People often ask me if it’s possible to spot reduce. Well, a few years ago, I would have said absolutely not. Aerobic exercise can promote weight loss, but people often lose weight in the face, lower body and arms, rather than the abdomen. In fact, people who lose weight quickly often look unhealthy and even emaciated.
Dieting, abdominal exercise, and aerobics play a part in developing fit, firm, lean abdominal muscles, but each method – by itself – is not enough to give you the midsection you want. And no one has the time to devote countless hours in the gym to develop great abs. Now, Asian sports medicine researchers have found a better way that will allow you to trim inches from your waste, improve aerobic capacity, and develop a lean, athletic body.
Researchers in Korea and Japan found that the best approach for losing abdominal fat is to combine a general three days per week weight training program with a three days a week, 60 minute per session aerobics program. Fat loss was greater for a group that did both weight training and aerobics than for a group that did only aerobics. The group that did combined training gained more lean muscle mass – 12 pounds vs. one pound for aerobics) and lost more subcutaneous (surface) fat (62 cc verses 21 cc) and visceral fat (fat inside the abdomen (93 cc vs. 86 cc).
One reason for the better results from combining weight training with aerobics is that weight training increases the resting metabolic rate (RMR) for up to 15 hours after exercise, while aerobic exercise increases resting metabolic rate (RMR) for only a few hours after exercise.
The nervous system sends a steady stream of impulses to the tissues that help control metabolism and the rate that you burn calories. The higher the RMR, the more calories you burn (metabolize) each day. The body sends the hormone norepinephrine to the fat cells, which triggers the hormone-sensitive lipase (HSL) to release fat from the fat cells. HSL determines your capacity to lose weight and mobilize abdominal fat stores.
A large amount of fat (visceral fat) is deposited in the abdomen and on top of the muscles of the abdomen (subcutaneous fat). Abdominal fat is deadly because it is easily sent into the bloodstream where it can cause arterial disease. The hormone norepinephrine stimulates lipolysis – the breakdown of fat into fatty acids.
Weight training helps cut abdominal fat by three methods: 1) burns calories during exercise; 2) increases the metabolic rate, 3) stimulates the nervous system to release hormones called catecholamines (epinephrine and norepinephrine) that increase abdominal fat use, 4) adds muscle which increase the calories you burn.

Dietary and exercise guidelines:
The Asian diet consists mainly offish, rice, and vegetables. They use sugar infrequently, if at all. The use spices liberally. The foods they eat do not trigger endorphin release, mute the signal to the brain that indicates we are full. Nor do they eat foods that are high on the glycemic scale that trigger food cravings.
1) 60 minutes of aerobic exercise 3-5 days a week. This will accomplish two things a) you will lose about a pound of fat (not muscle) per week, b) You will keep the weight off.
2) Train with weights at least two days a week. This will increase muscle mass and give you a higher metabolic rate.
3) Do ab exercises at least three days a week. This will develop the ab muscles so that when you lose fat, the muscles will look sculpted.
There are so many good examples for us to learn from and follow. Cultures that are thousands of years older than ours have much to teach us. We would be prudent to use that knowledge wisely.

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