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TheraGear Staff
Health and Fitness News Article - TheraGear Article Resource

Do you want a flat stomach?

Article #32

Do you want a flat stomach? I don't know a person who doesn't!

People spend millions, if not billions of dollars, each year in the quest for
 a flat stomach. Right now there are about 200 or more ab exercise devices out
 there. There's the ab do-it, the ab rock-it, the ab roller, the ab dolly, and
 so many more. You would think that with all of these amazing new products that
 most people would be walking around with that nice, lean mid-section they've
 always wanted. Unfortunately, that's not the case.

Most, if not all of these products, will do little or nothing to flatten your
 stomach. And that's because these exercise contraptions cannot eliminate the
 layer of fat that lies on top of your abs.

In order to be successful at thinning your waistline you must have a basic
 under standing of how the ab muscles function and how your body burns fat. The
 first thing that needs to be understood is the difference between fat and muscle.
 Fat is excess calories and is primarily stored in layers on top of muscle tissue.
 Muscle is made up of fibers that contract or shorten to produce movement. Fat
 cannot turn into muscle and muscle cannot turn into fat! However, you can lose
 muscle and you can gain fat. That's what happens to most people.

So if your goal is to thin your waist line and have a nice flat stomach, the
 first thing you need to do is decrease / eliminate the layers of fat that are
 on top of your abs. We all have a flat stomach; it's just some of oar's are
 covered by excess fat.

The most effective way of flattening your stomach is a combination of strength
 training (with a extra focus on mid-section), cardiovascular exercise (short,
 hard workouts), and stable blood sugar (keeps you from adding additional fat
 and makes it easier for the body to use body fat for fuel).

1. You must do some form of progressive strength training

The primary function of the ab muscle is to flex your torso forward. However,
 there are also muscles that flex your torso to the side and muscles that rotate
 your torso. Often times you see people on their ab roller every day doing hundreds
 of crunches or sit-ups.

If you want to effectively strengthen your stomach you need to incorporate
 the following types of exercises:

. 1-2 forward flexion exercises (crunch, sit-up, etc.)

. 1-2 side flexion exercises (side bends, side crunches, etc.)

. 1-2 rotational exercises (trunk rotations, standing twists, etc.)

The abs, are muscles just like any other and should be worked at most 3 times
 per week. You also want to make sure you are training them progressively, working
 them harder each time.

2. Use short, hard cardio workouts to increase metabolism

Cardio workouts are important because they CAN, if done correctly, increase
 your metabolism for 4-24 hours or more! This means you are less likely to store
 any excess calories as body fat because they are more likely to be used by your
 elevated metabolism. Plus, you are more likely to burn off some excess body

Below is a sample interval workout that can be done with just about any

 activity (walking, bicycling, swimming, stair climbing, etc.).

Warm up at easy pace 2-5 minutes - Perform 30 seconds of hard work

 (almost as hard as possible) - Perform 1 minute of moderate work

 (recovery time-catch breath) - Repeat this process 6-10 times - Cool down at
 an easy pace for 2-5 minutes

3. Stable blood sugar is the key

And most importantly, you must stabilize your blood sugar! This is by far the
 most important factor when it comes to burning away that excess body fat and
 keeping it off! To effectively stabilize your blood sugar you must feed your
 body frequently; like every 2-3 hours. The key is to give your body only what
 it needs at that time. Your body burns calories 24 hours a day, so, why would
 you only feed it once or twice a day? Give your body the fuel it needs: vegetables,
 fruits, nuts, berries, whole

 grains, and lean proteins (chicken, fish, lean beef, eggs, etc.).

Many people are too hung up on how much fat is in food, or how healthy of a
 choice it is. Calories are calories and it doesn't matter where they come from.
 If there's extra. where's it going? Yup, you guessed it. body fat!

This is not to say that what you eat is not important because it is, it just
 doesn't have that much of an affect when it comes to fat loss. Try to make healthy
 choices whenever possible, but don't feel like if you eat a cheeseburger it
 is guaranteed to be stored as fat.

4. Get the help of a professional

Unfortunately, most people don't know enough about the human body, nutrition,
 or effective exercise to meet their health and fitness goals. Ask yourself this
 one question, "Am I happy with my current progress or condition?"
 If you're not, you should consider getting the help of a qualified personal
 fitness professional. Don't depend on the information you get from magazines
 or from your local gym/ health club. A qualified fitness professional can help
 you achieve your health and fitness goals, and in less time than you would imagine.

If you are serious about your health and fitness goals, and you are ready for
 that flat stomach, I recommend you start implementing the 4 strategies listed
 in this article. These 4 strategies can help you take control of your metabolism
 and burn off that excess body fat and having you looking and feeling great!
 If you would like to receive more information on how to lose those love handles
 please call me at 240-731-3724 or e-mail me at


 Jesse Cannone is a certified personal fitness trainer, post-rehab specialist,
 nutritionist, and a national fitness presenter. He is also the author of Burn
 Fat FAST and A Bride's Guide To Fast Fitness + Weight Loss in addition to many
 other popular fitness articles. He is known for his hard-hitting and to the
 point style and offers a great free email newsletter called Fitness Success
 News, which you can subscribe to at his website

If you would like to discuss this article click the link below.

By Jesse Cannone CFT, CPRS, CSPN