Thursday, 14 July 2011
Tired of your paunch bringing you down? Here is how you can turn your beer belly into six-pack abs
Those who think they don't have time for exercise, it is said, will sooner or later have to find time for illness. For men today, piling on the kilos without squeezing in any exercise routine in a hectic work schedule has meant indiscriminate weight gain and growing obese, which heightens the risk of diabetes, heart disease and cancer among other fatal ailments.
In fact, when it comes to losing weight, men have a clear head start over women because of men's higher testosterone levels that help burn more calories and build more muscle — even when resting. Here is how to get started and target some of the key male body blackspots:
A chubby jaw and jowls is a sign you are carrying too much weight overall. Plus the chin is where fat tends to settle more as we age.
Best fat blaster: Phone trainer app
Losing fat from all over will help shed flabby jowls, as will toning the neck and under-chin muscles. Try using a personal fitness app on your mobile phone to get motivated, to get moving. Your own pocket 'trainer' is cheaper than a real one. It can also tell you how often you need to work out, based on your calorie intake that day.
Top move: The Goldfish
With your head straight, simply open and close your mouth like a goldfish. Then, tip your head back as far as is comfortable for your neck, open and close your mouth. You will feel the tension beneath your chin. Repeat 10 times daily.
It is not only women who get bingo wings. As men age, the skin can lose some elasticity and fat can collect on the underarms.
Best fat blaster: Kettlebells
A new kind of free-weight, kettlebells can be used to upgrade any workout. They have their centre of gravity in the middle, which means they not only tone arm muscles, they also force the 'core' stomach and back muscles to work harder.
Top move: Bicep curl
You can use any arm weights for these — even a two-litre bottle of water will do. Hold your weights down by your sides with your palms facing upwards. Without moving the upper part of your arms, slowly bend your arm and bring the weights up to your shoulders. Repeat 12 times, doing three sets.
The chest area is another man-fat magnet, so it's no surprise that men have problems with this portion once they pass 35 and sport what is popularly known as 'man boobs'.
Best fat blaster: bikram yoga
Yoga done in a heated room is not just for girls. In fact, this hardcore style of yoga gives your body a proper workout.
Top move: Press ups
Lie face down on the floor with your hands by your chest. Your elbows should be bent with your palms completely flat and facing forwards. Raise your body off the floor by straightening your arms, keeping your body straight. Hold for a second, lower your back down, keeping abs tensed. Repeat 12 times.
Beer belly gets its name for good reason — booze is packed with calories. But male muscle structure means all men have a readydefined six-pack — even if it is currently hiding under several layers of fat.
Best fat blaster: Skipping
Skipping for 10 minutes can burn a good deal of calories. It uses nearly every muscle and will shift hardto-reach belly fat in no time.
Top move: Tummy tenser
Lie flat on your back and lift your legs into the air so they are as close to 90 degrees from the floor as possible, pulling in your ab muscles as you go. Lower your legs a little and hold for a count of 10, then lower a bit more and hold again for 10. Then lower them till they are almost touching the floor and hold again. Finally, bring your legs up to your chest and rest. Repeat three times.
That stubborn spare tyre is all thanks to a man's higher levels of testosterone, which causes fat to be stored around his middle.
Best fat blaster: EA Sports Active 2 game
Similar to Wii Fit, but also available on the Xbox 360 and PS3, this home workout set features real sports, including basketball and boxing. It uses leg and arm motion sensors to wirelessly track your training.
Top move: Alternating sit-ups
Lie flat on your back with your knees bent. Put your hands behind your ears and sit up, aiming your left elbow at your right knee. Next, sit up again but this time aim your right elbow to your left knee. Continue switching sides like this 15 times.
Unlike women, men don't tend to carry a lot of fat on their legs, but being unfit can lead to the dreaded 'chicken leg' syndrome.
Best muscle toner: Playing footie
There's nothing better than football for strengthening and shaping legs. A recent study found middleaged men who still played regular football had a lower risk of heart disease and depression.
Top move: Power lunges
Stand with your feet apart and knees bent. Step forward so your front leg is one-stride from the back foot. As you do so, lower your body, then spring back to your starting position, pushing through the heel of your foot. Then repeat on the other side. Do 30 repetitions.