I, my friends, am a lard-butt. I am 6'1", and currently weigh 275. So, I have an enormous gut. That being said, I've started working out as many of you already know. Here's my question.
If my main goal right now is to burn off fat and lose weight, is it best to do crunches every day, every other day, three days a week, more often with less reps, less often with more reps???????? The whole 6-pack thing won't happen for me, and if it ever does.....we are talking years down the road, so right now, I just want to get rid of the gut. What is the best plan???
I must tell you, taihawk, that I have found the best way to do abs, IMO, is with an ab-roller. It is one piece of equipment we bought that we both get continued use. My gym has them, also. I actually like doing abs with the ab-roller.
I'm sorry I can't tell you how often or how many to do, since you are not yet at a comfortable weight and have mentioned you have recurring back pain. I think abs are a necessary and important exercise to keep in your program. Even if you don't see the ab muscles developing, believe that they definitely are becoming stronger. I understand that strong, fit abs actually can help support and protect your back.
I recall you inquired about the stability ball, and have received an informative response. The stability ball is a very good tool in assisting to get in the correct position for ab exercises. The inclined position can help prevent back injury.
Good luck with your continuing exercise program and diet!
thanks, allysheart. I've just heard people commenting about how working them everyday is harmful, while others say you should work them everyday. I can see how working them every day would prevent them from "healing" or rebuilding after an intense workout, and how that may do harm when looking for a 6-pack. However, its pretty obvious I won't have that 6-pack stomach, instead, i'm just looking to shrink the gut and lose weight, so wouldn't burning the abs every day be better right now in order to burn fat off the stomach???
And thank you, I'm going to look into both fitness balls and an abroller, hopefully this weekend.
First of all, as everyone will tell you, you cannot spot reduce. What this means is that you might see the weight coming off your arms, face, buttocks, or what have you before you notice a tremendous difference in the size of your gut despite doing a gazillion crunches a day. Oddly, some say that the first place you put on wieght is often the last place you lose it.
What you need to do is get your diet in check to help lose your body fat so eventually what you want is coming off where you want. The other thing is consistency. Your abs don't need to be worked as hard or as long as your other body parts... they just need to be worked until fatigue (and they can be fatigued in a matter 10 mins or less as opposed to your chest or bi's) consistantly whether it be 3,5, or 7 times a week.
As far as frequency and reps go, most people say that if you exercise your abs 5-7 times a day (therefore not allowing them rest) you get a tone flat stomach without bulk or definition. On the other hand, if you work them 3 times a week and allow the longer recovery period, you get the more masculine, harder, more defined abs. However, this is really mostly true only for those who do weighted ab work. Otherwise, abs technically need only a short recover period anyways. IMO neither way is better/worse for you in terms of your weight-loss goal.
What I would recommend for you is to go easy on your abdominal work and focus more of your time and energy spend doing cardio such as running, cycling, stairs and other stuff. Remember, when you are doing most any other exercise, your abdominal muscles are engaged and getting a workout just from that. Concentrate on keeping your navel pulled in towards your back (i.e. "sucking it in" w/o holding your breathe) when doing these other activities and even when you're not. This alone, without dropping much body fat will give you better posture and an overall slimmer appearance. So eat right and burn the most calories you can... what follows is not as important just yet.
As far as your actual abdominal exercises:
I would say try shooting for 3 days a week and sticking to about 12 - 15 repetitions per set and 3 sets per exercise. To get your abdominal region prepped, make sure to incorporate at least one exercise per section of your abs (i.e - upper/lower abdominals, obliques, etc). It might be hard for you to do 10, 5, or even 1... but don't despair and slowly build your way up to doing the full amount of repitions. It is important to do only what you can without compromising your form, especially with your back problem. The stability ball should help support your lumbar region in order not to injury yourself. However, the minute you feel your abs are spent... push yourself to do 1-3 more to make sure they are being worked and that will be the appropriate # of reps for you to shoot for.
I have confidence that you will be able to accomplish anything you aspire for yourself... just keep asking questions and working at it... you'll get it, even the six pack one of these days!
Hello, StrtnOut. You have given some really good advice to the members who have questions about their workouts. I'm fine to plan for myself, but I'm terrible when it comes to explaining to others. It's great you're online to answer the tough questions.
taihawk, I wanted to add, FYI, that the ab-roller is super for targeting the ab muscles. However, the stability ball is great for a balanced, all-around workout. You can learn all the floor exercises which can be performed on a mat, but you'll get the extra benefit of the core strengthening when utilitzing the ball.
We were shopping in our Big 5 Sporting Goods store last weekend, and I saw at least 3 or 4 brands of stability balls. If the stability balls are sold with a brochure about how to do a complete workout on them, they might be your best buy.
Keep up the good attitude, and I like your sense of humor and honesty. Best of luck.
Last edited by AllysHeart; 09-23-2005 at 12:30 PM.
Thanks for all of the kind words. I have kind of the opposite problem as you. I have the ability to retain a lot of useful/useless knowledge but have a harder time when it comes to trying to help myself. Being such a hard-gainer and a history of slow results, I kind of feel hypocritical when it comes time to share with others what they should do. It's always fun to at least try and help anyways... especially when you are bored and stuck in the office.