Ask the Coach

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Q: Where are my abs and why are they hiding?

Everyone has abs but most people have a layer of fat covering them from view. It is not possible to spot reduce fat from one designated area. Fat is gained and lost from all over the body. To reveal your abs, reduce body fat levels until the layer of fat on your stomach is thin enough to show the level of detail in your abdominals you desire. Sounds easy, right! Then why don’t more people have trimmer waist lines? Most people eat more than they move and begin to gain belly fat from unused energy (too many calories). One pound of fat is 3500 calories. Just an afternoon fancy coffee with whipped cream can be 800-1000 calories. The average two mile walk in 30-35 minutes burns 150 calories. If you enjoy eating fast food, sugar, fried foods and high calorie beverages, it will be hard to exercise enough to keep up with that type of diet. It takes a combination of healthy eating, portion control and meaningful exercise to begin to burn stored energy. Eat lean proteins and lots of fruits and veggies. Increase your fiber and water intake. Food prep is a necessity for success. Move more! Include resistance training, cardio and flexibility activities. Physical activity (PA) guidelines for health are 30 minutes of cardio five days a week, perform resistance training two-three times a week and stretch at least once a week for 20 minutes. Experiment with different activities to find what you enjoy. Exercising 60-90 minutes, most days of the week, may achieve weight loss. Interval training may also work. Think about what support you may need to stay motivated long enough to create real change. If you want that six pack, time to get busy!
Q: Do you have any exercises I could do at work to burn some extra calories without bothering my coworkers?

If you’re able to do squats, lunges or other legwork options while at your office chair, try them! You can hold onto your chair and try squats, or you can sit at your desk, squeeze your glutes, and kick your legs out for quad extensions. Standing leg lifts in a variety of directions while squeezing your glutes is also effective and activates the muscles that have been sedentary while sitting. Sitting is the new smoking so moving at work is good for your health. I have a stand-up desk. Keep an exercise band in your desk and use it for leg and upper body exercises. If you drop something at the office instead of bending down to pick it up, try a squat. Get out of your cubicle and take the long way to the bathroom. Squeeze in a few stretches before the walk back. Pack lunch and use part of that time to exercise or lap the building. Park further away from your destination. Better yet, try suggesting a walking meeting!

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Carla Gray, BSES, HFS, CPT is a personal trainer and can be reached at
info@fitnessconnection.net or (504) 885-7855.

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