DeAnna Dimmitt Mind Body Fitness


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How to eliminate belly fat and get flat abs

DeAnnaDimmitt_sidePlank

Let’s talk about belly fat. What is it, why is it dangerous and what are you going to do about it?

What is it?

Belly fat is the common name for a condition known as abdominal obesity. There are two different kinds of fat: subcutaneous and visceral.  Subcutaneous fat tends to accumulate in the lower body (the pear shape) and is the type of fat that you can pinch.  Subcutaneous fat is problematic but is not considered to be as great of a health risk as visceral fat.  When there is a large accumulation of fat in the abdominal area (the apple shape), this is usually visceral fat.   While subcutaneous fat tends to be closer to the surface, visceral fat lays out of reach, deep within the abdominal cavity, where it pads the spaces between our organs.  In a nutshell: belly fat = visceral fat.

Why is it dangerous?

When the circumference of the waist exceeds the circumference of the hips, it poses a significant health risk regardless of total body fat.  Excess visceral fat has been linked to the development of metabolic syndrome (MetS) and increased risk for cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. In women, it is also associated with breast cancer and the need for gallbladder surgery.

In English this time?

Excessive belly fat is not only bad for the bikini, it’s very hazardous to your health!

What are you going to do about it?

Now this is the really loaded question but I’m sure you can guess the answer.  Is there a magic pill that will do the work for you while you change nothing? Short answer: No.  Diet and exercise, i.e., lifestyle change is what’s going to make the difference.

Diet

To quote Jillian Michaels, “You can eat your way through any workout”, meaning that it doesn’t matter how much you exercise if you still consume more calories than you burn.  Here’s the straight scoop. For the body to burn fat, it must use more fuel than it consumes.  This is referred to as creating a caloric deficit. It takes a caloric deficit of 3500 calories to lose 1, yeah – just 1, pound of fat.  In order to set a schedule of losing 1 pound a week it is necessary to have a caloric deficit of 500 calories a day.

Now before you flip out and decide that starvation must be the only solution, and me assure you that starvation is not the solution, it is important to understand that it takes a certain amount of calories for the body to function at all.  No calories = no function. Get it?  This minimum number of required calories is known as the Basal Metabolic Rate or BMR and is determined by your height, weight, age and gender. To determine your BMR, here is a handy BMR calculator http://www.bmi-calculator.net/bmr-calculator/

Your daily caloric intake should never be less than your BMR.

Here are a few diet tips to help you.

#1 The refined sugar has got to go.  This is including and especially referring to soda and other sweetened beverages like sweet tea or Kool-Aid and many sport drinks. Read labels!

#2 Minimize or eliminate Wheat Gluten. Did you ever see that movie, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World? There is a wonderful scene where Scott (Michael Cera) is talking to Ramona Flowers about bread. Rather than explain, just watch this 7 second video

Yes, bread makes you fat.

#3 Limit caffeine.  I love coffee just as much, and probably more, than the average person but here’s the thing.  Excessive caffeine kicks your body into fight-or-flight mode. This would be a good thing if maybe you were being chased by a lion, not so good while sitting at a computer checking email.  While the adrenals are pumping out epinephrine and norepinephrine they set into motion a cascade of fattening hormonal actions. Your liver releases blood sugar for quick energy, your pancreas spits our insulin to counter the sugar, and your blood sugar dips because of the insulin. Also, your blood vessels constrict making you feel like your blood sugar is crashing even harder and what do you do? Head straight for the vending machine to find something, anything, to help you return to feeling normal.

#4 While I encourage everyone to do their own research, I am a fan of the Whole Food Diet.  Can’t go wrong by eliminating processed foods.

Exercise

Gonna say this right off. There is no such thing as spot burning fat.  What that means is that you can do ab crunches till infinity, and get some really ripped rectus abdominis muscles that no one will see because they’re still under all the fat.

While core strength is vitally important to every aspect of fitness and should never be ignored, most ab strengthening exercises do not burn very many calories.

Here are a few exercise tips to help you strengthen your abdominal muscles while blasting the heart rate and burning fat at the same time.

#1 Standing Mountain Climbers – Like running in place with high knees but add the arms in too.  Run in place while popping the knees as high as you can while at the same time reaching or “climbing” overhead with the arms.  Begin the move with the right knee and the left arm raised, then alternate.  Light hand weights are optional.standingmountainclimber

#2 Standing Pike Kicks – From a standing position reach both arms forward at chest level or higher and alternate front kicks. Kick as high as you can, try to kick your hands. Do this move as fast as you can while maintaining stability.

frontkicks

#3 180 Jumps – That’s jumping 180 degrees, not necessarily jumping 180 times! Like a jump squat but with a turn. Begin with the feet at shoulder width apart, drop down in the knees and jump, use your core to turn your body in the air and land facing the opposite direction.JumpSquats180

#4 Burpees –  Start in a standing position. Drop down, bending the knees and planting the hands on the floor. Jump or step back into plank. Jump or step the feet back up between the hands and stand up.  For extra fun, add in a jump at the end of  the move when you stand back up.burpees-henry-cavill-tabata-workout-09112011

Perform all of these fat blasting exercises as fast as you can while maintaining stability for 30 seconds. Intensity is the key to higher calorie burn BUT if you feel that you are losing your balance or are becoming light headed, listen to your body and SLOW DOWN.

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Sources:

Harvard Medical School Family Health Guide

ACE Fitness

Book: “Master Your Metabolism” by Jillian Michaels

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Professional Development

This is true in all professions: sometimes we get so busy working that we don’t make time for learning. It’s vital to remember that your current skill set can only take you so far and learning is an essential key to moving forward. Next month I’m taking advantage of two excellent opportunities for professional development.

September 9, 2012:

PiYo Instructor/Pro Training and Workshop

Together Strong in Santa Fe, NM

Click here for details

September 25, 2012

Power Yoga workshop with Bryan Kest

Yoga Junction in Louisville, CO

Click here for details

This train is just getting started!


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The right tool for the job

This is a story about cheap yoga mats.

While I am not a yoga fashion snob, I will be the first to say that quality comes at a price and, as with most things, you get what you pay for.

I was at Target the other day, perusing the fitness gear and thinking that my yoga mat was starting to look pretty chewed up. I’ve had it a couple years and PiYo is a little more, um, vigorous, than your average yoga workout.

Target is not a yoga supply shop but they do have a small selection of mats that fall into three categories: cheap, nice, and extra squishy.  The “nice” mats are Gaiam 3mm, super grip, non slip, 6P Free, and come in a variety of fruity colors. They are $20.  The extra squishy mats are from Gaiam and The Firm, 5mm, same pretty colors and features. The extra squishy mats are $30.

Now, let’s talk about the cheap mats.  For one thing, there didn’t used to be a “cheap” mat option at Target.  There was only “nice” and “extra squishy”.  Then one day, along came the cheap mat. To be polite, I’ll call it Brand X.  Brand X mat is similar to the Gaiam 3mm mats.  It is the same thickness, comes in a few less colors, and is made of something that appears to be the same material.  Brand X mat is $10.

I should’ve known better, not only should have but did know better.  I could tell that the texture was not quite the same as the Gaiam mats and I was a little bugged at the lack of color and design options but, for some reason, I let the crazy cheap price tag affect my better judgement and I got one anyway.  I thought “well, if it’s terrible, it was only $10″.   To be clear, there was really nothing about this mat that made me think it wouldn’t be terrible so I don’t know why I was surprised when it turned out to be unusable.  I don’t know what this discount piece of crap is made of but it is so slippery that I cannot hold any pose without my hands and feet sliding out from under me. I would consider it borderline unsafe.  Being unstable can lead to injuries.

Not wanting to admit that I made a bad decision, I still used this mat for a couple of weeks.  I even conducted a Google search for how to make a yoga mat less slippery. I scrubbed it down with salt water but it didn’t help much.  I had bought a $10 slip-n-slide. Last night I noticed that there are already chunks falling out of it caused by jumping from forward fold to plank.  I’m really good at that transition.  There’s no thumping, no toe injuries, and no reason this mat should be falling apart after only two weeks.  So now, only $10 doesn’t seem like such a good deal.  Wasted $10 sounds more like it.

Today I decided that I couldn’t deal with the Brand X mat any longer so I went back and bought a Gaiam mat for $20 except I really paid $30 for it because I tried to take the cheap route instead of just getting the right tool for the job in the first place.


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All in your head

A few years ago I received a panicked phone call from a friend of mine. I had just sat down to lunch but she was so distraught that I left my plate on the table and went to her house. Without divulging her personal details, I’ll just say that she had uncovered some information that had rocked her world in an unpleasant manner.

A lot of things went down that day but there is one thing that sticks in my head. She asked me “how could I have been so stupid?” I said to her “You weren’t stupid. You made the best decision you could based on the information you had. None of this is your fault but, now that you have different information, what happens next is on you.”

Over the next 6 months she completely transformed her life which, unfortunately for me, meant that she moved all the way across the country but the important thing is that she is living her vision. I would like to take credit for her success but I say things like that to people all the time and most of them tell me that I’m full of shit or that I don’t understand, and some even go so far as to accuse me of being un-empathetic.

All I did was point something out, but she did all the work, despite having numerous good excuses to sit around and feel sorry for herself. She took her new information and ran with it.

And now we get to the point.

There’s a funny thing about the human subconscious, it does whatever it’s told.

Your belief system determines your reality.

With regard to fitness, I can preach diet and exercise all day long but it doesn’t necessarily change anything because people hear the message and say “yeah, but I can’t do that”. Fast food and lethargy are not nearly as dangerous as “I can’t”.

On this day of new beginnings, if you find yourself thinking “I can’t”, don’t let it go unchallenged. Ask yourself “Really? Why not?”, and I bet you’ll find that actually you can. You can eat better, you can find time to exercise, you can step up and make a difference by starting with yourself. Ideas are contagious and when you adopt the idea that you can, other people will see that they can too. Be the change you want to see.