As mentioned in yesterday’s blog post, which can be found HERE, after having my twin girls, and losing my baby weight, I still had that annoying lower belly “pooch.” I hid it by wearing pants with an elastic waist, some of my old (smaller-sized) maternity pants, and I paired them with longer t-shirts to cover my stomach.
I couldn’t understand why I wasn’t losing at my midsection, specifically in my lower belly area. Especially because I was losing on other parts of my body.
I was doing abdominal exercise DVD almost daily, changing my diet…. what gives??
What I didn’t realize is I was falling into the 5 biggest ab-training myths. I shared those 5 myths in yesterday’s blog. As promised, in today’s blog I will share the top 5 truths about firming your midsection and lower belly area. This will include what I did to trim my mid and finally ditch my old maternity jeans. 🙂
Myth: NOT how to firm your abs!
5 TRUTHS: REAL WAYS TO FIRM UP YOUR MIDSECTION
TRUTH 1: You need to lower your total body fat to firm up your midsection and lower belly area
- As mentioned yesterday, you cannot spot reduce, which is what I was trying to do by doing the same abdominal exercises every day. I heard a quote recently that resonated with me, “Trying to spot reduce fat with targeted exercise is like trying to change a tire with a pencil. It’s practically impossible.” – Dr. Jade Teta. I was trying to use a pencil and it wasn’t working. So instead I focused on lowering my total body fat (using the “truths” below) to not only reveal a toned midsection, but also lean down in other places as well.
TRUTH 2: You need to add strength training – and not just for your abs
- I started seeing a trainer who put me on a total body strength training program. As she explained, I needed to burn off total body fat to see my abs. I had already lost weight on the scale, but my body fat vs. muscle ratio was not optimal. She said performing total body strength training exercises will burn off body fat more efficiently than sticking with abdominal exercises alone.
TRUTH 3: You need to monitor nutrition – the most important piece: being in a caloric deficit.
- My new trainer told me the biggest driver of body fat reduction will always be diet. I need a caloric deficit to burn body fat. It’s near to impossible to get the caloric deficit we need to drop body fat from exercise alone. There is value to tracking calories (at least temporarily) on a calorie-tracking app, like My Fitness Pal to make sure calories and portions are in line for fat loss.
- Are you getting your PVW’s (protein, veggies, water)? I wasn’t. We can track calories, but if we’re not consuming enough lean protein, veggies, adequate water consumption, we may lose weight, but still have higher levels of body fat – and possibly hold onto that body fat in your midsection.
TRUTH 4: Hormones may be a factor and stress reduction & sleep can help
- Stress and the hormone cortisol have been shown to have an impact on belly fat. Hormones are huge when it comes to fitness, but they are often the forgotten piece of the puzzle. Make sure you are aiming to get a good night’s sleep and build restorative activities into your lifestyle – like leisure walks, yoga, massage, etc. Post-pregnancy hormones and sleep-deprivation after twins was having an impact on me 🙂
TRUTH 5: You need to be consistent
- I couldn’t do one strength workout and nothing the rest of the month. I had to stop trying to be perfect and doing tons of workouts and nutrition changes for a week and then burn out and fall off the wagon the next week. In addition, I had to commit to a nutrition and workout plan that felt sustainable and could be paired with being a new mom and my other responsibilities. I learned a valuable lesson… you do not have to be “perfect” 100% of the time. Consistency always trumps perfection.