CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Dear Cindy,
I am a longtime workout guy who for 45 years was really proud of my physique. Active all my life, but lately I'm losing pride because I'm gaining a gut! I'm not doing anything different. I think I eat about the same amount of calories and do the strength training. In fact, I was the reigning champion of crunches for many years. I could do hundreds at a time, and now that doesn't help me lose the inches it once did. I see people doing lots of stuff on balls and such and want to know it that is what I should be doing. Bottom line, how can I get back in the groove and leave the gut behind? -- Bill
Your quest is common. In fact, type "core training" or "abs" in your computer's search engine and no less than 24.7 million results will pop up. Gee -- so much to read, so little time to work out!
Belly fat, core training, ab workouts, flat stomachs are all über-popular subjects, especially since most every fitness magazine you glance at has a headline concerning it. Let's face it -- it's simply irresistible, and since it is such an appealing topic, and flat bellies are so desirable, I urge you to rethink the possibilities of ab training.
History of abdominal training
Partner-assisted exercises began by lying on the floor with straight legs and a friend holding your feet so you could curl up. Not a problem for adolescents, but good luck with that technique later in life.
Fast-forward to Jack LaLanne
We all remember this incredible fitness guru and the multitude of Herculean efforts LaLanne performed on his morning television show challenging his physical limits. He once did 1,033 sit-ups (as they were called at that time) in 23 minutes. And since then, many sit-up/crunch records have been set and reset. Can you imagine how fast the sit-up (knees bent and chest raised toward them) would have to be to complete that many -- not exactly healthy, but definitely worthy of interest.
Suffice it to say that Jack LaLanne was a pioneer of fitness and had to attract attention to get people moving. I love him forever for that. However, this is not the way to train your abs and flatten your stomach.
Creation of crunches