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5 Myths About a Flat Stomach

abs.jpgEveryone wants a flat stomach. Most of us have enough common sense not to fall for the gimmicks. But some of the claims are so convincing it's tough to know what to believe.

Here are the Top 5 myths:

1. Ab Exercise Gadgets

You've seen the infomercials. Svelte bodies demonstrating the latest ab machine to "tone and sculpt" your abdominal muscles. Of course they're smiling through it all, and the before and after photos are compelling.

The truth is ab exercises will not give you six pack abs. Sure they may strengthen your core, but if the muscles are covered in a layer of fat, no one will see them!

No there is no magic exercise or machine for flat abs. Certainly exercise is necessary, but spot reducing fat by targeted exercising is a myth. The key is to get lean and lose body fat to uncover the muscles.

2. Hours of Low Intensity Cardio

You see them at the gym: the people who hog the cardio machines for hours trying to get lean. While regular cardio certainly has benefits for your heart, there is no evidence that 90 minutes a day of low or moderate intensity cardio will produce a flat stomach any more than 45 minutes a day. Instead, mix high intensity bursts into your cardio routine.

Increase the incline on the treadmill for 10 minutes a few times during your workout. Bump up the resistance on the elliptical or stairmaster. Add some hills or sprints to your 4 mile runs and bike rides. Alternate lower and upper body exercises when you lift weights so you don't rest between sets.

High intensity cardio will yield a flat stomach in less time and with more effectiveness than endless low or moderate intensity cardio.

3. Eating Certain "Fat Burning" Foods

This is perhaps the most laughable myth. There is no such thing as a fat burning food! Sure low calorie foods and high fiber foods are better for weight loss. But there are no magic foods that will burn stomach fat or any fat for that matter.

Eating for a flat stomach means more frequent meals, cutting out sugar and processed carbohydrates, more fiber, and lean protein. It's that simple.

4. Taking Supplements

Do you really think there is a pill that will give you flat abs? I know the before and after photos are convincing, but let's be realistic. Don't you think if it really worked everyone would have a six pack?

Read the small print. Every supplement sold comes with literature on how to diet and exercise to get the "full" benefits. What they don't tell you is you would achieve the same results without the pills.

People are so desperate for an easy solution that there is an endless supply of supplements and diet pills. Good health does not come in a pill. Regular exercise and careful eating is the only way to get the awesome body you are seeking. There are no shortcuts.

5. Crash Diets

Fad diets, fasting, and trying to "fool" your body into burning fat are increasingly popular. Many of these diets and eating strategies will actually cause you to retain fat over the long run!

How many times have you been gung ho about the latest diet, lost a few pounds, only to regain it quickly? Yo-yo dieting will retrain your body to hang on to fat and make it more difficult to lose weight next time.

Your body's most powerful instinct is survival. If you starve it, your fat storing mechanism goes in to overdrive.

Don't fall for these myths. The way to a flat stomach is regular exercise, including high intensity exercise, a balanced healthy diet, and frequent small meals.

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Disclaimer: The health related information contained herein is for educational purposes only,and is not meant to replace medical advice, diagnose or treat any disease. We do not assume any liability whatsoever for the use of this information. You should always consult your physician or health care provider before starting any therapeutic program.

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