You have been to many parties lately, and all that eating and drinking has affected your abdomen in more ways than one. So much so that you have bid low rise jeans and the crop top a wistful goodbye. You never thought that you will have a muffin top, but sadly it’s making its wiggly presence felt.
Though it has a cute name, muffin tops are anything but cute and what’s more, they don’t disappear in a hurry. How you wish that you did not give into the temptation of that chocolate cake or that sinfully rich cheesecake!
But what is a muffin top really? That slight roll of flab spilling over the top of your jeans or skirt, which becomes bigger as you eat more, give you the appearance of a muffin, heavy on the top, hence the name! As you grow older, it becomes more and more difficult to lose that belly fat. It might be difficult but not completely impossible.
You may know about the effectiveness of aerobics exercises, but Pilate’s exercises might show you a way to achieving that ripped body which you always wanted. Besides getting a shapely and trim body, Pilates has numerous other benefits as well. Check out the reasons why you need to include a Pilate’s routine in your regime to make it a really effective complete workout.
Benefits of Pilates
Why Pilates, one may ask. Why is every woman or man rushing to the nearest Pilates Studio? Is it only about whittling away your waist? Getting a strong core or working on your posture may be one of the primary reasons for its sky-rocketing popularity, but there is more to it, check out the positive impact it has on your body and why should you make Pilates a part of your regular workouts.
- Your abs will thank you for it- Joseph Pilates, widely regarded as the father of pilates had famously said once,” In 10 sessions you will feel a difference, in 20 sessions you will see a difference, and in 30 sessions you will have a new body.” And the words said with such conviction are very true. It strengthens the rectus abdominis (the muscle responsible for building a six-pack) and if you work towards it, you will get the flat abs you always wanted but never knew how to achieve.
- It gets rid of severe back pain- Pilates works on your form, since nowadays we are always hunched over our devices, which affects our back. We always complain of back pain, which does not go with any amount of massaging, and gradually our work life also gets affected. Researchers claim that by stabilizing the core’s lumbar-pelvic (lower back) region, it eases away stress on the area and increases mobility.
- It is great for your joints- It is not only a great muffin top workout but is also kind to your joints. The movements are slow and controlled, thus putting very little pressure on your knees and joints. The reformer is thicker than any yoga mat and takes the pressure off your back considerably.
- It teaches you to focus- There are three things which you need to focus upon while doing Pilates, your body, your breath and how they move with complete synergy. So while doing the workouts, you need to completely forget about the niggling worries that are never too far away from your mind. You need to concentrate on your moves to get the best out of them.
- It helps with your other workouts- Sounds weird, but it is true. When you are strengthening your core, you are helping yourself to improve your posture and hence do your yoga well, run well, and in fact, you get the best of all your workouts. It’s a total win-win situation!
- You beat a yogi in flexibility- Okay, not entirely true, but Pilates does that to you, you become more flexible. When your muscles are tight, you limit your range of motion, but it is not so with Pilates.
A Few Tips to Aid your Workouts
So you must immediately start with your Pilates for weight loss workout, it will help you get a great posture, work on your core and banish the muffin top you so dread looking at. Besides sweating it out in the gym, make sure you follow these tips, to get rid of your muffin top.
- Stay focused- As you age, your level of estrogen hormone depletes and androgen levels shoot up, resulting in a shift or redistribution of fat in the stomach area, so no more indulging and getting away with it. You need to look closer at your portion control. Also stay away from junk; It’s not going to help you in any way, just make your muffin top larger.
- Manage stress levels- The rise of cortisol hormone, due to stress can be another factor for your increasing girth. So practice meditation and/or yoga and manage your stress levels.
- Sleep more- No more hoodwinking sleep, it’s only going to make matters worse. A good 7-8 hour of sleep is necessary to keep stress levels down and get rid of your muffin top faster.
- Don’t drink your calories- Skip those fizzy, sugary drinks. It increases the calorie count and before you realize, the weight which you tried so hard to get rid of or the inches which had disappeared come back with a vengeance. So hear us out and go easy on those drinks.
Now to the all-important workouts! Get your mat and start sweating! It really works those muscles, activates them and strengthens your core. Trust us; you will feel the burn in your abdomen with these moves. You might find it difficult to stick it out, but if you managed to focus you will surely thank us later.
1. Criss Cross Move
This move targets the obliques, the muscles along the sides of your abdomen.
Start with your hands supporting the weight of your head, and don’t pull forward your neck; move your ribcage to the right with both shoulder blades slightly off the floor. The prime focus is to get the back of your armpit over past your opposite knee.
Lift yourself higher as you move through the center and to the other side. Your shoulder blades shouldn’t touch the floor and should stay lifted the entire time.
Your legs move in and out straight from the hips, with slow and controlled movement, lifting higher and twisting more every time.
Complete about 20 total twists, holding the last two to twist your ribcage as far as possible, pulling in your belly button as tightly as you can.
2. Pilates Hundred
This isometric exercise is 31 percent more effective than those crunches at targeting the external obliques, the V-shaped muscles which run along the sides. The Hundreds are also uniquely effective at working the deeper ab muscles; and also supports the spine.
Start with lying on your back with your knees bent and positioned at 90 degrees, shins lying parallel to the floor (arms at your sides). Lift your head and shoulders. Inhale and flail or shake your arms, palms facing down, 3 to 4 inches off the floor, 5 times. Exhale and pump your arms 5 more times. This is 1 breath cycle or 1 rep. Repeat it until you are done with completing about 10 breath cycles.
3. Standing Leg Lift Pilates Exercise
This move completely massacres your muffin top. This should be in fact your go- to exercise and is the best way to lose a muffin top. This exercise also works on your quads, hamstrings, and glutes.
Place your legs together, and then transfer your weight to your front leg. Move your other leg backwards. Move your arms out front, to get the proper balance. Make your front knee pliant, and lift your back leg off the ground. Hold your leg up, and flex your foot in short bursts. Perform the exercise for a minute, and then switch legs.
4. Leg Lift Pilates on a Mat
You can also perform this exercise on a mat. Here you can imagine that your leg is a bullet firing out from your hips. To perform this exercise on a mat:
Keep your torso and hips still, so that you isolate your top leg. Rotate your top leg so that your knee is facing upward. Breathe in, and flex your top foot and lift your leg as high as you can. Breathe out, and slowly return your leg to starting position. Use a resistance band to increase your toning. Make sure it remains taut to increase the resistance.
5. Double Crisscross
This move looks pretty simple at a glance but it works your abdomen really well, helping you to blast that muffin top.
Lie face up with knees bent into the chest, hands behind head. Bend your left knee you’re your chest as your right leg extends out almost parallel to the floor and right shoulder turns into the knee (keep elbows open wide and avoid pulling on head), pulsing shoulder and knee closer together twice. Return to starting position and continue, alternating feet and arms each rep. Do a set of 3 exercises and repeat it 20 times.
6. Knee Crunch
This is one of the best exercises to lose a muffin top and flatten your abs.
Sit in a pretzel position with right leg bent in front of the body, left leg behind, and both knees at about a 90-degree angle. Keep your spine naturally straight, bend slightly forward from hips, leaning torso forward at about a 45-degree angle to the floor. Bring hands together in front of the chest.
Place hands on the floor for more support to make the move easier. Try and lift left your leg a few inches off the floor. Without shifting the rest of the body, bring your left leg toward the right, and try to tap your left thigh to left elbow. Return leg behind body without lowering it to the ground. Do about 3 sets and repeat 20 times each side.
7. Neck Pull
This is one of the few exercises that will help you lose the flab under your belly button because one needs to have a strong lower abdomen.
Sitting with your legs stretched out, slightly apart and put strongly on the floor, lift the upper portion of your body to straighten your spine, sitting as tall as possible. It is a challenge just to get to the upright position! Reach your upper body away from your legs, keeping your legs still and your back straight for as long as possible.
When your back cannot stay straight any longer, scoop your belly in and start lowering your upper body carefully to the ground, with control. Lift your head, keeping the weight of your skull supported with your hands. Curl up and over your legs, so the crown of your head reaches to your knees. Stack back up to the start position from the bottom to the top of the spine. Repeat 10 times.
8. Side Bends
This is a killer muffin top workout which acts like a mini nip and tuck. Yes! It is that effective.
Put your right hand on the floor, legs stretched out and feet stacked. You can modify by staggering the feet. Press into the floor and lift your hips up, legs straight. Lower your hips an inch from the mat and press back up. Repeat 10 times and switch sides.
Try these to get those rock hard abs, which you always admired in others but never thought you are capable of getting. But now you can, with these Pilates moves you can systematically get rid of your muffin top. Just remember that you need to support your exercise regime with a healthy lifestyle and it will be bye-bye muffin top and hello flat abs for you in no time. Go ahead try these moves, you sure won’t be complaining!