Summer is just around the corner which means it's time to dust off the bikinis and hit the beach.
For some of us that is a scary thought particularly if like most people you are still displaying the effects of indulging in too much winter comfort food.
ninemsn's Michelle Tapping caught up with Fitness First group fitness manager Patty Katts-Crossley to reveal her best-kept secrets on how to achieve your desired beach body, complete with sizzling summer six-pack.
How do you get a six-pack? What are your best diet and exercise tips?
Like any other muscle group, the six-pack muscles at the front of the abdomen can be covered by a layer of fat. This layer of fat often seems harder to remove because the abdomen is a prime fat storage site for the body. Unfortunately you cannot specifically target this storage site for fat loss! Reducing your overall fat percentage will gradually reveal the muscles underneath.
One great tip is to keep the metabolism ticking over by feeding yourself smaller meals more often during the day. This constantly keeps the fat fires burning and is a simple adjustment to make to your daily routine.
What are the best abdominal exercises? What are the worst?
The best abdominal exercises are those that stabilise and strengthen the entire core area, not just the six-pack muscles. Also abdominal exercises don't have to be done just on the floor. So try some Swiss ball or Bosu (blue half-ball) crunches to engage the inner and outer unit, as well as exercises like the horizontal and side plank.
Is there a good way to kick-start a diet for summer?
With the warmer weather, reduce your portion sizes and eat more, smaller meals during the day. Summer also means seasonal fruits, so add plenty of fresh, seasonal fruit and vegetables to your diet as well. Remember, variety is the key to keeping your diet interesting and therefore sustainable.
What’s the best way to lose weight? Is that different to losing fat?
When many people talk about weight loss, they are really referring to fat loss. Most people jump on the scales to measure their weight and feel better when it's lighter, but what are they actually measuring? Your weight on the scales does not distinguish between muscle, fat and fluids which can fluctuate markedly during the day.
Fat loss is simply a matter of eating fewer calories than you consume. Excess calories (energy) are stored by the body as fat, which is what people want to lose. If your energy expenditure outweighs your calorie input, then your body will naturally start utilising its stored energy. Energy-intensive cardio exercise and weight training is the best way to tip the energy scales in your favour AND kick-start your metabolism to lose fat.
Are carbohydrates bad? Is fat bad?
Carbohydrates and fats are a component of food just like protein, starch, sugar, etc.
Carbohydrates themselves are not bad, as they naturally occur in fruit and vegetables. However, processed foods tend to contain more carbohydrates (energy) which tips the energy scales the wrong way. Processed foods can contain the hidden danger of delivering a massive energy hit while physically being quite small in comparison to a piece of fruit. So we tend to eat more of it. Naturally occurring animal fats though tend to break down in the body quite quickly. Fat in your steak does not necessarily go straight to your tummy!
Do you have any other health or fitness tips for those ready to hit the beach?
Make diet and exercise cornerstones of your life. Enjoy feeling fit and healthy!
To train with Patty and get yourself a sick-pack to make the blokes envious, visit www.fitnessfirst.com.au
Have your say below: Are you bikini-read yet?