When it comes to workouts, I'm not really a big fan of intense ab exercises.  I fear developing a boxy waistline.  That's why I typically focus on fat burning and exercises that target the transverse abdominals.

If you're unfamiliar, the transverse are the core muscles that act as an inner corset.  The stronger they are, the more they pull the waistline inwards.  I first learned of these a couple of years ago and got serious.  My efforts paid off big time in the form of my slimmest waist ever!
strong core inspo.

One of the exercises that helped to create my perfect waistline is the myotatic crunch. It's a simple exercise that definitely sculpted my midsection.  I first learned of this technique in Tim Ferris' 4 Hour Body.  Tim and I share the same sentiment with regards to "preserving the hourglass." As such, he recommended a couple of moves that don't square out our middle area.

The myotatic crunch his one said exercise.   Tim recommends it because it utilizes a full range of motion.  This crunch "leverages the fully stretched position for a stronger contraction."  In his experience, "it didn't take 8 weeks to see a difference, it took three."

Tim's opinion is that "if you have to choose one [ab] exercise, then choose this one."  I completely agree.  This simple movement sets my abs on fire.  Days later I always feel the soreness deep within my core.

Check out this video to see the exercise demonstrated.

This move is so effective that you don't have to waste your time doing hundreds of crunches.  Just a few of these specialized crunches and you're abs will be burning.  Keep in mind that you still have to lower your overall body fat percentage in order to experience optimal results.  But start incorporating this into your workout now. So, as you burn fat, you already have strong core muscles awaiting you. This extended crunch can also be executed using an exercise ball or firm pillows.

For more examples of how to tighten your inner corset, check out The Ultimate Small Waist Routine.

You're welcome.

Today, out of the blue, I reached into my closet and brought out the old weighted hula hoop I purchased years ago.  It's one of two hula hoops I own.  The decision to purchase a weighted hoop came after reading about a few women who successfully lost weight and shrunk their waists simply by enjoying several hula sessions week.

A weighted hoop was said to provide additional resistance for better results.  So I went for it.  Eventually, the hoop landed in storage but I decided to bring it back into rotation for a couple of reasons.  The biggest of which is that hula hooping is what I consider a no-workout-workout.  Meaning, I can easily knock out a 20 minute session while watching my favorite show.  Rebounding on the trampoline is my other go to non-workout-workout.  I figured that I can alternate between the two and stay active while streaming my favorite shows.

To get motivated I did a little research to refresh my memory on what kind of benefits to expect if I stay consistent.  I hit the jackpot after stumbling on an actual study conducted on the effects of regular hula hoop usage.

The study enlisted 18 women to complete a regimen of 15 minute hula sessions, 5 times a week using a weighted hoop that weighed less than 5 lbs.  At the end of six weeks, researchers measured the hips and waist of the participants. On average, the women experienced a "significant decrease" in the circumference of their hips and waist. They also experienced reduction of their overall hip to waist ratio.  This is basically where you divide the measurements of your hip by your waist circumference.  Ideally, we should all aim to shrink our waist size. Not just for aesthetics, but because those with smaller waists are said to be less susceptible to certain health issues.

Here's where it gets interesting. The women who used a hula hoop for 20 minutes a day (and kept their diets the same) didn't actually experience any real weight loss despite the changes in measurements.  So what happened?  Researchers theorized that the fat once in the midsection might have actually redistributed elsewhere in the body.  This may sound undesirable to some, but for those of us who struggle with carrying extra fat in the midsection, this could be a game changer. I mean, who wouldn't want an all natural, super low cost "fat transfer"?

Check out this review from GluteGirl who conducted her own 6 week hula challenge after reading about the same study.

I can definitely see and feel a different in my waist from hula hoop 10 min every single day for 6 weeks.
The definition in my waist is more cleared,my abs feels stronger and my posture is much better.
And best of all…I have NOT lost any weight at all since the before picture!
The pooch I had in my lower belly is not that “big” as before,my waist is more defined,and my pants in the waist line are BIGGER for my waist now.
My waist only decreased with 1 cm,but It is more on my lower belly I guess(I did not measure my lower belly), plus I have gained 1 cm in my butt too:-) (from lifting weights)
1 cm loss in waist does not sound much, but I see more difference than it sounds like.  Plus my pants(most of them) are too loose for my waist now.
I will continue to hula hoop everyday for at least 2 weeks more and then I will use it perhaps 2-3 times per week.
Here is my pictures of my belly from how I look before and then after
Source
Her results serves as pure motivation to stick with this simple regimen of enjoying leisurely hula hoop sessions for 10-20 minutes a day.  Like Glute Girl, you can combine other exercises for full body benefits.  But it's nice to know that a smaller waist is possible as you catch up on your favorite shows.  Even though the women in the study didn't actually loose any pounds, there are quite a few videos on Youtube where others share their weight loss journey using hula hoop fitness.  In some of the videos I watched the women lost as much as 50 lbs over time.

Anyone else excited to start their own 6 week Hula Waist Snatching Challenge?

Even though it's not technically spring yet, I'm already enjoying 80 degree weather.  Warm weather in winter is great, but on the other hand, it leaves little time to get summer ready.  This means that I have to work fast to shed the extra pounds.

Recently, I've talked about high intensity interval training as a means of activating stubborn abdomen fat cells.  By working out in high intensity intervals for 15-20 minutes a day, we can create results much faster and more effectively than other forms of exercise.

But what if there was one type of high intensity exercise even more powerful than others.  If you want to burn fat fast, you definitely want to add this to your workout regimen.  The exercise I'm referring to is jump roping.  Once upon a time, I made it a habit to jump rope on a regular basis.  I think I was doing it more for cardiovascular health than fat loss.  After sticking to my regimen, I noticed something while getting dressed.  For the first time ever I could clearly see my obliques.  Perplexed, I wondered why this was happening.  Core work was not a part of my routine.  Why were my abs visible?

Little did I know that my newly visible abs were a result of the fat loss brought on by consistent jump roping.  After checking out some videos on Youtube, I was made fully aware of the fat burning power of jump roping.  Once I learned the facts, I did a little test for myself.  Using a FitBit, I tracked the number of calories I burned after jumping rope for 1 minute.  A minute of jumping was around 10 calories. Some studies claim that jumping rope can burn around 13 calories a minute.  This means that we can burn 100 or more calories with only 10 minutes of work.   And because jump roping is considered high intensity, we'll continue to burn calories at a higher rate even after the workout is complete.

The past several days, I've started my morning with a jump roping session.  My motivation for staying consistent comes from my past results and listening to the testimonies of others who claim that they had to stop jump roping for fear that they were loosing too much weight.  Boxers love this type of workout to meet stringent weight class requirements.  If you want to see results fast, consider jump roping as a viable option.

If you have concerns with your joints or if you aren't fit enough to start jumping rope right away, your other alternative is rebounding.  I measured the amount of calories burned in a minute of rebounding and realized that it was around the same as jumping rope.  Ten minutes of bouncing while watching streaming tv was equivalent to 1000 steps/burning 100 calories.  Let's not forget the additional lymphatic benefits of bouncing on a rebounder.   Here's a testimony I found online that illustrates why rebounding is so awesome!
"Within only two weeks of rebounding, I saw positive changes in my body that the last three years of having a personal trainer had not achieved. The first things I noticed was my skin becoming tighter and toned on my whole body, including my face. My flexibility, coordination, and balance immediately improved. As I continued jumping, approximately 15 minutes a day, my considerable cellulite significantly diminished. The redness on my chest and neck has greatly diminished, and my skin now has a firmness and radiance that it had lost. It completely relieves the shoulder and neck tension that builds when I work on the computer, and has greatly reduced the frequency and duration of my headaches. The most recent discovery I've made is the significant lessening of the spider veins on my legs.I believe many of these improvements are due to the anti-inflammatory effects of an efficiently stimulated lymphatic system."
A piece of exercise equipment that also gives you beauty benefits is a must have.  I'll sometimes alternate between bouncing on the trampoline and jumping rope.  Both are similar exercises but jumping rope requires more physical effort because you don't have the bouncing effect to push you back up.

If any of you are considering getting a gym membership to shed winter pounds, perhaps you can get results faster by grabbing a $10.00 jump rope.







Last week, I shared a post on the specific exercise technique that can target belly fat unlike any other.  A comment was left on the post that made me do a double take.  Now, I get some interesting comments every now and then.  Some are spammy and offer no value so I delete quickly.  But this one shared some info that sparked my curiosity.

Anonymous said...
Thank you for this amazing article. I'm already doing that( resistance training, HIIT and eat healthy). I just want to add that sleeping naked helps too. When you sleep naked, it activates your brown fat and brown fat is known to be able to burn calories whereas white fat stores them.
Thank you again.
Mwali.

Immediately, my research began.  "What the heck is 'brown fat' and how do I activate it? Why didn't I know about this before?"  
Here's the scoop.  Apparently brown fat is a good fat we have in our bodies.  Part of the reason it's considered a good fat is due to the high amount of mitochondria content.  The mitochondria in brown fat helps the body to generate heat by burning calories. Brown fat is highest in babies, young women and slender individuals.   White fat/yellow fat, on the other hand stores energy. Some stored energy is good, but too much of it and we become unhealthy.

And guess what?  You can actually convert some of that extra white fat into brown fat? How? Via exercise and being exposed to colder temps for an extended period of time.  Converting white into brown fat is beneficial because brown fat has the ability to continue burning additional calories even after you workout.  A study found that as little as 2 ounces of brown fat in the body could burn as much as 20% of your daily caloric intake. That's right... brown fat is more efficient at burning fat in the body than muscle (pound for pound). 

What does all of this have to do with sleeping naked?  When we're exposed to cooler temps for an extended amount of time, our brown fat activates to start burning calories as a means to keep us warm.  When we sleep without all of the clothing layers, our body has to compensate by activating the type of fat equipped to do the job.  By the way, our internal body temperature naturally drops when we sleep.  Most of us wrap up in cozy blankets to keep warm at night.  I know I do.  Although that helps us feel more comfortable, we may be missing an opportunity to generate more brown-fat-calorie-burning-action.

I'm not sure I'm ready to sleep naked with no covers just yet.  Maybe if the weather warms up, I may give it a go for science.

There are other ways to rev up brown fat activity.  Remember when I used to talk about taking cold showers?  Not only did my skin and hair benefit from the cold water, but, little did I know, I was stimulating brown fat as well.  I recall the experience of sheer torture as the icy cold water hit my skin. But, if I was able to withstand the instant shock, I soon realized that my body temp quickly adjusted to keep me warm under the cool water.  Part of that was due to the rush of the increased blood flow, but it also had to do with the brown fat working over time to do its part.

For those of you who are like "sorry Nadege, there's no way I'm doing either of these things,"  no worries.  You can also activate brown fat through exercise.  Working out causes your body to release an enzyme called irisin that prompts your white fat to convert to brown fat.

Just recently, I listed several ways to boost metabolism.  All those tips I shared in the other post are excellent strategies, but let's add "building brown fat" to the list.  Whether you opt for cold showers, sleeping naked,  or working out, it's up to you.

Shout out to that commenter that helped us to learn something new, you're awesome.



Last week, I shared a post on the specific exercise technique that can target belly fat unlike any other.  A comment was left on the post that made me do a double take.  Now, I get some interesting comments every now and then.  Some are spammy and offer no value so I delete quickly.  But this one shared some info that sparked my curiosity.

Anonymous said...
Thank you for this amazing article. I'm already doing that( resistance training, HIIT and eat healthy). I just want to add that sleeping naked helps too. When you sleep naked, it activates your brown fat and brown fat is known to be able to burn calories whereas white fat stores them.
Thank you again.
Mwali.

Immediately, my research began.  "What the heck is 'brown fat' and how do I activate it? Why didn't I know about this before?"  
Here's the scoop.  Apparently brown fat is a good fat we have in our bodies.  Part of the reason it's considered a good fat is due to the high amount of mitochondria content.  The mitochondria in brown fat helps the body to generate heat by burning calories. Brown fat is highest in babies, young women and slender individuals.   White fat/yellow fat, on the other hand stores energy. Some stored energy is good, but too much of it and we become unhealthy.

And guess what?  You can actually convert some of that extra white fat into brown fat? How? Via exercise and being exposed to colder temps for an extended period of time.  Converting white into brown fat is beneficial because brown fat has the ability to continue burning additional calories even after you workout.  A study found that as little as 2 ounces of brown fat in the body could burn as much as 20% of your daily caloric intake. That's right... brown fat is more efficient at burning fat in the body than muscle (pound for pound). 

What does all of this have to do with sleeping naked?  When we're exposed to cooler temps for an extended amount of time, our brown fat activates to start burning calories as a means to keep us warm.  When we sleep without all of the clothing layers, our body has to compensate by activating the type of fat equipped to do the job.  By the way, our internal body temperature naturally drops when we sleep.  Most of us wrap up in cozy blankets to keep warm at night.  I know I do.  Although that helps us feel more comfortable, we may be missing an opportunity to generate more brown-fat-calorie-burning-action.

I'm not sure I'm ready to sleep naked with no covers just yet.  Maybe if the weather warms up, I may give it a go for science.

There are other ways to rev up brown fat activity.  Remember when I used to talk about taking cold showers?  Not only did my skin and hair benefit from the cold water, but, little did I know, I was stimulating brown fat as well.  I recall the experience of sheer torture as the icy cold water hit my skin. But, if I was able to withstand the instant shock, I soon realized that my body temp quickly adjusted to keep me warm under the cool water.  Part of that was due to the rush of the increased blood flow, but it also had to do with the brown fat working over time to do its part.

For those of you who are like "sorry Nadege, there's no way I'm doing either of these things,"  no worries.  You can also activate brown fat through exercise.  Working out causes your body to release an enzyme called irisin that prompts your white fat to convert to brown fat.

Just recently, I listed several ways to boost metabolism.  All those tips I shared in the other post are excellent strategies, but let's add "building brown fat" to the list.  Whether you opt for cold showers, sleeping naked,  or working out, it's up to you.

Shout out to that commenter that helped us to learn something new, you're awesome.