Today, most trainers know that doing abs to lose belly fat is useless … At least we hope so! And yet, we still see too often people in gyms doing endless series of abs believing they will lose their belly.
The results of Studies are clear…
We could explain you some of the studies (see references) that have been done on the issue of localized fat loss, so that you understand that there is no point in doing abs to lose belly fat and that you should better do squat sets, instead, we prefer you to use your brain and your common sense.
To be consumed, the fat (triglyceride) stored in adipocytes cells must be broken down thanks to different hormones, in order to enter the bloodstream. It will then be used somewhere else by a muscle. This means that during a run, the fat can be removed from your back or your chest, to be used by the quadriceps. So you understand that to lose belly fat, no need to do abs, as the fat that you use in doing these abs might come from your toes!
To hope to lose belly fat you must lose fat generally speaking, by exercising and follow a diet. Basically, you need to burn more calories than the number you ingest and hope that your body wants to lose some belly fat. And yes, it will depend (mainly) on our genetics.
But if doing abs does not necessarily melt belly fat, which exercise is the most efficient?
We have just seen that you have to create an energy deficit to lose fat, by exercising for example.
How many calories do you think you burn by doing 15 minutes of non-stop abs? About 50 kcal… only! And now, how many calories would you burn for 15 min of body weight squat? About 230 kcal! It’s much more effective isn’t it!
To sum up, you now understand that it is not this or that exercise that is more efficient to lose the fat in a specific area. The most efficient thing to do is to burn more calories. Your body will probably remove more fat from the belly if you spend 230 kcal doing a circuit training than doing 15 minutes of abs to ultimately burn only 50 kcal!
To the statement “I need to do abs to lose belly fat”, we say NO! The human body cannot (effectively) burn the fat that is located “next to” the trained muscle. It is therefore more effective to do exercises that require as many muscles as possible (or bigger muscles) to burn as many calories as possible and increase your chances of losing fat where you want it.
So next time your trainer tells you: “lets do some abs to lose belly fat”, tell him/her to come at Training Paradise, we ill be happy to teach him the basics of weightloss and exercise.
Journal of Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport. P.242-247 | Accepted 31 Aug 1983. Effects of Sit up Exercise Training on Adipose Cell Size and Adiposity. Frank I. Katch and al.
Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. 2013 Aug; 27(8):2219-24. Regional fat changes induced by localized muscle endurance resistance training. Ramírez-Campillo R and al.
Medicine and Science on Sports and Exercise. 2007 Jul. 39(7):1177-85. Subcutaneous fat alterations resulting from an upper-body resistance training program. Kostek MA and al.
Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research (2011). 25 (9): 2559–64. The Effect of Abdominal Exercise on Abdominal Fat. Vispute, Sachin S, Smith, John D, Le Cheminant, James D, Hurley, Kimberly S.