I was asked recently by one of my lovely followers (who will remain anonymous due to the question) regarding the challenge we sometimes face: the Dreaded Muffin Top (and I’m not discussing overfilling the cupcake pans!) No, I am speaking of that challenging area just above the hips that seems to overlap our jeans. How do we rid ourselves of that horrible, unflattering area?
So being a nutritional counselor, not a fitness instructor, I turned to an expert. If like me, you admire people who “practice what they preach” then David Vale of David Vale Fitness, is certainly one of those people.
“I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified.” ( 1 Corinthians 9:27)
After facing chronic health issues, David needed to make a choice: He decided to take control of his life; losing 60 pounds through clean nutrition, consistent fitness, and accountability. This not only transformed his physical health and appearance, but also changed his mental outlook with positive energy and a happier attitude. Now as a husband, father, Certified Fitness Instructor and Online Fitness Coach, he assists others in reaching their goals. I urge you to discover for yourselves how much he has overcome by logging onto his blog http://davidvalefitness.wordpress.com/ and see for yourself.
So I approached him for his expertise when facing this particular fitness challenge and he graciously subjected himself to one of my world-famous, probing interviews:
Ellie: David, thank you for helping my readers who, over time, seem to accumulate “extra padding” around the middle and above the hip area. Are there any specific exercises that would target this area?
D: This is a very common question that I encounter. Unfortunately, spot reduction or targeting specific areas of the body to lose weight is a common myth. The adage that Abs are made in the kitchen and not in the gym is true. Exercises will help one burn calories, but proper nutrition needs to accompany exercise in order to be effective at reducing the “padding.”
E: (thinking): Great! Eat for nutrients! That’s what I profess! Thumbs up David!
D (continuing): However, that does not mean this area should be neglected from an exercise standpoint.
E: Rats, if only it were that simple. Well for example – how about using small weights? Are stretch bands of any value? Stretching side to side?
D: In exercise terms, it is very difficult to isolate a particular targeted spot. Sure, if you want stronger calves, work them a lot. But spot reduction is difficult. What I usually do for my clients is consider approaches that incorporate the core, provide synergistic moves to provide a balanced approach. In fact this area of the body from the hip flexors to just below the chest (the Core) is critical to exercise and strengthen. Building a strong core will make every other aspect of exercising easier, enable greater endurance for functional daily activities like laundry, yard work, etc, and prevent injury.
E: Personally I have always disliked floor calisthenics but if that’s the only way to rid myself of a pesky muffin top . . . do they work?
D: There are certainly many exercises to strengthen the core. The best part, you can do this without doing dreaded crunches. You can use body weight exercises, and do this up to 3 days a week. Exercises include leg lifts/scissors, planks, side planks, standing elbows to knees, high knees jog in place, and seated side to side twists to name a few.
As David has demonstrated, if he can do it, you can do it too! We will continue our interview tomorrow, discussing among other items, if certain exercise machines are gimmicks.