Posted by: Karen | 2011/03/23

Stomach fat

Hello, please could you advise...
I''m 29, 1.57 tall and around 54kg. I''m fairly slim except for my stomach. I just dont know how I can get it flatter! I don''t eat a lot of fatty foods and I work out around 3 times a week. This is my routine:

''Bums and Tums'' class on a Tuesday for 50 minutes = crunches, squats, leg lifts and curls etc
Swimming on a Wednesday for an hour = 20-30 lengths of the gym pool, breast stroke
Brisk walk in the park/beach on a Saturday for an hour or two.

I know I can''t spot reduce, but is there anything I can do for my stomach?

Thank you!

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageFitnessDoc

Hi Karen

This is perhaps the most common question, even those who exercise regularly. It’s particularly troublesome as we get older, because we lose muscle mass and that makes it more and more difficult to combat the body’s frustrating tendency to store fat, which is really the problem here. Our genes determine where that fat is deposited, which is why some people battle with the stomach, others with arms or thighs.

Regardless of the location, the key is a combination of proper exercise and careful diet. Proper exercise means avoiding the myth that you can spot reduce. That is, there is a perception that you can target specific areas for fat loss by doing very specific exercise. Unfortunately, a million sit-ups a day is not the sole solution. It certainly has a beneficial effect, as I’ll explain, but by itself is not the solution. So rather than becoming pre-occupied on one area, your aim should be to increase metabolic rate – that’s how you burn fat. You do through regular cardiovascular exercise, which includes cycling, aerobics, taebo, spinning, walking or jogging.

So you're already doing that, but my concern is the number of days - 3 is on the low side - remember, this is the most difficult thing to achieve, it's so common but so difficult to overcome. That means that more than 3 days is likely to be needed.

If you can add a day, maybe even two, that might tilt the balance in your favour. The other issue is intensity of training. You obviously can't go flat out all the time, but you do often get a lot of benefit from short periods of higher intensity training. So you might take that walk, and for example, turn it into a mix of walking and running. Say walk 5 minutes, run 5 minutes, for the same length of time.

Finally, remember that diet is the great “enabler”. If exercise is perfect, but diet poor, then you undermine your progress. So cover that base, perhaps by seeing a dietician, and get cover all three bases.

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

Our users say:
Posted by: lydia | 2011/04/13

I have the same problem I eat healthy and excercise regularly but no difference and i have very big arms it does not fit my body as I am not fat and i recently accumulated fat on my stomach and arms what must I do,so frustated i can not even wear short sleeves.

Reply to lydia
Posted by: Debs | 2011/03/30

Hi try introducing some weight training into your programme. And regarding the meals try 5 meals and make those meals the size of your fist.

Good Luck

Reply to Debs

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