If you’re weary of that spare tire around your waist and want to zip up your pants without the assist from lying down on your bed, consider exercise machines that are great for toning and flattening your belly. Not only is belly fat unpleasant to have, but it can be life threatening as well. Know the risks and get to work on losing that unwanted fat.
Dangers of Stomach Fat
According to Mayo Clinic, belly fat can be more dangerous to your health than obesity. For women, belly fat increases the risk for cardiovascular disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, breast cancer and colorectal cancer. Reducing your body fat can decrease your risk of these health conditions and lead to a healthier life.
Seated Ab Curl Machine
While you can’t work to lose fat specifically from your stomach, toning your stomach muscles can make your stomach appear slimmer. One type of machine at the gym that can help you tone your abs is the crunch machine. The ab crunch machine mimics a basic crunch, but in an upright position. Sit on the machine and grip the handles. You can also adjust the seat so the handles are at the same level as your shoulders. The lever for adjusting the seat is located at the side of your seat. As you pull the lever, push your body backward or forward in the seat to adjust. Hook your feet behind the footpads in order to stabilize your legs. Keeping your hips stationary, flex your waist so the elbows travel downward, keeping the hands firmly gripped on the handles. Return and repeat doing two to three sets of 12 to 15 crunches.
Lever Lying Twist
Another machine that can help you tone your ab muscles is the lever lying twist, which focuses on the sides of your abs, also known as your oblique muscles or love handles. While an odd-looking machine, it consists of a moveable seat with handles that allows you to twist your torso back and forth. Lie on your back, placing your hands on the handles, head on the pad, partition between the legs and your feet on the foot bars. To perform the twisting movement, disengage the hand lever and rotate the machine to one side until full spinal rotation can be felt. Reengage the hand lever to hold the apparatus in place once you’ve brought your body back to the center. Once you're ready to perform the exercise, disengage the handle and rotate your torso through the waist to the opposite side. Return to the starting position and repeat. Readjust the range of motion setting to the opposite side and repeat the exercise in the opposite direction. Do two to three sets on each side with 12 to 15 reps per set.
While toning your belly is important for losing fat, it’s important to burn more calories than you eat, and a great way of doing this is with a good cardio workout. The best cardio machines to burn fat off your muffin top are those that help elevate your heart rate and can keep it elevated for 20 minutes or more. The treadmill is beneficial for fat burning and you can perform running, jogging or even walking exercises. You can also increase the speed and incline on treadmills, which can create a more intense workout. Other machines that help raise the heart rate for a terrific fat-burning sweat session are stationary bikes, elliptical machines, stair climbers and rowing machines.
Having a Healthy Diet
If you really want to lose your unwanted belly fat, it is imperative to change your eating habits. In order to lose fat from anywhere on your body, you need to reduce the number of calories you consume each day. Instead of getting rid of entire meals, consider making your meals smaller or taking smaller portions. Also, limit the amount of saturated fat you consume and replace your unhealthy snacks with plant-based foods like fruits and vegetables.
- Mayo Clinic: Belly Fat in Men: Why Weight Loss Matters
- Mayo Clinic: Belly Fat in Women: Taking—and Keeping—It Off
- Mayo Clinic: Core Exercises: Why You Should Strengthen Your Core Muscles
- ExRx.net: Lever Seated Crunch
- ExRx.net: Lever Lying Twist
- American Council on Exercise: What’s the Best Piece of Cardio Equipment
Danielle Clark has been a writer since 2009, specializing in environmental and health and fitness topics. She has contributed to magazines and several online publications. Clark holds a Bachelor of Science in ecology and environmental science.