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For decades now, people are trying to loose their belly fat and, all this time it has been a big problem for everyone. Beside the bad physical appearance effect, it also carries a great health risk.

Many people don’t know that fatty tissue which is stored around the stomach and abdomen, sometimes called intra-abdominal or visceral fat, carries a greater health risk than the fat located in the lower body around the butt and thighs.

Some health studies showed that abdominal fat leads to:

  • raised blood pressure,
  • high cholesterol levels,
  • high blood sugar,
  • insulin resistance syndrome (metabolic syndrome X) and
  • heart disease.


If you are prone to store fat around your middle, the healthiest solution is to maintain a normal weight. By matching your calorie intake to your calorie needs and preventing the weight gain, you will prevent the development of any excess fat. If you still develop belly fat, losing it might prove to be a big problem.

Abs

Rectus abdominis, your abdominal muscle, originates on the sternum and ribcage and inserts onto your pubic bone. Its primary function is the flexion of the trunk, and rotation at the waist using the oblique muscles. Having strong abdominal muscles is necessary for all-round body strength, as any lifting with either arms or legs, will make use of the abdominal muscles.

What is causing belly fat?

This is a very important and very complex question. The part of the body where we store excess fat depends on:

  • Gender - The proven fact is that men tend to store fat around their middle, whereas women typically store fat around the pelvic region, hips, butt and thighs.
  • Age - Women are prone to develop an apple shape in mid-life, after menopause. This is because the female hormones are present in smaller amounts.
  • Eating habits and
  • Genetic inheritance.

Stress theory

There are several health studies that tried to show how abdominal fat can develop as a result of stress. Stress might lead to certain hormonal imbalances with hormone cortisol being the most responsible. Cortisol is being released under stress, and a high level of cortisol in the body appears to stimulate the storage of fat around the belly and abdomen.
So it appears that belly fat is most likely to develop in stressed men of any age, and older stressed women.

Exercises for abdominal muscles

Abdominal muscles ar muscles like all the others in human body. The principles that apply to biceps and triceps apply equally to abs. So the three critical elements of every abdominal muscle workout should be:

  1. High-intensity of muscular overload
  2. Progressive intensity from workout to workout
  3. Proper spacing of workouts to avoid overtraining or under-training


There are several common abdominal muscles exercises that have proven to be beneficial:

1.     Basic crunches



Lower your legs so that they’re 12 inches off the floor and lock your arms behind your head. Twist your torso and try touching the left knee with the right elbow. Immediately lower your knee and shoulder and then twist your left elbow toward your right knee. Try doing 25 of these. Then lift your legs in the air and try to do something like air-biking. Bring your knees up to about a 45-degree angle and do a slow bicycle pedal motion.  
 


5.     Weighted crunches

Another great exercise, especially for the more experienced. The best way to do weighted crunches is to lie on the floor with your head close to the low pulley weight stack. Using the rope handle attachment, grasp the ends and pull the cable until it is tight and your hands are resting at the side of your head near your ears. Now contract your abdominal muscles in a crunch that lifts your shoulders off the floor and draws the weight stack up an inch or two. 

Best to worst exercises for strengthening the rectus abdominis:

  • Bicycle maneuver
  • Captain’s chair
  • Crunches on exercise ball
  • Vertical leg crunch
  • Torso Track
  • Long arm crunch
  • Reverse crunch
  • Crunch with heel push
  • Ab Roller
  • Hover
  • Traditional crunch
  • Exercise tubing pull
  • Ab Rocker


Best to worst exercises for strengthening the obliques:

  • Captain’s chair
  • Bicycle maneuver
  • Reverse crunch
  • Hover
  • Vertical leg crunch
  • Crunch on exercise ball
  • Torso Track
  • Crunch with heel push
  • Long arm crunch
  • Ab Roller
  • Traditional crunch
  • Exercise tubing pull
  • Ab Rocker

Abdominoplasty

Abdominoplasty is a cosmetic surgery aimed at reshaping and firming the abdomen. How is it done? It involves the removal of excess skin and fat from the middle and lower abdomen in order to tighten the muscle of the abdominal wall. This type of surgery is usually sought by women and individuals who have abdominal fat deposits which do not respond well to diet and exercise. An important thing about this procedure is that it is primarily done by women who are not considering having any more children.

The most common indications for the operation are:

  • losing a lot of weight through dieting and exercise
  • pregnancy
  • successful surgery to treat obesity


There are two broad types of abdominoplasty:

  • Complete. Requires about two to five hours
  • Partial. Requires about one to two hours


A complete abdominoplasty involves five steps:

  1. An incision is made from hip to hip just above the pubic area.
  2. Another incision is made to free the navel from the surrounding skin.
  3. The skin is detached from the abdominal wall to reveal the muscles which are to be tightened. These muscles are tightened with sutures.
  4. The skin flap is reattached with any extra skin being removed. A new hole for the navel is made and stitched into place.
  5. All stitches are dressed and any excess fluid from the site is drained.


A partial abdominoplasty involves three steps:

  1. A smaller incision is made.
  2. The skin in removed between the incision and the navel. The skin is stretched down and excess skin removed.
  3. The flap is stitched back into place.


It is important to know that a tummy tuck is not a treatment for weight control and is not a substitute for regular physical activity and a healthy balanced diet.
3-Step program for abdominal muscles

Step 1
Many people are not aware that only 1% of your overall abdominals development comes from training. If you want your abdominal muscles to show, you must have abs to show and a low percentage of body fat for them to appear. The most important fact is that training does nothing to eliminate the layer of fat that is covering the muscles.

–Excessive abdominal muscles workout will not make your abdominal muscles to appear.

Step 2
It is proven that about 9% of complete training should be cardio-training as a fat burning tool. High intensity interval training is definitely the fastest and the most efficient method you can use to loose the pounds.
Everyone should learn how to use cardio-training effectively and to enhance metabolism. Important thing to know is that cardio-training can be done twice a day for a full body effects!

Step 3
Most of the people who want to lose belly fat are not aware that 90% of their efforts should be focused on their diet.  A lot of people train their abdominal muscles and do all kinds of cardio and they still forget that nutrition plays such a massive roll in getting rid of belly fat. 

Some useful advice

Relax everyday

Many experts claim that when you're stressed your body creates hormones that can increase your abdominal fat deposits. Chronically high stress levels makes your body  pump these hormones into your bloodstream continually resulting in a dramatical increase of fat deposits over time. To lose belly fat you have to find effective ways to lower your stress levels.

Some very useful anti-stress techniques are:

  • deep-breathing
  • meditation
  • yoga
  • bike riding


Eat more healthy fats

Most of the people simply don't get enough healthy fats in their diets, especially the vitally-important omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fats have been shown to decrease fat-storing and increase fat-burning. Omega-3-rich foods include fish and flax seeds or they may be taken in a form of omega-3 supplement every day.

Try the Mediterranean Diet... or at least a "Mediterranean-style" diet

This natural diet has definitely been shown to boost health, protect against chronic disease, and help reduce body fat levels. It works because it's high in antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables as well as healthy fats like virgin olive oil and oily fish. At the same time it's low in "bad fats" and "bad carbs".