Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Why crunches don't work

Well, what are the six pack abs, anyway? Is it a phenomenon associated with a bunch of guys/gals with great genetics? The answer to that question is "NO". Everyone is blessed with similar body composition. You and the guy with the biggest physique on the planet both have same structure. It is just a size that is different. Even the most obese guy around has the six pack abs. They are not visible because they are hidden behind the layer of stubborn fats called 'belly'.

If you were to ask people about the most effective exercise for loosing fat around abdomen, 90% of them will say Crunches/Sit-ups. According to them exercising a particular muscle group will burn the fats stored around that area. This is known as the phenomenon of spot reduction. Many people believe it and follow it religiously. But the problem is "spot reduction does not work"

Let's see why. First of all, understand how fats are stored, mobilized and used as energy by the body. We all know that fat is stored in the body to be used during the period of scarcity. Approximately 90% of body's fat is stored subcutaneously (i.e. just under the skin). this is what is visible to us. When we increase our activity level and/or lower our calorie intake, our body secretes some enzymes and stored fat is transported to the liver. There it is converted into a usable form and then is sent to the cells where it will be metabolized for energy.

But there is no direct connection between fat storage and nearby muscle. So if you are doing crunches and/or sit-ups, your abdominal muscles will not consume abdominal fats for energy. This is true for all other body parts as well. Whatever energy you need for the activity will be taken uniformly from all the storage sites. Hence, there will not be any visible reduction in the area you are exercising. But over the period of time, if this process continues, you will start noticing some changes in your body shape.

If not crunches then what? Besides this you will have to involve other body parts as well. Concentrating on abdomen alone won't help. Do the whole body work out, incorporate some cardio of 20-30 minutes for about twice or thrice a week and adjust your food habits. If you do this, your set of six pack will reveal it self in three to six months' time.

So get healthy guys, coz its your right!