Ok, I’m sick of it! I probably owe you a bit of an apology right up front because this is about to be a bit of a rant…I’ll try to tone it down so that more of you are likely to read further and hopefully gain some insight, after all, that is what Central Intersection is supposed to be about – not just someplace for me to blow off steam.
Americans have gotten a bad rap for being unfit and out of shape. I admit that there are many unhealthy people out there but frankly – they probably aren’t the ones scouring the Internet for ways to lose belly fat – they just don’t care enough to go that far. For those of you who DO care, you probably have done all of the ‘normal’ things…you eat well, or decently enough, you do some form of exercises but you’ve been convinced that you have to lose belly fat or suffer being imperfect.
It is easy to see how you’ve been convinced. Not a day goes by that I’m not inundated with magazine covers promising me miracle ways to lose belly fat, Internet banner ads flicker across my screen “Pittsburgh woman discovered how to lose belly fat, click here to learn her secret” skyscraper ads make promises to lose belly fat and even show some dynamite animated graphics that show how adorable I would be if I were just to loose belly fat! Adsense is littered with Lose Belly Fat ads – and I guess, since Central Intersection doesn’t rank very highly, I tend to attract low cost adsense ads but I see ‘lose belly fat’ junk all day and I have to admit – I often get curious and I know better!
Well – let me help you, hopefully then you too will know better and not fall prey to this senseless advertising. Now I understand you are smart and can sense a scam from a mile away – so you probably have been smarter than me and never clicked on one of the silly ads I’ve mentioned above…but they probably piqued your interest – “what do they know that I don’t know?” or thought “Yes, I could lose a few pounds and it does happen to be around my belly” so what’s the harm? The harm is that all of this advertising has convinced you that you have to lose belly fat and 9 times out of 10 it is posture that is your problem not belly fat.
Yes, posture. I’m sure you stand relatively erect. Your shoulders are back and your chin doesn’t jut out but there is more to it than that.
If you have been convinced that belly fat is your issue my guess is that you have spent hours in the gym or on your bedroom floor doing crunches and core exercises and done the whole ‘feel-it-burn’ routine. It may surprise you that it is the very thing you are doing to lose belly fat that is causing what appears to be belly fat.
If you are doing crunches and traditional core exercises that focus on the abdominal muscles you are creating an imbalance between the muscles of the back body and the muscles of front body. Aside from the spinal issues that this can cause it also can act to disengage the intrinsic muscles that are responsible for holding your upper body erect – forcing larger muscle groups to activate and take over a job they were never designed for. This can lead to fatigue and injury but even more important it can essentially cause a collapse of your carriage. With the shortening of the abdominal muscles and the pulling of the shortened front body against the weakened muscles back body the entire upper body becomes shorter, more compact.
A shorter, more compact upper body can lead to a multitude of issues; digestive problems, bladder, kidney and prostrate issues, endocrine problems and uterine issues – its not a pretty sight but the worst of all of it is the darn belly fat!
Ok, its not really belly fat – sure most of it is fat but those rolls aren’t necessarily a problem. If they covered more surface area for example, they wouldn’t LOOK bad and honestly, isn’t that what we are after? We want to look better.
The reason those rolls appear around your middle is because you have telescoped your body enough to cause the skin and underlying structures – fat included – to have to fold over to take up less space. This effect can be seen if you lay a hand towel down on a hard/slippery surface and push the ends towards one another – the fabric bunches up into several rolls right?
You see this also in your upper back – those unsightly rolls that push out around your bra strap…they want to sell you SPANX to cover those up don’ they? You don’t need SPANX you need to work on your posture!
Ok, I hear you – you are calling B.S. – you don’t believe a word I’m saying do you? Ok, test it for yourself. Hang upside down – find a chin-up bar or go to a kids playground and just hang yourself upside down. If hanging upside down is impossible for you then we need to have another conversation but until then you can get a similar effect if you hang by your arms upside right but then you don’t have a free hand to pinch with 🙂
When you hang you will notice that all of those bumps and rolls go away – now give a yourself a pinch and see that there isn’t as much there as you thought. This is a far better representation of what you body should look like if you were to use it properly. Now it is true that by hanging you will have gravity providing a bit more traction than your intrinsic muscles would provide but I believe that the tension most people hold in their muscles and connective tissue will counter balance the traction.
The fact is that most of us could be significantly taller – there for spreading our ‘belly fat’ over more surface area – if we simply used our bodies with greater efficiency and stood at our full height so that our outer layers didn’t have to fold and roll to accommodate our shortened stature.
So, now I’m sure you want to know how to do that. Well to undo all of the years of core exercises you have been duped into doing I suggest you go and find your local Iyengar Yoga studio. Now I will agree that it is the teacher not the style that makes for quality yoga but I feel that the Iyengaries, as a rule, have a better understanding of biomechanics and structural alignment; most other styles accommodate the yoga to fit the body not the body to fit the yoga.
Iyengar yoga relies heavily on props and supports to make the biomechanically correct poses available to all levels of fitness and flexibility. Iyengaries will teach anyone, at any level. Yes, it is work, work in a different way than most westerners are used to doing work – it builds awareness and brings change – the exact change you will need should you care to really lose belly fat.