Beating Big Belly Blues

stomach exercisesA 33-year-old mother has this dilemma: She has pretty face, slender limbs, and to-die-for upper body. But here’s the catch: Her belly looks like that of a woman who’s 4 months pregnant. It really makes her red when people ask when she’s due. She’s so embarrassed that she wears baggy sweat pants and long shirts to hide the protruding abs.

She does crunches and sit-ups gazillion times a day and has also tried many belly flattening techniques, to no avail. Her self-esteem is in its all-time low and everything she does isn’t good enough. So what must she do to flatten her unflattering belly? Read on and get some tips on how to make big belly blues away for good.

What causes big belly?

Your inherited genes dictate around 50% to 60% of the fat in your midsection. However, body changes as a result of aging as well as lifestyle play an important role. Hormonal fluctuations often come with a significant increase in waist and belly size, especially in women in their mid-30s. Binge eating, too little sleep, and too much stress can also affect your shape. In addition, your activity level also makes your belly bulge.

Do crunches help in burning your muffin top?

Many people with big belly blues drop to the floor, crunching and sweating from sunup to sundown. This and other "core" workouts won’t flatten your belly. Since this condition isn’t caused by weak muscles but by extra fat in the area, pummeling hard at your abdominal muscles won’t help. Core exercises only strengthen the abs and the surrounding muscles. These moves also provide spinal stability providing that these workouts don’t stress your spine.

What exercise is needed to flatten your belly?

So, what workout must you do to flatten your stomach? Basically, you need more cardio if you want to burn unwanted body fat. With aerobic workouts, your body uses up extra energy, pulling from fat cells all over your body. Here’s a good news: Abdominal fat has higher lipolytic activities compared to lower-body fat. Meaning, more fat-burning enzymes flow in abdominal fat cells. This explains why numerous studies show that cardio workouts can reduce your waist size and flatten your belly.

Complement your cardio exercises by cutting back on the calories you consume. Have a balanced diet. You could workout till you drop, but if you’re a junk food junkie, all sweats and tears will go straight to the dump.