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How To Get Washboard Abs

From eDiets - The online diet, fitness, and healthy living resource

Whip your blubbery belly into washboard shape while watching TV, reading a book or even cooking dinner... this device is 30 percent more effective than normal exercise... achieve rock-hard abs without working up a sweat...

Sounds hard to believe don't it? Yet people you know have actually fallen hook, line and sinker for such gimmicky guarantees made by the manufacturers of those controversial electronic abdominal exercise belts.

You've seen the ads... the ones that promise six-pack abs with absolutely no effort. All you got to do is fork out from $40 to $120 and wear the flab-busting belt for a certain period of time.

The verdict is in. If you’ve bought into this "fast abs through electronic muscle stimulation fad" you’ve been had. Just last week, the product police at the Federal Trade Commission filed suit against the marketers of the AB Energizer, AbTronic and Fast Abs devices, alleging that the companies falsely advertised that users get washboard abs without exercise.

"For years, marketers of diet and exercise products have been preying on overweight, out-of-shape consumers by hawking false hope in a pill, false hope in a bottle, and, now, in a belt," FTC Chairman Timothy J. Muris said in a news release.

"Unfortunately, there are no magic pills, potions or pulsators for losing weight and getting into shape. The only winning combination is changing your diet and exercise."

When it comes to tightening your tummy, the only effective plan involves healthy eating and exercise. So if youre desperate for a red-hot bod by summer, put your trust in fitness expert and author of The Firefighter’s Workout (HarperCollins) Michael Stefano... not some muscle-spasming device.

"People who have had no experience with exercise often try stuff like the electronic exercise belts and they're disappointed when nothing happens," Stefano tells eDiets. "That’s when they turn to diet and exercise. Plenty of people have turned to gimmicks before they come to me.

"The only way to firm and tone abs is to flex the abdominal muscles. There are many ways to do that. There are basic moves that are more effective than others, such as the leg raise and the crunch."

According to Stefano, the size of the waistline is indicative of a person’s fitness level. The minute we notice our jeans or skirt getting too close for comfort, we’re ready to shape up. Whether it’s the after-effect of too many trips to the buffet table or post-pregnancy pounds that need to be shed, you can tone up and trim down with a few do-anywhere exercises.

One of the most important factors to getting back into shape is performing some sort of aerobic activity. Whether it’s brisk walking or cycling, the activity should be done for at least 15 minutes, 3 to 4 times a week. This increases the body’s fat-burning ability. You must also follow a balanced diet to achieve optimum results.

What you don’t need are overpriced exercise gadgets, Stefano says. By following the three abdominal exercises described below, you’ll be well on your way to a better body by summer.

"Each exercise should be repeated to muscle fatigue if possible," Stefano says. "Each set should take about one minute.

"You should do about 20 to 30 reps to hit muscle fatigue. Go directly from one exercise to the next with only a brief pause between sets. If at any time during the workout you feel out of breath or overly fatigued, stop and catch your breath before you continue."

To get the most out of your workout, follow the intensity adjustment.

Leg RaiseLeg Raise
Lie on your back on a mat or padded carpet, legs straight, both hands under your buttocks to help maintain the proper pelvic tilt. Exhale and slowly bring both knees to your chest. Inhale as you straighten your legs to a point where your feet are a few inches off the floor. Repeat to muscle fatigue.

Intensity Adjustment: Add ankle weights to increase intensity. Perform with knees partially bent, your toes tapping the floor, to decrease intensity.

Crunch
Crunch

Lie on your back on a mat or padded carpet with your knees partially bent, feet flat on the floor, arms folded across your chest (as shown). Exhale as you press the lower back into the floor and begin to raise your head, shoulders and chest off the floor, concentrating on bringing the ribs towards the hips. Pause briefly as you feel your abdominal muscles tighten. The movement need only be a few inches. Inhale as you slowly curl back down, trying not to let your head touch the floor, maintaining tension in the abdominal muscles for the entire set. Repeat to muscle fatigue.

Intensity Adjustment: To increase intensity, lengthen the pause to 2 seconds, or place your hands behind your head instead of across your chest.

Side Leg RaiseSide Leg Raise
Lie on your left side on a mat or padded carpet, head and legs straight. Exhale as you slowly raise your right leg as high as it will comfortably go and pause briefly. All movement comes from the hip joint. Inhale, lower top leg to starting position and repeat. Repeat to muscle fatigue.

Intensity Adjustment: Perform with ankle weights to increase intensity, and bend the top leg at the knee to decrease resistance.


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