Just had a question from a journalist come in, so I thought I’d share the Q and A here :)
Q. Hey G, noticed on one of your emails that you say crunches and sit-ups are ‘pants’ for burning belly fat – why so? What’s better? I’ll include a link to your video on the bosu ball alternative in the piece.
A. Right, these abs! Everyone has abs, it’s just the majority of people have a little too much insulation, which prevents them from being seen.
It’s a common misconception that doing sit-ups and hundreds of different variations will cut through belly fat to reveal a fine-tuned 6 pack. Unfortunately, losing belly fat doesn’t work this way and by doing all sorts of sit-up variations will only serve to make your abs stronger and more toned.
Sounds good, but the problem is that if you’ve still got a large layer of fat over the top you won’t see them.
I always recommend not to spend too much time, if any, doing sit-ups. The reason is that sit-ups are a poor use of time if you’re trying to burn belly fat and reveal your abs.
Sit-ups burn around 560 calories per hour at a vigorous pace. I’m talking about going like the clappers for an hour! I don’t know anyone who could do this without causing themselves injury or being bored out of their brain. So, instead we need to think about how we can be more effective at burning fat and give our undercover abs a chance to shine.
The first thing to do is sort out your diet. This means cutting out or at the very least reducing your intake of processed food, starchy carbs, alcohol and refined sugar. It takes a big commitment to do this, but if 6 pack abs are the goal (or even a flat tummy) it’s essential that you get your diet in order.
From here, we need to look at what exercise plan will suit you most. Beginners will benefit from any form of exercise, but to really take you a step closer to those 6 pack abs you need to do some form of resistance training. Whether that be in a gym or at home with dumbbells or barbells it’s up to you.
Bodyweight resistance training is great for those who are time short, but if you have the time and the facilities I’d certainly incorporate some weight training into your program. Interval training also works well in terms of burning extra calories and elevating your metabolism for several hours after a workout, but I personally prefer to use metabolic finishers at the end of my workouts to benefit from using weights and to spike my heart rate. I basically use these to finish on the floor in a sweaty mess. They’re tough, but worth it. You can of course use all three methods (resistance training, interval training and metabolic conditioning) for amazing results.
Unfortunately, most people still fall foul of thinking cardio is the best way to burn belly fat. The only time I recommend the slow boring cardio is when you’ve got plenty of time to train and you’ve already trained hard 3-4 times in a week. Those who are relatively fit can then use slow cardio as recovery sessions, but they should be light and fairly easy to complete. The goal of these light sessions is to simply burn some extra calories.
So, tt doesn’t matter if you want to get 6 pack abs or you just want to lose some weight. The methods described above will work for you. It’s just a case of how badly you want to change and whether you have the time to commit to eating and training like somebody who has 6 pack abs. Not everybody does…