Tag Archive | "fat-loss"


How to sculpt your core

The vision

Fat loss is key to what the majority of women want in a stomach: one that is ‘flat’ or lean, with a little definition and no love handles.

“The most common complaints I receive are from new mums who have a flabby stomach or saggy skin after giving birth, or from individuals who have gained weight and now have a ‘pot belly’,” says director of Soul Centre Yoga & Pilates Studio Libby Wever (soulcentre.com.au)

“Beyond aesthetics, core conditioning also improves posture, which contributes to a trimmer appearance, and improves flexibility and balance. Moreover, developing core muscle strength can boost the effectiveness of workouts and reduce the risk of injuries that sideline our efforts to stay in shape. It also protects your back, which is very important to maintain.”

Key features

Your core is actually a highly complex set of muscles, encompassing the pelvic floor muscles, transversus abdominis, multifidus, internal and external obliques, and the rectus abdominis. Minor core muscles include the latissimus dorsi, gluteus maximus and trapezius.

“The transverse abdominal muscles, which wrap from the sides of the lower back around to the front, are well-coordinated core muscles that stabilise the spine and help create a firm base of support for virtually all movement,” says Wever.

The plan

From an aesthetic point of view, there is little point smashing out the crunches if your obliques are hidden by layers of fat. That said, like any muscle, the abs still need to be worked for proper function and image once the fat does come off.

“Exercises that strengthen abdominal and other core muscles should be part of an overall fitness plan that includes regular moderate-intensity aerobic exercise, such as brisk walking 30 minutes per day, most days of the week. Strength training two to three times a week designed to work the core (think Pilates and compound lifts) will also help,” says Wever.

Given the abs are notoriously resistant to fatigue and contain predominantly of slow-twitch (endurance) muscle fibres, they usually respond best to higher volume training. Think upward of 12 reps, for multiple sets.

“Performing basic movements such as sit-ups, crunches, leg lifts, squats and lunges – 12 reps by three sets – as well as holding a full-body plank for two minutes will help to engage and strengthen the core, aiding in your performance across other sports and activities, such as running or swimming,” adds Wever.



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How to fast-track fat loss

Want to know the key to fat loss? Master trainer Daniel Tramontana shares his tips for guaranteed fat loss.

To fast-track coveted progress such as greater fat loss, Tramontana says you need to get back to basics. Cardio is not ‘hardio’

With a combination of higher intensity interval training (HIIT), low-intensity steady state (LISS) training, body weight training sessions and a nutritious diet, Tramontana ensures his clients are given the best formula for their body.

“My cardiovascular programming is based around a 75/25 split of LISS and HIIT. So based on the available amount of time for a client to add in cardio on top of resistance training would determine the amount of each they conducted,” he says.

Here’s what your cardio program could look like:

2 hours per week for cardio training = 30 minutes of HIIT over two to three days 90 minutes of LISS over one to two sessions.

Be wary, if HIIT was all you did, you may encounter the downside of too much stress on your body, which can ironically turn HIIT into a fat retention tactic.

So what about weight training?

“For  fast track fat loss, I structure everything around two to three full body weight training sessions – two sessions based on linear periodisation macro cycle of 16-to-24 week programming, altered every four to six weeks,” he explains.

Translation? A program that begins by incorporating high-volume and low intensity weight training, and progressively moves into phases when the volume decreases and intensity increases.  Tramontana is a strong advocate for women to hit up the weights rack, “I find a lot of women are lifting nowhere near their capacity. Don’t be shy to lift heavy weights and test your ability regularly.”

The importance of rest

All this talk of intensity may have you thinking full pelt should be the only gear you work in, but without adequate recovery, you may be undermining your fat loss chances at the dumbbells. Both injury and overt fatigue can see you performing at less than 100 per cent over multiple sessions.

“Recovery begins with the post-workout meal. I advise at least 25 to 50 per cent of overall carbohydrates be included in this meal – either using complex carbohydrate sources or a combination of simple and complex carbs,” says Tramontana. “I also recommend at least one body therapy session per week.”

Think physiotherapy, massage, sauna, steam, floating, dry needling, sleep in, meditation, yoga, grounding – or something as simple as reading a book.

How to fuel your body with the right food

For Tramontana, eating for fat loss should focus on controlling hunger, which translates to better portion control and craving management.

“I ask that protein be included in every meal upon waking, generally an even or slightly escalating amount each meal depending again on habits and hunger patterns,” he says.

“For fat loss, I personally urge the exclusion of high-energy carbs even post workout – with the exception of competitors in the later stage of preparation.”

Supplementation may also give you an edge in the health and results stakes. Depending on your goals and needs, Tramontana advises the use of creatine, glutamine, vitamin C, branch chain amino acids, fish oils, whey protein, vitamin D, magnesium, zinc and a good-quality greens supplement to aid recovery, general wellbeing and lean muscle growth.

How to fast-track fat loss

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Image samly-abs-plank.jpg

15-minute ab workout

Want a strong core?

Add this high-energy workout to your workouts and boost fat loss, muscle gain and strength.

All you need is 15 minutes two to three times a week and a medicine ball.

1. Straight-arm plankLie on a flat surface.

Position hands directly under shoulders and legs, shoulder-width apart


2. Mountain climbers

For the next 30 seconds, incorporate spider mountain climbers, alternating movements on each side with the knee to elbow, back into the straight-arm plank for a total of one minute. Rest for 30 seconds and repeat 3 times.




3. Medicine ball crunches

Start with feet on the floor at a 90-degree angle. Lean back onto tailbone and lift feet off the floor at 45 degrees. Hold a 4 kg medicine ball at your chest. With knees bent and toes pointed upwards, extend arms with the medicine ball while bringing the knees towards the chest.

Keeping the abdominal muscles contracted, bring the medicine ball back to chest and extend the legs without letting your feet touch the ground. Stay in that position and preform a Russian twist with the medicine ball for weighted resistance.

Twist core with medicine ball from side to side. Keep legs as steady as possible while twisting without touching the floor. Do this as one motion for one minute, rest for 30 seconds, repeat 3 times.




4. High knees

Standing on a flat surface with feet hip-width apart, comfortably jump on one foot, lifting your knees as high as possible. Let arms flow with the motion of the opposite knee. Alternate legs for one minute at maximum speed and drop to the floor into the straight-arm plank. Perform spider mountain climbers for one minute, alternating movements on each side with the knee to elbow, back into the straight-arm plank. Rest for 30 seconds and repeat 3 times.


Words/workout: Sam Ly (pictured)Photography: Jamie Watling


15-minute ab workout

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