diet or for best results both, your body will convert these triglycerides to energy and your body will burn these as fuel. When we start burning calories we will start to lose fat, but unfortunately just like when you put fat on, you cannot dictate where that fat comes off of first.

The process your body goes through to burn calories is quite complex, and although crunches and other abdominal exercises help build muscle they do not burn lots of calories, so it is near on impossible to burn fat or lose weight with crunches alone, so stop doing 200, 300, 400..... sit-ups every day it doesn’t work, plus excessive crunches and sit up can cause lower back pain, slouching shoulder and forward head posture due to the movement this exercise takes you body through.

I’m not saying to banish sit ups or crunches altogether as when you do drop body fat and tummy fat, the muscles you have built will look chiselled, strong and sexy, however you also need to do exercises to burn the fat. With reference to some of our previous articles (The Benefits of Resistance Training for Weight Loss, and What are the most effective ways to incorporate Cardio Training for Weight Loss?) , the best ways to lose weight is to include a resistance training program into your routine, including big compound movements, and a cardiovascular program involving interval training, some good examples are Jogging, Cycling, Swimming, Walking, Cross Trainer and Rowing.

Lastly address your diet, unfortunately you cannot out train a bad diet. Eating correctly and making sure you are finishing the day in a calorie defect with ultimately result in sexy, toned, strong, chiselled looking abs you’ll be proud to show off at the beach.

For more information on training programs for fat loss, weight management, muscle gain and toning, please contact us via our website or our Facebook page @buildabodyfitnesspt, we offer 121, group, corporate and online personal training to suit your individual needs.

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