I have a client who is 125 lbs with 25% body fat, she is toned and lean except for her mid section. We do Pilates ab series and other Pilates excercises, ab machines, crunches, full sit ups with weights, and we’ve gotten into hoola hooping, still this is where most of her problem area is. Are there any different things we can do? Or some dietary change that may help?
The abdominal is usually the first place fat goes and last place it leaves.
The only way to achieve a lean stomach is to get a lower % of body fat.
To do this you’ll have to review her diet and nutrition and streamline it towards leaner foods.
Working out should be a mix of full/total body exercises. “Targeting” a body part doesn’t work and this is especially important for the stomach and surrounding areas.
I have a few comments here: 25 % body fat to me is not ‘toned and lean’. Depending on her age, it may be quite acceptable but I would not expect to see a defined midsection which she obviously would like.
What I would start with is a cardiovascular program, and then maybe some OVERALL weight training instead of all the stomach exercises. While doing all those crunches may be tempting but you may only end up building muscle mass in an area where you client does not want it (abs) while accomplishing nothing because spot reduction does not work.
This would be my course of action rather than looking at dietary changes. Those may be necessary if your client needs to lose weight but that does not seem to be the case if I interpret your description correctly.
Karen, while I thank you for your comment, I find your first sentence a bit rude. 25% body fat is below her percentage of body fat, considering her age. I am not the type of trainer, or person who puts down anything about anyone trying to better themselves. My client does cardio, 4 times a week for 1 hour. Not to mention the weight training we do and she does on her own. My mention of the abdominal exercises were due to the fact that my question was about the mid section, not because these are the only exercises we do, i was giving examples. And my question was meant to be answered professionally, not with your personal opinion.
thank you for clarifying your client’s exercise routine. Obviously, you have already implemented the cardiovascular and weight training regimen that I had mentioned.
By your description, your client is of an age where a percent body fat of 25 % is already below the range which would be considered ideal. That is great. It still means that, at a weight of 125 lbs., about 31 lbs. of her weight is fat weight. I assume that she does not need to lose body weight. So her only other option is to try to reduce her percent body fat even further which, considering her current exercise status, may be very difficult as it would mean even more exercise with the resulting increased risk for injury.
It is still my personal opinion not to work this ‘problem area’ any more than the rest of the body to make sure that she is not ‘spot-building’ as spot-reducing is not possible.
You mentioned that your client does cardio 4X weekly. Is it steady-state, or is she also doing some interval training? Regarding the mid-section, you referenced several abdominal exercises which emphasis spinal flexion, in order to maintain muscular balance and spinal stabilization and mobility be sure to incorporate appropriate exercises for spinal extension. 25% BF is probably within the healthy range, however where subcutaneous and visceral fat is stored varies individually. Exercise and dietary intake can go a long way to influence our body composition, but minimal impact on how and where our bodies store fat.
Keep encouraging your client to better health and fitness as it will serve her well in years to come.