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What Are the Best Flab Fighting Exercises?


Reader Sandra Peterson asks:

“I have been battling with weight loss for what seems like forever. Can you please tell me what are the best flab fighting exercises? I am just so sick of being overweight and want to make changes to my body shape.”

Phil Owens – Leading Australian Hypnotherapist and NLP Practitioner

A healthy mind leads to a healthy body – so here are some exercises that will take care of the mental ‘flab’ that leads to the physical ‘flab’.

As I work with weight loss clients in the clinic, I will usually give them ‘exercises’ in between sessions or homework.  Often it is the way that the clients are thinking that creates the way they are looking and feeling.  Try these exercises to tune up your mind for  flab busting success:

1.Keep a food and exercise journal.  List everything you eat and drink as you move forward.  This encourages ‘scrutiny’ and having to write things down makes you more accountable for the choices that you take.  If you have recruited a supporter or are using a personal trainer, having to show your journal to them is a great motivator.

2.  Set a clear plan.  If you are not in a position to do this yourself, a dietician and a personal trainer can help you set a healthy, realistic plan that supports your goals.

3.  See success as a process.  Keep a record of ‘when I didn’t keep to my plan’.  For each time, write down ‘what I did’ and ‘what else I could have done’.  This sets a learning frame and you can begin to ‘teach’ yourself better responses to triggers and obstacles that come your way.

4.  Make time for relaxation and sleep.  Stress and lack of sleep release hormones like cortisol which work against your flab-busting goals.

5.  Recognise any underlying anxiety which shows up as ‘hunger’.  Many people feel anxious in the tummy, in the same place that they feel hungry.  It is no wonder that they try and bust this feeling with food.  Recognise if your ‘hunger’ really is hunger. If it is anxiety, do some relaxation work or come and see a hypnotherapist/NLP practitioner and overcome it.

6. Act ‘as if’.  If you think of the body shape you want, think of who has that already.  What do they ‘do’ to get it?  If you act ‘as if’ that is who you are and you model their ‘strategies’ for living, you will create the body shape you want.

Finally, make sure you have medical clearance to begin any program and don’t be afraid to ask for expert support.  Good luck!

Philip Owens is owner and director of Reflective Resolutions and is a leading Australian hypnotherapist and NLP practitioner based in Melbourne, Australia. Using scientifically validated and pragmatic approaches, Philip is a passionate about creating lasting change in and for his clients.

Working in his clinic with individuals and also with corporate clients, Philip’s international experience, state of the art training and processes have led to successful and happy clients all over the world.  Focusing on the issues of modern life, Philip routinely works with clients presenting with anxiety, fears and phobias, addictions, traumas, weight loss, insomnia and smoking cessation.

Kris Etheridge –  Sports Movement, Strength Conditioning and, Balance and Agility Trainer

What are the best flab fighting exercises?

The five best cardio exercises for fighting flab are:

1. Cross country skiing, 2. Skipping, 3. Boxing, 4. Rowing, 5. Running

The five best resistance training exercises for fighting flab are:

1. Squats – All varieties, especially jump squats.

2. Complexes – Complexes are three or more exercises performed in a row, with the same weight. An example of this is a barbell clean into a front squat followed by a push press. This exercise would then be repeated starting with the barbell clean).

3. Plyometric lunges (jumping lunges).

4. Exercises that combine an upper body movement with a lower body movement such as

thrusters. A thruster is a front squat followed with a barbell press.

5. High intensity, high rep exercises that require core stability. The Rip 60 and TRX systems are great for performing these types of exercises.

Now you know the types of exercise that burn the most calories please don’t fall into the trap of thinking that if you workout out you don’t have to worry about your diet. This is the reason why so many people fail in the pursuit of a lean and healthy body.

Weight loss is 70% diet and if you can accept this you can have the body you’ve always wanted.

Here are my five tips to losing body fat and fighting flab, the right way!

1. Determine your current BMR. (This is the how many calories you need to eat each day to provide your body with enough fuel to function. Eating at your BMR will ensure your losing weight at the fastest possible rate without destroying your metabolism.)

Men: BMR = 66 + (13.7 x weight in kilograms) + (5 x height in cm) – (6.8 x age in years)

Women: BMR = 655 + (9.6 x weight in kilograms) + (1.8 x height in cm) – (4.7 x age in years)

2. Avoid sugary and starchy foods, and processed carbohydrates.

These include: • All potatoes. • Yams. • Peas. • Corn. • Pomegranates. • Tangerines. • Pineapples. • Mangoes. • Bananas. • Cherries. • Grapes.  • Bread. • Pasta. • Pastries. • White rice. • Any product with white flour listed as one of the main ingredients. • Sugar laden treats. • Alcohol (no more than four standard drinks per week). • Any product containing high fructose corn syrup (HFCS). • Any product containing more than 10 g of sugar per 100 g.

3. Keep a food journal and write down everything you eat and drink.

In almost ten years I have never had a single person gain weight while keeping a food journal. Being accountable for ones actions is strangely effective.

4. Perform two-three resistance training workouts per week.

Concentrate on the larger muscles at the start of the workout such as your legs and back and then finish with the smaller muscle groups towards the end of your session such as the triceps and abs.

When in the gym perform super sets — two or more exercises back to back — to keep your heart rate up. This will help you burn more calories and will get you out of the gym sooner.

5. Walk or perform some form of moderate cardio everyday for 30-60 minutes.

Your cardio training doesn’t need to be intense to be effective. If you can’t run, walk. Walking is great. You get many of the same benefits as running without the impact.

Remember getting in shape is 70% diet/30% exercise. Follow my five tips and you will not only achieve better results but you will finally be able to keep the results you’ve worked so hard for.

Kris Etheridge is a Melbourne based health and fitness expert that has delivered over 20,000 personal training sessions in the last 10 years. Kris has worked with world champion athletes and numerous well known celebrities. He is currently working on his first female weight loss book, which is due out later in 2012.

As a fitness expert, Kris is always looking for ways to help more people live a healthier life. He is a certified personal trainer,  sports movement, strength conditioning and, balance and agility trainer,  a  level one and two boxing and Thump boxing trainer, level one and two kettle-bell instructor, a Rip 60 certified instructor and a certified Cirq instructor.

Nick Jack – CHEK Holistic Lifestyle Coach and Personal Trainer

This is a great question and if you are asking yourself this, then you are already halfway there.

Firstly, there is a multitude of exercises I could list here and many factors to consider, such as posture and prior injury. Without doubt the biggest bang for your buck will come from weight t. This builds muscle and is the best way to increase your metabolic rate, resulting in higher daily energy expenditure.
This means you can burn more energy even at rest.
So, if this is true you want to use the exercises that target the biggest muscle groups  effectively. Bicep curls and tricep dips are just not the greatest choice. Here are my guidelines for selecting flab fighting exercises:
  1. Use free weights or cables.
  2. Complete exercises standing up.
  3. Focus on using leg movements more
  4. Vary your sets and reps.
  5. Do no more than 3 workouts per week.
And the ‘5 Best Flab Fighting Exercises’ that would cover everything you need, are as follows:
  1. Squats – If you are just beginning an exercise program begin with body weight squats and ensure you master the technique and skill of the movement. Then when you are ready to progress you will not get injured from faulty technique. I would reccomend either purchasing some equipment or joining a gym so you can have access to some weights. This is important as you want to continually progress with this movement. The squat movement expends huge amounts of energy and gives great muscle gains due to the big muscle groups being involved and the relative timing of all different segments in the body.
  2. Lunges – Another key leg movement that expends huge energy. Again like the squat get your skill levels right first before progressing to harder more advanced movements. This would be my favourite exercise if I had to choose one as it can be completed in so many different variations.
  3. Woodchop – This is a critical exercise to develop as this particular movement carries over into nearly every other movement. This is a full body integration exercise that is using upper body, torso and legs to move a load. Use of medicine balls, cables and barbells are all excellent tools to develop not only a strong core, but help build muscle to your whole body.
  4. Push ups – To build some muscle into your upper body this is a great choice. Although it is not done standing up it still requires strength from your torso and legs. If you had access to a cable machine I would reccomend the standing cable press. This allows you to vary the load making it easier or harder and as it is completed standing up you can mimick real movements to produce a more energy draining effect.
  5. Chin Ups – Usually a very tough exercise for most people, especially females, due to the power to weight ratio. Most gyms have an assisted chin up machine or I use some heavy duty straps to asssist my clients. My female clients have a love hate relationship with this exercise. The love the results it gives them, they just hate it at the time. If you dont have access to a gym vistit your local sporting football ground and you will find there is a fence that goes around the outside of the field. Try lying horizontal on the ground and pulling yourself up to the rail. Tough, but more achievable than the vertical pull up.
Try to complete at least 3 sets of 8-12 reps to start with and then progress accordingly. There are many more great exercises we could include. But, this would give anyone a great start into achieving long term weight loss. An important point to remember is that you must have your nutrition right for any of this to succeed.

Nick Jack is a qualified CHEK Exercise Coach, Level II Holistic Lifestyle Coach and personal trainer. He runs a personal training business called NO Regrets Personal Training.

Nick likes to lift weights, cycle, run and triathlon. He has played almost every sport at one time in his life. Now, he enjoys spending time walking his dog and relaxing with his wife and friends.

Sally Symonds – Weight Loss Coach and Author

The best flab-fighting exercise is the kind that you’re going to actually do on a regular basis. The ABC of weight loss is CDE: Consistent Daily Effort.

Any exercise you choose is going to work, just so long as you keep doing it. We all basically know what to do to lose weight. Most people just struggle to do it day after day, week after week, year after year. That’s why most weight loss plans and programs fail in the long term. Their advice is based on short-term thinking, not on building habits that will last a lifetime.

The fastest way to lose weight is to do it once, so you never have to do it again. Traditional approaches to weight loss see most people adopt an “all or nothing” approach. Usually, starting on a Monday, people will decide that, despite previously having done little or no exercise and eaten unhealthily most of the time, they’ll suddenly be able to turn themselves, and their lives, around and become virtuous health Gods or Goddesses overnight.

Unfortunately this rarely happens. Push your willpower too hard and too fast — as you might do if you join an “all or nothing” plan or program — and you’ll soon confront the equivalent of a pulled muscle, one that you won’t be able to use until it heals.

The most common exercise mistake that people make is doing the same thing week-in and week-out. The same 20 minutes on the treadmill three times a week. You’re not completely wasting your time, but you certainly could be making far better use of it. While certainly you can always go a bit faster on the treadmill, or use heavier weights in pump class, you’re still moving your muscles in exactly the same way each time, so your body knows what to expect. It doesn’t have to work so hard, and you don’t get the superior results that you deserve.

It’s important to creatively engage with your exercise and mix things up every now and again. You don’t wear the same clothes every day or eat the same thing for dinner, so why do the same type of exercise daily?

For inspiration, check out the exercise eBooks available on my website (http://www.sallysymonds.com.au/retail-services/e-books). They’re simple, practical, and fun – and they’ll help you find what you love so you can stick to it and win your weight loss war!

Sally Symonds holds a certificate III and IV in fitness, is a certified wellness coach, and a NLP practitioner. She holds a Masters and Bachelors degree in Arts, and an Associate and Licentiate in Speech and Drama. Having lost over 50 percent of her body weight, Sally Symonds is the author of 50 steps to lose 50kg… And Keep It Off and 50+ Recipes to Lose 50+kg… And Keep It Off and more than 20 other ebooks. Sally offers phone and online weight loss coaching, as well as a variety of other healthy living services and products.

Wendy Bentley – Body Pump and RPM Instructor, Public Speaker and Minset Specialist

Here’s a statement for you – the reason you are at your current weight and fitness level is because of your mind, not your body.

Hi Sandra,

Thank you for your question.

I will provide you with some fantastic fat-blasting exercises in just a moment, but first, there is something far more important for you to address. You mention you have been ‘battling’ with weight loss for a long time. Let me ask you, “When you close your eyes and visualise your body, what do you see?”

Here’s why I ask. If you hold an image of yourself in your mind that is not of the body you desire, then how do you expect to change the outside, if the what is going on ‘inside’ is still that of the person who is carrying more weight that they would like. Your brain does not distinguish between what it sees in your imagination and what it sees through your eyes, yet it sends messages to your body based on these images anyway. This is why it is so important to start with what is going on in your brain.

Now to the physical. If you want to blast fat from your body, you need to work as many body parts at the same time as possible and get that heart pumping. Here is flab destroying program that can be done at home or in the gym. It will turn your ‘flab’ day into a ‘fab’ day.

Repeat this circuit 4 times non-stop, then take a 1-minute break and do it all again. Repeat the entire circuit up to 5 times.


Skip for 2 minutes. Boxers do this for a reason.

10 x Burpees with a push up – I know these are everyone’s least favourite exercise, but think about why we don’t like them. If it is challenging then it is working.

Instructions: Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, arms by sides. Squat down, bringing hands to floor outside your feet. Jump legs back into a plank pose. Do one push-up (drop to knees if needed). Jump feet to the inside of hands, then jump up, reaching fingertips toward the ceiling.

20 x Mountain Climbers – make sure you keep your bottom down and your shoulders over your hands. 20 of these should have your shoulders screaming and your heart pumping.

Instructions: Place hands on floor, slightly wider than shoulder width. Start by positioning one leg forward bent under body and extend other leg back. While keeping your body in a strong plank position with shoulders over wrists, alternate leg positions by immediately extending forward leg back and pulling rear leg forward under body, landing on both feet (on toes) at the same time.

12 x Jumping Lunges – if you can’t jump do alternating forward lunge. This will build power in your legs, increase your heart-rate (which equals more fat burning) and give you super sexy legs.

Instructions: Stand with one foot forward, and the other foot back. Bend both knees keeping your body straight (think: my head is north, my tail is south). The thigh of your front leg and the shin of your rear leg should be parallel to the floor. The knee of your rear leg should be about an inch from the floor. Jump up with an explosive motion, making sure to get both feet off the ground. Switch in mid-air so that your front leg goes to the rear, and the rear leg comes to the front.

Have yourself a flab-u-less day 🙂

Wendy Bentley grew up in the fitness industry and did her first aerobics class with her mum at the age of seven. She has been a qualified personal trainer since 2005, and is a Body Pump and RPM instructor, an author, public speaker and a mindset specialist. Wendy is a qualified NLP practitioner and has completed the level 1-3 workshops with neuroscientist Dr Joe Dispenza. Her greatest passion is helping people to break out of their own thinking and create a new existence of health and wellbeing. In addition, as a result of a family tragedy Wendy created  a revolutionary product called Think for Fitness and she is studying a Bachelor of Health Science – Nutritional Medicine.

Mathew Skate – 2008 QLD Marathon Champion, Life Coach and Personal Trainer

Great question Sandra and I appreciate that this is a questions that many people think about but sometimes choose not to ask. When it comes to weight loss, nutrition is the key. It accounts for around 80% of maintaining a healthy weight range whilst exercise compliments the other 20%. Does this mean that you can be your ideal weight with good nutrition only? Yes it does, and by having an awareness of what types of exercise will compliment your results is a great first step to fighting the flab.

The solution is not what individual exercise will strip off fat, it is the type of training that you choose to do. Exercise routines that burn the most calories are the key to burning fat. Here is a definition of two different types of training — Cardio and High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT).

Cardio training definition – Maximum Heart Rate (MHR) is at around 50 – 70%. An example might be a walk/ jog on the treadmill or an easy session on the spin bike. Generally, you are able to carry out a conversation with another person when cardio training.

HIIT definition – short bouts of high intensity exercise with less intense recovery periods, such as cardio training. This type of training will definitely get you out of your comfort zone and is designed to be tough and challenging. Duration of session is normally only around 10-20 min when conducted effectively. During those high intensity bouts of exercise your MHR will be around 85%+.

As a guide, you will burn around 5-8 calories per kg of body weight, every hour, when cardio training. For example, a 100 kilogram person will burn around 500 – 800 cal per hour. HIIT will burn 12-16 calories which is around 1200-1600 cal per hour.

In saying this, it is unrealistic to expect anyone to maintain HIIT for one hour effectively. So, let’s compare.

  • 60 min of cardio training will burn around 650 cal (happy medium).
  • 20 min of HIIT will burn around 450 calories.

Judging by the results above it would seem that one hour of cardio training is more effective when it comes to weight loss. Believe it or not, 3 x 20min HIIT sessions per week will burn more calories than 3 x 60 minute cardio sessions.

A recent study in the Journal Medicine & Science in Sports and Exercise suggests that higher intensity exercise will assist the body to continue burning calories post exercise 37% more efficiently than those who opt for cardio training only for up to 14 hours. It is often referred to as the metabolic after-burn affect, which basically means that the body will continue to burn calories due to the elevated metabolic rate that the HITT triggers. Other benefits include the development of lean muscle mass which also create more energy and calorie burn and will assist in toning and sculpting muscles.

A thorough mix of cardio and HIIT will ensure that the body and in particular the muscular system will continue to adapt to the different stimulus you create through exercise.

Matt Skate is a life coach and personal trainer. He served in the Australian Army for 19 years as a physical training instructor and then started Weight to Life in 2011.

Matt assists people to lose weight and create a healthier lifestyle by helping them break through their negative beliefs, behaviours, and expectations. He loves to train in all forms and at all levels of fitness and was crowned the QLD Marathon champion in 2008.

Deborah Farrell – Coaching Psychologist

The best flab fighting exercises in the world don’t require any fancy equipment, in fact they can best be done from the comfort of your own lounge chair. So get comfortable, take a deep breath and start by thinking about what it is that you want to achieve. Is it weight loss, better muscle tone, good health or do you just want to look better in your swimmers? Get really clear about your goals.

Next, ask yourself what will this help you achieve? Is this realistic? If you think that losing a few kilos or those love handles will magically make your life perfect, think again. There are plenty of skinny, fit people out there with problems. Are you possibly hiding behind being overweight rather than taking responsibility for things that aren’t going the way you’d like? Is it really the reason you don’t have what you want? Do you need you need to start working on the inside before you tackle the outside?

If getting into shape is actually important to you for all the right reasons, the first step in solving any problem is to own it. How bad are things really? Be honest with yourself. Go stand in front of a mirror and take a long look.

Now, go sit back in your arm chair and picture yourself in your ideal body. What do you see, hear and feel? Totally immerse yourself in it. See yourself fitting into those jeans, hear your friends compliments and feel proud of your achievements. What is that person, in the picture, doing differently? What do they know that you don’t? What did they need to do to get there? Then actually picture yourself doing it. See yourself sticking to an exercise routine and making wiser food choices.

Being in shape requires action and commitment. It shouldn’t be horrible or something you dread. Discover fun ways to build a new healthy lifestyle that is sustainable and supports your goals way beyond this summer. Exercise regularly with a friend, take a healthy cooking class, de-stress and get eight hours sleep. What have you got to lose? Except perhaps that nagging feeling in your head, and a few kilos of course.

Deborah Farrell is a Coaching Psychologist that works with clients who are feeling stuck, whether it be in regard to work, relationships or personal issues such as weight loss.

Deborah helps her clients focus on their goals, identify and clear the blocks and sabotage patterns, and develop an achievable plan to move forward into the life they dream of.

Your Questions Answered

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Disclaimer: The information published in this column is based on each of the author’s own professional and personal knowledge and opinion. This information and opinion is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment of any manner. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding any medical condition and consult a qualified medical professional before beginning any nutritional or exercise program. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on InShape News.

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