All Woman

I want a six pack

Monday, September 17, 2012    

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Dear Donovan,

Great job with your weekly piece in All Woman and the advice you give. I wish to ask a quick question: With a small belly bulge for a man age 40, what would be the most effective exercise routine to reduce this, or return me to my six pack days? I started jogging three times weekly and probably do about 100 ab crunches each time. Will this routine provide me with any results over time, or what simple exercise would you consider to be most effective?

Richard

Dear Richard,

The best way to get rid of the belly bulge and to get a washboard stomach is to take a three-pronged approach. This should include a diet plan, a detox programme and an exercise regimen.

It is very important to take the bulge off and to keep it off. As such, you must develop a healthy lifestyle programme and in my view, exercise alone will not work.

Start with a detox programme which is also called a wash-out. Oftentimes, the rate at which we are putting in food and also the combination can cause the gut to block up. This can lead to constipation, which means that faeces would be eliminated too slowly. When this happens, the walls of the intestines become coated with waste matter and the stomach becomes sluggish. Leftover food can also attract a lot of potentially harmful microorganisms. As such, one must strike to keep the stomach and the intestines clean.

Initially, a nine-night detox programme is recommended. While you are doing the detox programme, it is very important to watch what you are eating, the amount, and also the combination. Here are some suggestions that will allow you to lose fat overall, and especially around your stomach:

1. Cut your carbohydrate intake in half

2. Avoid eating after 6:30 pm

3. Drink six to eight glasses of water daily

4. Eat proteins with vegetables

5. Eat carbohydrates with vegetables

6. Avoid eating greasy foods

7. Drink at least one glass of vegetable juice daily

8. Eat more raw fruits and vegetables

9. Reduce/eliminate the consumption of alcohol.

The meal plan and the detox programme will result in the stomach becoming softer and flatter with more skin. It will therefore become more possible to tone up both the upper and lower stomach muscles then.

There are wide and varying views about which exercise regimen will work best. Some suggest that crunches are not helpful to tone the stomach muscles. However, in my experience, I have found crunches, yoga, Pilates and swimming to be very helpful in toning the stomach. In addition, working with a personal trainer might also be important.

A point to note is that the stomach must be prepared for toning, otherwise the results will not be as impressive. If the gut is full of undigested food, it will be very hard to tone it. In addition, you will have to maintain a healthy lifestyle or the stomach will come right back. It will be like putting a drain cleaner in a blocked up drain and you clear it then begin to put food particles down the drain again. Good luck!

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