Many of us who dream of having a washboard stomach aim to incorporate sit-ups into our workout routine.
But according to a celebrity fitness trainer, doing a series of daily crunches isn’t the best way to achieve a six-pack – in fact, it can actually make your tummy look bigger.
Swindon-based Matt Fiddes, who runs a chain of 700 martial arts schools and was a millionaire by the time he was 21, told FEMAIL the idea that sit-ups and crunches will give people slender, toned abs is a myth.
‘It is an idea that has been around for decades, but while hundreds of sit-ups every morning may strengthen the abdominal muscles, the opposite is actually true,’ he said.
According to a celebrity fitness trainer and mentor, honing your tum by doing a series of daily crunches isn’t the best way to achieve a six-pack – in fact, it can actually make it look bigger (stock image)
‘It will hardly make a positive impact on your tummy’s appearance, except perhaps make it look bigger. Sit-ups will in fact make your belly bulge outwards as you are pushing your abs out.’
Matt explained there is a ‘big difference’ between strengthening your ab muscles and losing the layer of fat on top of them, and sit ups ‘won’t cut it’, no matter how many you do or for how long you do them.
‘You will make all of that effort with no positive physical difference to show for it,’ he added. ‘Understandably, you will lose all motivation, and often decide you haven’t got the right body type, or “it’s obviously not for me”, before throwing the towel in.’
So, what is the true route to a developed torso? Here Matt shares his guide to achieving an enviable six-pack.
Swindon-based Matt Fiddes, who runs a chain of 700 martial arts schools and was a millionaire by the time he was 21, told FEMAIL the idea that sit-ups and crunches will give people slender, toned abs is a myth
IT’S ALL ABOUT DISCIPLINE AND LIFESTYLE
What a lot of people don’t initially realise when they embark on their fitness journey, is that everyone’s torso area has a layer of fat that serves to conceal the results of all that hard work and exercise.
Simply put, all the crunches or sit-ups in the world won’t lose the fat from around your tummy.
The route to the body you want is to make drastic changes to your diet regime; that way you’ll lose the fat that’s covering your abs, and eventually have something to show for all that effort.
That takes discipline of course – which is why so few of us have the coveted toned torso that so many find appealing.
Don’t forget it is a ‘lifestyle’ – make those positive changes for the long term, there are no short cuts.
WHY SIT-UPS AND CRUNCHES CAN CAUSE NECK AND BACK PROBLEMS
If not done properly, sit-ups and crunches can put strain on your back as the area you are targeting puts too much pressure and compression on your spine.
I have seen a number of clients suffer from herniated discs, which throw out any form of physical activity for months, and you even struggle to walk or sleep comfortably.
Like your spine most people suffer with neck injuries by doing the activity all wrong. It is very easy to pull your neck by even slightly doing the move wrong.
GOOD BODIES ARE MADE IN THE KITCHEN, NOT THE GYM
If you marry a careful diet with proper exercise and you’re consistent and patient, the sacrifice will certainly pay off.
The key to dreamy abs involves the 20 per cent exercise and 80 per cent nutrition ratio rule.
Or, put another way, good bodies are essentially made in the kitchen and the workout is the icing on top of the cake!
Understanding the simple maths behind weight loss and weight gain is the key to unblocking what is holding you back from achieving your goals. If you eat the wrong foods that do not ‘feed’ your body, you will put on weight, simple fact.
Sticking to a high protein, low carb diet full of healthy wholegrains with lots of greens will reduce the amount of fat stored around your body and stubborn areas including your middle section.
Not only will there be less fat around your stomach, you will also look and feel considerably less bloated due to a boost in your digestion and metabolism.
Banish those food cravings with high protein foods by feeling fuller for longer. Foods such as eggs, nuts, seeds, poultry and legumes are wonder foods – avoid eating processed and refined carbs that are often to blame for weight gain.
THINK OVERALL WEIGHT LOSS, DON’T TARGET AREAS
The only way of getting a six-pack is by losing your overall body weight. You must think overall fat loss and not ‘targeted’ by focusing on burning calories that lead to overall weight reduction.
Achieve this with 30-minute intense workouts hitting the whole body with 30 seconds rest between reps and two-minute rest between exercises. This combination is the ultimate for fat burning.
We all have abdominal muscles regardless of our body shape but to reveal them we simply need to ‘sculpt away’ the fat that’s concealing them so we can reveal the shape that we want. And our six-pack was lurking underneath the layer of fat all along!
It is impossible to ‘target shrink’ fat from anywhere, tummy included. It’s an all or nothing affair – only by losing fat generally, from around our entire bodies, can we hope to also see the specific reduction we want in our belly area.
In short, you have to lose fat everywhere. Do that and your tummy will follow.
DO THE FOREARM PLANK
You can achieve great abs without doing one sit-up by adopting the celebrity favourite, The Forearm Plank workout.
Celebrities such as Kendal Jenner are big fans, and Kendal is known for her 11-minute core-crushing circuit moves, which consist of forearm and side planks to achieve her impressive abs.
You can achieve great abs without doing one sit-up by adopting the celebrity favourite, The Forearm Plank workout. Celebrities such as Kendal Jenner (pictured) are big fans
To do this correctly, lift yourself off the ground with your body weight on your forearms and toes. You can start by holding for 10 seconds and slowly increase this up to one minute once you feel ready.
The support of your arms will take some of the pressure off your body. To do this technique effectively, ensure your arms are below your shoulders and maintain a straight line through your body without dropping any body part.
STOP STRESSING TO REDUCE ‘STRESS BELLY’
We know that stress can cause a number of mental and physical health issues. But research is telling us that prolonged stress can cause unwanted abdominal fat in otherwise healthy and fit people.
Increased levels of the stress hormone, cortisol, affects our fat distribution and people with higher cortisol in their bodies are prone to stress belly and love handles.
Try to stop stress affecting the shape of your body by improving your lifestyle to reduce anxiety and stress by getting enough sleep, relaxing, exercising and eating healthier.
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