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LETIKVAH SparkPoints: (0)
Fitness Minutes: (35,627)
Posts: 23
2/9/13 7:24 P

Yes, it is impossible to target the specific area but it is possible to do exercises that are highly effective and make them a part of your workout like planks, planks and more planks.

PAMLICO-DAZE SparkPoints: (46,810)
Fitness Minutes: (34,007)
Posts: 1,215
2/9/13 2:58 P

Sure do wish there was a way to spot reduce the belly area. But the only way is to eat right and exercise and watch the weight melt away. I have been told we all have 6 packs. Right now my middle looks more like a pony keg. This time I have Sparkpeople to help me through the tough times and to give me the knowledge I need to get in shape and be health.

BREWMASTERBILL SparkPoints: (31,088)
Fitness Minutes: (12,713)
Posts: 4,114
2/9/13 8:48 A

[citation needed]

JENNILACEY SparkPoints: (81,972)
Fitness Minutes: (86,286)
Posts: 2,489
2/9/13 7:16 A

Yeah, my abs are toned and "flattened" they just happen to have a good layer of fat on top of them in the form of a pot belly. I've been working my abs for half a year now, religiously. I'd have to weigh 80 lbs before I had a flat belly again though.

LITTLET88 Posts: 3
2/9/13 5:50 A

Thanks for all the answers.

BREWMASTERBILL SparkPoints: (31,088)
Fitness Minutes: (12,713)
Posts: 4,114
2/1/13 9:43 P

There is no such thing as toning. Ab isolation work is probably the worst way to work your abs. The abdominals don't work in isolation, hell, most muscle groups don't. Work on getting a reasonably good strength training routine that incorporates compound barbell movements (think squat, deadlift, bench, press). A deadlift session will destroy your abs more so than any other ab specific training I've ever done. You might also find this article interesting.

The "best" ab exercise is chin ups. Wait, what? Yup, chin ups. If they're not hitting your abs hard, you're doing them wrong.

"Probably the most shocking result of this entire experiment was the level of rectus abdominis activity elicited by a bodyweight chin-up! It beat out any other abdominal exercise, weighted exercises and all, in mean and peak rectus abdominis activity."

Edited by: BREWMASTERBILL at: 2/1/2013 (21:44)
DRAGONCHILDE SparkPoints: (61,458)
Fitness Minutes: (15,905)
Posts: 9,717
2/1/13 9:35 P

LITTLET88 - unfortunately, that's the problem with modern advertising. We are absolutely bombarded with messages about things that simply aren't true. The infomercials tell us that with their device, you can whittle away the waist, or Dr Oz tells us that if we just buy this one supplement, all our fat will melt away, the magazines tell us that eating certain things will slim the thighs... none of this is true!

The fact is, our bodies are both simple and complex at the same time. We can't control how we lose weight, only *that* we lose weight.

Even the word "toning" is a lie... it doesn't even really mean anything, medically or professionally! It too, is a marketing term. What people usually mean is they want to reduce fat, and reveal lean muscle beneath. But there's no way to DO that through exercise! "Toning" is about the food you eat. The old saw is true: Great abs are made in the kitchen!

Anyone who gets flat abs in 6 weeks was going to anyway, no matter what they ate. It's all about genetics. I will likely never have a six pack abs; between my genetic distribution of fat and having children, it's just not going to be possible without reducing my body fat to dangerously low levels.

So that's not my goal! What I CAN do, though, is work on making my arms, shoulders, and back strong... because THAT I can see now! My legs look great, now.

So I'll be skipping the bikini, and going for the high-cut suit that shows lots of thigh, and the back I love so much!

LITTLET88 Posts: 3
2/1/13 8:45 P

I know you cant target one area and i know exercise and eating healthy..its just you see "I did this exercise and toned my abs in 6 weeks or I used this food and flattened my abs in 6 weeks".I was just wondering if there was any REAL people that had actually managed to tone and flatten their abs, if was really possible.

N16351D Posts: 2,349
12/7/12 8:53 P

Yes, I have toned my abs, then through a 6 month illness with little exercise, lost most of it, (and gained five pounds!). However, the toning took years. I did it with jogging, strength training, 15 minutes of core/ab work thrice weekly, pilates, and Yoga. I worked at it slowly, over a long time and was pleased with the results. You want to strengthen all of the core/ab muscles. The easiest exercise to do all day long is to stand and sit straight. It takes strong core muscles to hold yourself up with your ears, over the shoulders, over the hips when either standing or sitting.

I lost some of the toning which I had worked so hard at for years, when I went through menopause, but expect that with regular, daily, one -hour workouts, I can get that where I want it. I know because I have seen other women do it.

If you have loose skin from losing a tremendous amount of weight, I read that it is possible to tone the muscles while the skin shrinks, but according to the article I read, that takes years.

Just doing cruchies or other ab workouts daily will not cut it, but it helps. The main thing is to be consistent over a long period of time. Missing a day now and then won't matter much, but missing weeks or months of exercise (such I have done since onset of illness in May) will make a difference.

Best wishes....n16351d

DRAGONCHILDE SparkPoints: (61,458)
Fitness Minutes: (15,905)
Posts: 9,717
12/7/12 7:08 P

IF it were possible to reduce fat through ab work, I'd have a six pack. ;) Every class I do at the gym, someone's doing ab work... sometimes 3, 4 times a week! It DOES improve my posture, and thus makes me seem smaller, but realistically, as everyone else notes, the body just plain doesn't work that way. You can do all the pilates, yoga, and ab exercises you like, but they can't burn fat around your belly that way.

WIDARLING SparkPoints: (89,415)
Fitness Minutes: (142,690)
Posts: 1,206
12/7/12 6:23 P

same problem here. I started lifting weights and using machines and I am not losing any weight or my abs. But I have lost inches. It just takes time.

KRISTEN_SAYS SparkPoints: (82,009)
Fitness Minutes: (48,676)
Posts: 5,092
12/7/12 4:48 P

I have the same problem - I still have a belly. I'm improving my diet even more and doing strength training instead of focusing heavily on cardio. Unfortunately our body decides where the fat comes off.

12/7/12 3:12 P

I've dropped from a size 12 to a size 4 so it's definitly a lot tighter, but I still have a tummy. I do Pilates most morning and really focus on my core. I can definitly see a difference, but I'm not there yet.

NAUSIKAA Posts: 4,848
12/7/12 8:37 A

Some of it is down to genetics. When I lose weight, it comes off my waist first and often only -- I really have to struggle to get my bodyfat % low enough to pull fat off any other part of my body. It could be that your body is the opposite of mine.

But, it can still be done. Basically what you have to do is simple: reduce your body fat percentage until you get the results you want. For some women, they can have a toned and flat stomach at 35% body fat (this is the case for me); for other women, they have to get down to 15% for the same result. It depends on your DNA.

But it doesn't even really matter, since the procedure is the same : to reduce body fat, eat in a caloric deficit (your SP range), and exercise (most people do a combination of cardio and strength training. Personally I don't do cardio but I wouldn't recommend only cardio.)

I do a lot of exercises to challenge and strengthen my abs/core -- some of these exercises are rather "extreme". But none of them make my stomach smaller. All they do is make me stronger. That strength is very useful to me personally but I am not doing it to shape my abs. My body fat isn't low enough for a "six pack" anyway.

If you want a six pack, then you need to get into bodybuilding. It's probably the most straightforward and simple way. But if you're just looking for a flat stomach, you need to lose body fat until you're happy with your body.

MOTIVATED@LAST Posts: 15,459
12/7/12 6:48 A

I agree with both the above posters - you can't target where you lose weight from. Energy is delivered to the muscles via the bloodstream, NOT from being absorbed from surrounding fat stores. Specific abdominal exercise may develop the ab muscles, but will do absolutely nothing about the overlying layer of fat.

What you can do is to continue to reduce your overall body fat through a combination of cardio, all-body strength training and watching your intake, and some of it will naturally come off the belly.

Keep up the great work!


MPLANE37 SparkPoints: (79,230)
Fitness Minutes: (79,333)
Posts: 2,170
12/7/12 6:19 A

Coach Jen is right on. You might want to check out the body building programs, not because you would be interested in building more muscle but part of their program consists of achieving a low enough body fat % so that their muscles, including abs, become visible. This so-called "cutting" phase is rather drastic by SP standards, though.

SPARK_COACH_JEN Posts: 65,989
12/7/12 6:10 A

There's no way to target fat loss to a specific area of the body, but eventually the weight should come off in areas where you carry excess. A regular exercise program (consisting of both cardio and strength training) as well as a healthy diet will both help.

Coach Jen

LITTLET88 Posts: 3
12/7/12 5:23 A

has anyone really toned and flattened their abs? I'm doing well with the weight but my belly seems to stay . What did you do to tighten the muscles and lose the fat?

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