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To Crunch Or Not To Crunch, That Is The Question

Everyone wants washboard abs but how exactly do you get them? The answer has not been very clear and many professional fitness trainers disagree about the proper way to achieve that desirable mid section. This causes much confusion amongst their clients. Am I wasting my time doing hours of abdominal work every week?

For some time now there have been two schools of thought those who believe the only way to see your abs is to focus on shedding whole-body fat levels through diet and aerobic exercise, and those who say that you have to do lots of abdominal exercises to reduce the fat in you mid-section.

Up until now, many scoffed at the premise of exercise induced spot-fat-reduction. Well the jury is finally in and it appears that spot-fat reduction is a reality.

While whole body fat reduction is best served by reducing caloric intake and performing aerobic exercise, there is now evidence that the fat that is directly adjacent to the working muscles burns at a higher rate than fat that is adjacent to the resting muscles. It stands to reason, but until now, has not been proven.

A study published this month by the Department of Medical Physiology at the Panum Institute, University of Copenhagen in Denmark showed that subjects who performed high repetition leg extensions at varying intervals and resistance levels for up to two hours with one leg at a time exhibited a higher degree of fat oxidation in area directly adjacent to the working leg muscles.

This increase in fat oxidation was irrespective to exercise duration or intensity. The fat directly adjacent to the working muscles burned at a higher rate than the resting muscles. Period.

This increased fat oxidation was also associated with a higher degree of blood flow to the local area of the working muscles and adjacent fatty tissue. This may enhance the fats ability to be carried away and disposed of by the liver thus increasing the likelihood that the fat won t simply be re-deposited elsewhere.

The take away from this study is very clear and should put the debate over exercise induced spot-fat reduction to rest once and for all. If you want to rid yourself of the fat that covers a specific area of your body, such as your abs, you ll have the greatest success if you focus on exercises that work the muscles directly adjacent to the problem area. If you want washboard abs you ll have to start doing more abdominal work.

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