Do crunches and other abs exercises really burn your belly fat?
- Are crunches really a fat burning exercise?
If you are gym goer, you must have seen people perform crunches or sit-ups and must have assumed or been told by someone that they target and burn your belly fat.
When you perform crunches, you work and contract your rectus abdominis muscle. Rectus abdominus is nothing but your six pack abs. So, what you are essentially doing is working on your ab muscles and not burning your belly fat.
If you feel soreness in your belly area after performing crunches or any other abs exercises, it means you have torn the muscle fibres of the rectus abdominus and/or obliques, which over time, the body repairs by itself. Once the body repairs the muscle fibres the size of muscle increases. So, don't falsely assume that the soreness is related to the burning of your belly fat.
By performing crunches or any ab exercise you cannot magically spot reduce your belly fat but you can spot strengthen. You can strengthen your upper abs, your lower abs and your obliques but you cannot reduce fat in those specific areas without total fat loss.
How does fat loss work?
When you consume carbohydrates, your body stores them as glycogen in your liver and muscle. When you perform weight training or high-intensity interval training, you start depleting your glycogen levels in your liver and muscle. Once glycogen is completely depleted, your body begins to use fat as a source of energy. And that fat may not necessarily be belly fat it can be from the fat stored in other parts of the body.
What's the take away from this article?
First and foremost, your abs will only be visible when you lower your body fat percentage. Until you lower your body fat percentage, don't constantly train your abs by assuming that you’ll say goodbye to your belly fat. Fat loss is something that requires you to follow a proper diet and a good workout routine and more importantly an impregnable willpower.Published 31 Jul 2018, 22:53 IST