Monday, October 07, 2002

Personal Trainer: Crunches alone won't flatten belly

By Dave Patania

        Question: I want a completely flat stomach. How many sit-ups or crunches should I do in a day? How long will it take to achieve my goal?

        Answer: It is not a matter of how many abdominal exercises you do, it is all about eating healthy and exercising on a consistent basis. In the abdominal region, there is the layer of muscle (your abdominal muscles), a layer of body fat, then your skin. The layer of body fat between your skin and abdominal muscle will go nowhere without a consistent, systemic, four-part approach. This approach includes:

        1. Cardiovascular work to utilize calories and shed excess body fat.

        2. Healthy eating to keep nutrient levels high and sugar, saturated fats and processed food levels low.

        3. Strength training to increase lean muscle mass levels which burn yet more excess calories and fat, even at rest.

        4. Stretching to increase flexibility, which improves the amount of separation and definition in muscles for a chiseled, defined look.

        Doing crunches is great for working the muscles, but without the other components you will never reap the benefits of many days of abdominal exercises. I have worked with people who could do extraordinary amounts of high-level abdominal work, yet failed to achieve results because they weren't eating and exercising correctly or with enough intensity. Once these people used a more balanced approach, they achieved great results and so can you.

        Adopt this four part approach, do it 100 percent and you will achieve the same great results. If you hit all four parts with top intensity, you can make great strides in three to eight weeks. Your results will relate directly to how disciplined and focused you are.

        Contact certified personal trainer Dave Patania at


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