Toning Your Abs: Common Exercise Myths

1. The ‘chew then crunch’ myth

Sit-ups are good abdominal and stomach toning exercises if done correctly and combined with a low-fat diet. However, many people think that they can continue to eat whatever they want and end the day with 100 sit-ups to “flush out” all the bad stuff they put into their body throughout the day.

If you’re not reducing your fat intake by watching what you eat, it doesn’t matter how many exercises and crunches you do. Not only will you see zero results, but you may also see your stomach grow in size!

This is because you are building muscle under the existing fat. We all have flat bellies, it’s just that some have layers and layers of fat on top of that muscle we need to get rid of first.

First you have to remove that existing fat by training and toning your abs and stomach area.

I had this problem when I started working out. I didn’t drop my calorie or fat intake much, but I did start doing crunches. For three straight months I did my 8 minute ab routine like clockwork. I couldn’t understand why I wasn’t seeing results. In fact, my stomach started to bulge out even more.

Well, after doing a lot of reading, I found out that I was also going to change my diet if I wanted to see the results I wanted.

2. The myth of numbers

Twenty-five good, quality sit-ups are much better than 250 half-baked sit-ups. Many people just want to get it over with, so they lie down and do as many quick crunches as they can with no quality.

The best you can do is perform 4 sets of 20-25 solid crunches while resting 90 seconds between each set. That’s a much more effective way to train your abs than 250 mediocre sit-ups in a row.

3. The myth of spot toning

This is the one that frustrates me. I have always been very skinny and have recently started to gain weight around the hips and thighs. I appreciated the extra kilos because they gave me a curvier figure. Unfortunately it also left us with a bit of a loose stomach.

I wanted to keep my hips and thighs but lose my stomach, so I started working out my stomach and abs by doing pilates and crunches.

Well, I didn’t see any results. Through reading I found that you can’t just spot tone because if you only focus on one area (ie your tummy), you won’t rev up your metabolism enough to burn that extra belly fat. So the key to flattening your stomach area is to increase your body’s metabolism so that you can effectively get rid of those layers of excess belly fat.

A full body workout is the key to slimming down your waist.

4. The Myth of the Six Pack

Whether you’re a man or a woman, we’d all love to have that solid six-pack to show off when we’re at the pool, right? Well, what most people don’t realize is that solid abs don’t start in the gym, they start in the kitchen. If your body contains a lot of fat, your abs will not show no matter how much you exercise.

Your first goal should be to lose that fat and it starts with your diet. Decrease the amount of fat and calories you eat and increase the amount of protein. Protein is an absolute must for gaining fat and building muscle.

5. The myth of running

Did you know that running does little when it comes to toning your stomach? This is because it can cause the pelvis to pull forward and the lower back to arch.

Don’t get me wrong, running is good for you and can burn a lot of calories, but if you’re not doing any other stomach-toning exercises along with running, you’ll see little to no results.


I hope you’ve learned that flattening your stomach isn’t about doing 100 crunches a day. It’s all about total body fitness and changing your overall diet.

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