Still Wishing For That Sculpted 6-Pack?

Dietitian- Nutritionist, Maryann Gallucci, and Core specialist, Cheryl Coppa, explain how to get rid of your belly fat effectively


Being in the fitness industry and working with women this is always at the top of the goal list. It was on mine at one point too. It doesn’t help when we scroll through social media and ads, and this is what we see. Most of the time we have this false image of what strong and healthy means and what it looks like. Let’s talk about this! Is this even achievable for most women? What are some things we CAN do? In short, unless it is in your genetic makeup, most of us will never see this sculpted 6-pack look! This is not to say that it cannot happen for some, just remember a lot of how our bodies look and take shape is in our genetics. Healthy and strong really do look different on everyone! It’s no secret that as we age we become better at storing fat, especially in the lower abdominal region. However, we are all about solutions, so let’s talk solutions! I asked our award-winning Dietitian-Nutritionist, Maryanne Gallucci, her take on this when it comes to the nutrition side, what is happening, and more importantly what CAN we do? We also talked about what we CAN do when it comes to our fitness training. ………………………………..


"Nutrition accounts for 80 to 85 percent of weight loss goals. Hormones play a key role in storing fat in the lower belly area. High cortisol levels (stress hormones) can also result in weight gain in the stomach area", Dietitian-Nutritionist, Maryann Gallucci

"Obtaining 6-pack abs is a goal that is sought out by many but achieved by few. Those who are genetically blessed and reach a very low body fat percentage may get those desired results, Remember, genetics, age, training, and nutrition all are key components in the plan. Nutrition accounts for 80 to 85 percent of weight loss goals. Hormones play a key role in storing fat in the lower belly area. This is due to the decrease in estrogen starting at perimenopause right through the early post-menopause years. Postmenopausal women will stop producing estrogen in their ovaries and will instead produce it in their body fat in much lower amounts. The easiest place for the body to get estrogen is in the fat in the lower ab region. Also, our bodies tend to have higher cortisol levels (stress hormones) during this time. High cortisol levels can also result in weight gain in the stomach area. Your Food Choices Play a Major Role in Lowering Body Fat Training is a great way to help reduce high cortisol levels along with exercise. Daily food choices play a major role in lowering body fat. You can help with weight loss goals by including a variety of low-inflammatory foods. 👉 Reach for whole foods such as non-starchy vegetables (broccoli, spinach, asparagus, peppers, mushrooms, leafy greens, cabbage), 👉 Fruits (blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, raspberries, pineapple, avocados), 👉 Beans, whole grains (oats, quinoa, wild rice, brown rice) 👉 Nuts (almonds, pistachios), 👉 Healthy fats (olive oil, avocado oil) 👉 Lean protein (chicken, fish, turkey, lean meat, yogurt, cottage cheese). Eat More Protein to Avoid Overeating Protein influences several hormones that control your appetite and food intake. Making sure you include high-protein foods in your diet can help you avoid overeating. The ingredients in packaged goods and snack foods are often heavy on trans fats, added sugar, and added salt or sodium—three things that make it difficult to lose weight. All three (sugar, fat, and salt) work on your brain chemistry, creating cravings for fast foods and highly processed foods (pizza, cookies, cakes, candy, etc.). These foods are typically higher in calories and lower in nutrients. Also, when consuming excess amounts of sugar, your body’s fat storage skills go into overdrive. Sugary foods including high-fructose corn syrup increase insulin levels and promote insulin resistance and increased fat storage, so avoiding highly processed foods may be instrumental in getting your hormones on the right track. Lastly, make sure you are hydrated. Sometimes we mistake thirst for hunger. The same region of the brain is responsible for interpreting both hunger and thirst signals. Aim to eat every 3 to 4 hours, if you feel hungry between meals, you may simply be thirsty. Be sure to replace high-caloric sugary drinks with water. Drink at least 8 to10 glasses a day. Don't focus on one area of your body. Body types and where one carries excess weight, are mainly dictated by your genes and hormones. Therefore, you cannot spot-train one part of the body and ignore the rest. Staying positive, embracing your body type, getting adequate hours of sleep, training daily, and eating mindfully are key components to help reach your fitness goals.“, Dietitian-Nutritionist, Maryann Gallucci.

"The three things that make it difficult to lose weight are sugar, fat, and salt. They all work on your brain chemistry, creating cravings for fast foods and highly processed foods which are typically higher in calories and lower in nutrients. Avoiding highly processed foods may be instrumental in getting your hormones on the right track." Maryann Gallucci.

……………………………… Now, What Can We Do When It Comes To Fitness Training? A common mistake when women want to target belly fat in training and workouts is they do all the ab work. Just as Maryann said, you cannot spot-reduce fat in the same way you can spot-train muscle. It is in your DNA that decides where fat melts off first and last. So to target belly fat, you need to focus on overall fat loss. You may now be asking ‘How do I reduce overall body fat percentage?’ For our age group, this would be to focus on strength training! Cardio is great for a variety of reasons and should be sprinkled into your health and wellness routine. But, when it comes to fat loss cardio will not give you shape or sculpt out muscles. Especially, as we age and our muscle mass decreases we need to strength train. Muscle gives you shape, having muscle on your body burns fat. So the more muscle you have, the more fat you burn. I like to think of training as building, not losing, not punishment, but building! Because this is exactly what we are doing in many different ways when we take on a training program. We are building strength, we are building our bodies, and maybe even remodeling! 😉 Also, building a new level of confidence is just one of those positive side effects. To get the most out of your strength training routines, I like to work large muscles such as the legs and booty. Big muscles equal a big fat burn. Another productive way to strength train is compound movements. This is when you work multiple muscles in one exercise such as a squat press/thruster. Training this way will significantly help reduce overall fat percentage as well as belly fat in shorter amounts of time if you don’t like to spend more than 30 minutes training.

"For our age group, we should focus on strength training. Muscle gives you shape. The more muscle you have, the more fat you burn. To get the most out of your strength training routines, I like to work large muscles such as the legs and booty." Trainer Cheryl Coppa.

So what about core training? As you are working on overall fat loss and still want to train your core to be strong, functional, and have some tone you will want to learn full core training. This may not be what you think. I'm going to challenge your thinking a bit, stay with me. ☺️ A strong functional core is when we use ALL our core muscles and not just the superficial ones (six-pack muscles & obliques ) that tend to take over because of the way we move and train. These seem to be what we target in fitness and what we think makes for a strong core. In reality, strength, function, and shape start deeper than that. If we learn how to train using ALL our core muscles you will have the strongest core ever! So how do we do this? We do this through a breathing technique and once you learn this, you can make any exercise a core exercise! We do these types of exercises and techniques in the Core and Pelvic Floor Restore Program. Through simple movements, and adding this breathing technique, ladies will even tell me they feel sore in their core the next day. This is all part of the re-training and building up of our bodies again at this point in our lives. Take a watch this short video on how this breathing technique works and how to incorporate it into your fitness training.


Watch the video to learn the breathing technique to make any exercise a core exercise

Happy Building and strong looks beautiful on everyone! 💕


 

About Core Specialist, Cheryl Coppa

✔️ A certified Core Confidence Specialist (Pre & postnatal fitness, pelvic Floor, diastasis)

✔️ A certified Personal Trainer specializing in women's fitness over 40

✔️ Low-Pressure Fitness / Hypopressive certified by creator Dr. Tamara Rial

✔️ Pre/Postnatal Fitness Specialist

✔️ Instructor of the Pelvic Floor Health program, Ola Ka Ola




About Dietitian Nutritionist, Maryann Gallucci

MS, RDN, CDN, ACSM-EP-C, ACE-Health Coach.

✔️ Works in Private Practice providing nutrition counseling and fitness training.

✔️ Awarded “2021 Long Island Dietitian of the Year” by the Long Island Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

✔️ Adjunct Lecturer in the Family, Nutrition, and Exercise Sciences Department at Queens College.

✔️ Serves as the Nutrition Services and Payment Specialist Co-chair for the Long Island

✔️ Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

✔️A member of multiple Dietetic Practice Groups.

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