A flat stomach for 2009

The number one goal of gym members is fat loss and the greatest indicator of success in this regard is a flat stomach. It doesn’t matter if you’re male or female, young or old, a toned mid section is what we’re after.  If losing extra bodyweight is the goal, then the ultimate result is a flat stomach. Achieving this result comes down to three main areas.

The first area to attack is to increase the number of calories we burn during the day. In future emails I will go into more detail as to why we would choose certain workouts and intensities over others for this purpose. For now we want to aim for a minimum of three, one hour workouts per week. These workouts should be resistance based and fairly intense. By intensity I mean you shouldn’t be able to do 20 reps of a given exercise. If so, you should look to increase the load. If you’re already at a reasonable fitness level then walking on the treadmill for an hour isn’t going to cut it.

The second area to address for achieving a flat midsection is to reduce our caloric intake. The two big mistakes most make in this regard are failing to adjust their caloric intake after losing some weight and not spreading their calories out over a 24 day. Here’s what I mean about each.

Imagine if a 200 pound individual needs to consume 2400 calories per day to lose weight. After three months this individual has lost 25 pounds. Our daily caloric requirement is based on a number of factors including our goal and our current mass. As our mass changes we need to update our caloric intake as well. Continuing to consume the calories of our former, larger bodies will not facilitate continued weight loss.

The second mistake many individuals make regarding their daily caloric requirement is that they fail to consider this intake over a 24 hour day. Consider again the example of 2400 calories in a day. If we spread this over 6 meals this works out to 400 calories per meal. This is not a significant amount of calories at any one feeding but will keep our blood sugar stable throughout the day. Now think about having a 500 calorie breakfast, skipping 3 meals during the day and then having a big 1800 calorie dinner at the end of the day. If we disregard the intake over the course of the day we see a total of 2300 calories consumed and therefore have created a caloric deficit since 2300 is less than 2400. Our bodies don’t work this way and we will store the extra calories from the 1800 calorie dinner rather than get leaner as we expect because of our ‘caloric deficit’.

The last area to consider with weight loss is a combination of the two. Some people don’t want to change their eating habits and will opt for an extra workout or two during the week to achieve their goal. Others would prefer to pass on the extra physical demands of training and instead will avoid the beer and wings. The best and fastest results come from those who make an increased effort in both areas. If you are one of these motivated individuals to do a little more in both areas remember to give yourself a rest day or two and a cheat meal every week to reward yourself and stay on track.

Now go get started on that six-pack!

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