The Dough Boy Look is Gone-Part Six

Do you ever wonder what happened to the days when a little pooch was not a bad thing? I guess that was a few centuries ago, but maybe they had something. Yes, I know, MORE FAT. But still. Then came Twiggy. What was she thinking? Off with the cute goblet and on with stomach-to-the-backbone look. Where is the balance?

Often I am asked, "What is the best exercise I can do to get rid of my pooch?" Rid of. Now what does that mean? WORK, I can promise you. No, you are not going to kick-box the little critter out of your life once and for all. Although...

The results keep rushing in: Pilates is the answer to working the pooch into a leaner look. Ex., "An Auburn University at Montgomery study found that key Pilates moves challenge abdominal muscles to a substantially greater degree than crunches do." (Health Mag., http://www.auburnuniversity.edu/ ).

Parade Magazine reported that Pilates roll-ups work your muscles 30% more than crunches. Have you ever tried a roll-up? I don't mean the candy! A true roll-up. Not sit-ups like you used to do in school for those crazy standard tests. ugh.

Roll That Pooch UP With Pilates!
Roll-ups are performed with precision, control, and concentration. There is none of this up and down using momentum to see how fast and how many you can do. Those days are gone. Well, not really. You will still find those types of sit-ups used but not in a Pilates studio.

Most clients from my experience struggle performing the roll-up, at least at first. And it matters not the age, size, or gender. A weak core is often the inhibitor. Too, if you have "body" issues, you may not be able to execute them very well. Ex. When I first started Pilates, I could NOT do a roll-up. My problem ended up being arthritis in my mid-thoracic. It's a very small area but small is all it takes. Thankfully, I was able to work through the issue and now one of my fav Pilates exercises is the roll-up!

Run That Pooch Off!
If your goal is to develop your core muscles and flatten your tummy, then along with the right eating patterns, and stress reduction, you will need a good exercise program that is consistent. While Pilates strengthens your core and, yes, can aid it in looking more lean, cardio is excellent for burning calories as well as increasing bone density. As a matter of fact, cardio is critical to good health. I recommend that all my clients find some form of cardio to go hand-in-hand with Pilates. While there are Pilates cardio routines being created these days, I personally believe you need to be VERY familiar with the Pilates discipline, and be highly selective in choosing one. FYI-QualityPilates DVD's are few and far between. Keep looking for an upcoming post on cardio and Pilates.

Cris Slentz, PhD, of Duke University conducted a nine month study and concluded,

"If you want to lower abdominal fat, you need to do vigorous cardio for 30 minutes a day or longer six days a week."
He discovered the people who were the most inactive gained the most belly fat and had an increase of 8.5% increase in visceral fat (i.e., the deeper fat that surrounds vital organs). Not only that as a demise, but they also put on 2 extra pounds. Then there was the moderate exercise group. Results? They didn't gain or lost ab fat, but they did lose two pounds. The best result group was the third group who averaged 17 miles per week on the treadmill. They averaged about 7% decrease in ab fat and had a six-pound weight loss. Kudos for them!

FYI Testing for hidden belly fat (visceral) is available; it is simple and non-invasive. Ask your doctor about the brachial-ankle pulse wave velocity test. It accurately predicts the presence of visceral fat by measuring how efficiently blood flows throughout your body. Visceral fat is known to create an impasse to that natural flow. Too, researchers say visceral fat is most commonly found among normal weight people who get little or no exercise. (Prevention, 09/07; Clinical Endocrinology Journal).

Somewhere! Don't just think about it. Do it! And ease your way into a routine of core training and
cardio. You may not want to attempt cardio six days a week to begin with. Take those tiny steps, and
eventually you will be inspired to take leaps!

PART SIX-The Pooch Series

****As always, seek the counsel of your doctor to make sure you are able to begin any form of exercise.