It’s so frustrating! You
may be doing everything right – Pilates, Barre, HIIT, lots of core work, regular exercise, you make healthy eating choices most of the time – why do you still have lower belly fat?? Both underweight and overweight people can struggle with lower belly fat.
Here are some of the main reasons:
1. You’re doing the wrong workouts
Pilates will absolutely tone your muscles and strengthen your core. But for most people Pilates or yoga alone isn’t the answer. To effectively burn fat to reveal your abs beneath, you need a combination of weight and cardio training. Why? You may have heard that muscle burns more calories than fat. The importance of this is that you’ll naturally burn more calories throughout the day, (ie at rest) when you have more lean muscle. You can’t spot burn fat so it’s important to get that heart rate up and sweat!
2. Your workout isn’t challenging enough.
You may need to ramp up your workouts. Challenge your body!
In a study published in the journal of Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, people who completed a high-intensity workout regimen lost more belly than those who followed a low-intensity plan. Once you’re comfortable with a certain exercise and are performing it with correct form, challenge yourself and choose the more advance option, or pick up a heavier weight. Try to squeeze in more reps then you did the last class.
3. You’re stressed
We’ve become so busy, even trying to leave work or home to make your class is stressful! When we have so many demands on us, it’s so hard not to be even just a little stressed out. Unfortunately, stress also causes unwanted fat. It’s not only because we tend to make bad food choices when we’re stressed or tired, it’s also because of the hormone cortisol. Cortisol is associated with stress, and more stress reactive women release more cortisol and have higher amounts of belly fat whether they are thin or overweight. If you are a woman doing everything right and still struggling with female belly fat, and especially a thin woman suffering from belly fat, the primary issue for you is stress management. Maybe it’s as simple as turning everything off for ten minutes, going into a room on your own, breathing and sipping a cup of tea.
4. You’re tired.
Linked to number 3! Sleep is vital indicator of overall health and well-being - this is when our bodies recover and do magical stuff. The National Sleep Foundation recommends that adults aged between 26-64 get 7-9 hours of sleep per day. Are you getting enough? Prioritise your rest and recovery days. Working out and eating well isn’t enough if you’re not getting enough sleep. You’ll workout harder and eat better after a good rest.
Here are some exercises to do at home that target our lower abs:
To start: Lie down on your back with your arms down by your sides. Extend your legs, keeping your knees slightly bent with your heels lifted about 10cm off the floor. Engage your abs by pulling your navel in towards your spine. Imagine you are trying to poke someone with your toes!
Begin: Lift one knee towards your chest as far as you can while keeping the other leg extended (as if you are going to hug one knee into your chest). Pause at the top then lower and extend your leg to meet the other one. Repeat on the other side.
Scissor kicks (high)
To start: From the same start position, lift one leg to point to the ceiling while keeping your other leg extended along the floor.
Begin: Pause for a beat then lower the top leg to bring your feet together. Imagine your legs are as straight and strong as a soldier marching. Like your legs are the blades of scissors! Chop, chop, chop.
Plank to Pike
To start: Start in an elbow plank position – resting on your elbows directly beneath your shoulders and your feet hip-width apart. Make sure that your body is in a completely straight line from your shoulders to ankles. Press down firmly with your forearms to make your abs work harder.
Begin: Engage your lower abs to lift hips up in the air, pressing chest back toward thighs (like in a V position or downward dog). Pause for a moment before lowering hips back into your plank.
If you have any questions or would like us to show you some great ab exercises, just ask a Core Candy trainer!