Ab Trainers and Belly Fat – The Truth

by Marianne  - July 18, 2010

Hi everyone,

I hate to admit this, but I am actually ill 🙁 I think I have a mild flu or something AND an ear ache/infection – hence the lack of new workouts!

Today I thought I’d take the opportunity to talk about one of my pet peeves – Ab trainers!! Trainers such as ab cradles, and that ridiculous Ab Circle Pro really get to me, because their makers market them as a way of “spot reducing” fat in the mid-section! Your body loses fat from everywhere in the right conditions, so the key is not to focus on one small area, but to use as many muscles as you can to burn the most calories.  Many people fall for this ploy and it is downright exploitation of peoples’ insecurities and deepest desires to rid themselves of that “stubborn” tummy fat.

I too once spent hours doing crunches using a ab cradle hoping that hidden six pack would one day appear. In reality, you can only achieve a six-pack by :

  1. Eating right
  2. Intensive cardio workouts
  3. Full body resistance training.

You could spend ages doing ab exercises and hardly burn a pick of fat.
What bugs me the most about watching the infomercials on the Ab Circle Pro is that Fitness Model Jennifer Nicole-Lee endorses it! This is crazy false advertising, because you have to be super strict and dedicated with eating right and exercising a lot to maintain a figure like hers.  And this machine claims a 4 minutes per day workout will give you results!!

Why not just be truthful with people – I hate that these companies make money by preying on peoples’ ignorance and low self esteem!

Some defenders of this equipment may say at this point that these machines also help strengthen your abs. That may be true but there are MUCH more effective pieces of equipment to use that cost a fraction of the price of the Ab Circle Pro for example.  A stability ball for one will allow you to exercise every part of you abs within their full range of motion, while offering an excellent way to strengthen your core too, plus the ball can be used to exercise other body parts.  Ab discs also allow this full range of motion (so too will a rolled up towel under the small of your back).  Hanging leg or knee raises help to build strength in the lower abdominals and obliques (and if bodyfat is low enough will define them too). So you don’t need to spend a lot of money on a fancy piece of equipment. All you’re really paying for is a false hope. Without the whole equation, you will never see your tummy fat reduce.

Below is a video from a fellow YouTuber who has very similar views to me on ab exercises and ab cradles and outlines the reason why there is a better way.  This is by Jay from WellnessMafia .

So to summarise, if you want to lose belly fat, think of the bigger picture and start exercising your WHOLE body with resistance AND cardio, while eating right. Remember it is NOT a quick fix but it’ll be a hell of a lot quicker than using an ab trainer for “4 magical minutes a day”! Be consistent and don’t give up.

Not to dishearten anyone, but I have been training seriously now for about 12 – 18 months (intensity fluctuating depending on my arthritis at times, but I’ve been consistent for the last 7 months) and I have yet to see my six-pack. It would take an extreme diet change and a drop of probably another 4% bodyfat for me to see better results. (Not that someone else can’t achieve better results faster than me, but I only want to put the false marketers’ claims into perspective)

I saw the best changes, when I became food aware and started training with heavier weights along with short bursts of cardio.

To strengthen your abs, engage your core in everything you do, and add in “full motion” ab exercises.

LASTLY, if it seems too good to be true – it probably is :/

Sorry for the rant. Let me know your thoughts on this topic by leaving a comment below.



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  1. Pingback: Dietary Must Reads Part 4 | pckfitness.com
  2. Hi Marianne,

    I know this is an older post and hasn’t seen any commenting activity for a while, but I only came across it now for the first time. Don’t you just love the Internet and blogging? And how they work out like that? I think it’s very cool, myself!

    Anyway, the reason I wanted to comment is because I didn’t see any mention of “Planks” as a viable workout for abs and core generally. Neither in your article, nor in any of the comments. And yet, I can tell you from firsthand experience that they are, along with a few other unconventional exercises that I do.

    Moreover, I, too, like Phil, am in my 40’s (42 to be exact), and I let my body get out of shape very badly during my latter 30’s. I’ll just say that I had pretty much “checked out of life” for about 4 years and simply “let” everything go to pieces. I attribute it to a long streak of poor diet, bad luck, depression, and feeling self-pity (because I was fat, eh), but mostly major denial about many things, including my weight problem.

    But then one day (about 9-months ago) I finally got tired of the doctors telling me that I needed to lose weight or else (?)… And things such as not being able to see my own feet without bending over, not being able to get comfortable in any position (i.e., sitting, standing, or lying down), not sleeping much at all, not feeling attractive or sexy anymore, as I did when I was younger and in great shape, etc., etc. were all taking their toll on me in many ways.

    So I made the decision to change everything and do whatever it took to get back into great shape again, including my own six-pack, which I do have now, by the way.

    And ultimately to get my life back, too, which I have also accomplished, thanks be to God and a few natural weight loss supplements and A LOT of good old-fashioned exercise.

    I may not be in as great a shape as when I was younger, but I’m quite fit and definitely NOT fat at the moment, nevertheless. And let me tell you, it truly feels great to have TAKEN THE ACTION and MADE THE CHANGES it required now that I’m healthy again.

    Plus I also experience much less pain nowadays, thanks to my athletic physique. I don’t know what else to say, except that it’s just feels awesome to be fit and well again (for the most part, ha ha), and you should try it out for yourself, if your not (that’s more to your readers than you, Marianne 😉 )!

    Now, wrapping it up, I did notice that you mentioned “Hanging leg or knee raises” and those are some of the best exercises to get a six-pack. I used them religiously to get mine back. Another unorthodox exercise for ab and core training that is often overlooked is the “seated butt raise”…

    OK, I know it sounds funny, but it works like a charm, and it can be done almost anywhere. Yep, all you need is a chair that you can grip on the seat and then push your butt / body up on, using your arms.

    Just imagine sitting in an ordinary kitchen chair, facing forward, and gripping the chair on each side of the seat portion, next to your hips, in such a manner that you can push yourself upward, holding your body suspended in the air, for as long as you can, then releasing and relaxing before doing it again and again and again… (sorry I don’t have any pics 🙁 )

    Anyhow, I think that I’ve said enough here today. Shoot, I might have even beat Phil on my first post length… LOL! 😆

    So let me close out by saying that I enjoyed reading your article and agree with pretty much everything you said. I also liked the comments left by your readers as well. I hope and pray that whomever reads this has a truly wonderful, prosperity filled, and God-blessed LIFE! And have a nice day, too, he he…

    Most Sincerely Yours,

    Michael Brock

    1. Hi Michael, thank you for sharing your story! You have overcome A LOT!!! Well done. Might I suggest, if you are going to stick around at the myomytv community, that you share your story in the “introductions” section over at the forum? I just think it would inspire others who are still trying to attain their goal 😀 Do you have before and after pics? (don’t worry if you don’t, the written story is motivation enough, given the emotional journey you have travelled too).

      As for your core question. The aim of this article was to dispell the myths about spot-reduction and this idea that you only need to do ab exercises to get a six-pack. Strengthening and stabilising the core is a whole other kettle of fish and, while the plank is a great exercise to help strengthen the core, it is more from a functional stand-point than from an asthetic one. The Plank on it’s own will not help pronounce the rectus abdominis. I mentioned the leg-raises because once you have sufficiently low body fat, this exercises (performed correctly), will help hypertrophy the rectus abdominis.

      Just to be nit-picky (in a nice way), but I would also be reluctant to suggest the Plank as an Ab exercise anyway, as the Core is comprised of many other muscles groups (which need to be activated during this exercise) such as; the pelvic floor, the glute max, the lats, the spinal erectors. I would always prefer core exercises over ab exercises because you just get more bang for your buck when it comes to performance cross over.

      I really hope that you will share your story in the forum 🙂


      1. Hi Marianne,

        WOW! You get mighty technical there, sweetie… But that’s cool, I can hang.

        Yeah, I was a Pre-med major in college, although that was over 15-years ago, and I never did go to medical school, and opted for self-employment instead.

        Even so, I can still understand medical jargon / terminology, for the most part. And, of course, there’s always Google and Wikipedia, too, for when I don’t know or remember something, he he! 😉

        Anyway, yeah, I totally feel what you mean by the main point of this post, and I fully acknowledge and share in your dissatisfaction with all of the hyped-up, so-called “Ab Trainers” that concentrate on just the abdominal muscles and “spot reducing” fat, as you put it.

        Moreover, I also strongly agree with you in that the only way to really get any positive results and/or the sexy “six-pack” look is to do macro-focused exercise routines that incorporate the WHOLE body, which not only burns more calories than those micro-focused exercises, but also brings more muscle groups into the picture, allowing for a more well-balanced physique and more muscular growth overall. Like Billy Idol sang, “More, more, more, more, more…” I mean, what more could you ask for? LOL! 😆

        And for those of you who don’t know already, the absolute best way to lose weight is to replace the fat with muscle. For overweight people, this requires, among other things (like a healthy diet), either caloric expenditures in excess of what they take in daily (i.e., burning more calories than they eat everyday), or caloric restrictions / limitations (i.e., eating less), along with both resistance and aerobic / cardiovascular training of some sort, on a regular basis.

        If anybody tells you differently, then they are outright lying to you! And, quite frankly, I don’t care who they are… I know firsthand and for sure that this information is indeed factual!

        Well, there is one exception, which is if you’re talking to a medical doctor and want to go “under the knife” (as they say) and get some kind of crazy medical and/or surgical procedure, that is! OUCH!.. Not for me!

        Uh oh, I feel a rant coming on… Just edit out any parts that you might deem unacceptable to your audience (if any), because I don’t normally hold back while ranting

        That said, yes, I truly believe it’s all just a HUGE marketing gimmick created behind the scenes by the obscenely rich elitist / capitalist (i.e., the ones you only hear or read about, but never see in person, and only maybe rarely see on TV) to get the unwitting, unhealthy, and uninformed (or rather disinformed / misinformed by way of our beloved media venues that are controlled / designed / organized / propagandized by these same groups) poor people at large (cf. general public) to buy the “next big thing” promising to help them solve their belly fat (weight, sexual, mental health, you name it) problem(s) via some sort of “faddish” (cf. “fraudulent”) exercise equipment that rarely works as promoted and usually breaks inside of several months (just long enough to exceed the return policy / warranty), or a myriad of expensive pharmaceutical drugs, or, as previously mentioned, outrageous medical / surgical procedures, and the list goes on.

        It seems to have become the American way nowadays, don’t you know? Because people have apparently been turned into “sheeple” and are taught and/or conditioned to follow the leaders in whatever they do (e.g., celebs, rich socialites, jet setters, etc… you know the ones). OK, that’s enough of the rant, so let’s move on…

        Now about the planks “not help[ing] pronounce the rectus abdominis” (i.e., the muscle group that comprises the so-called “six-pack” or in rare cases, such as my own actually, an “eight-pack”, and I’ve even heard or read about extremely rare cases where there appears to be a “ten-pack” of asymmetrical muscle striations running vertically on either side of the anterior wall of the human abdomen), I guess I’d have to say that it’s all in how you do them and/or modify them to be a “hybrid resistance” / “circuit training” exercise, by adding reps of various specified movements and/or static positions with weights (e.g., dumbbells, or perhaps your kettlebells).

        At this point, I should mention that, according to my cousin, Paul, who is almost 7-years my junior, I’m an “Animal” when it comes to training / working out. And I do pretty much exclusive workout routines that I’ve tailor made over the years (I used to workout a lot in the past and had a gym membership for nearly 2-decades) to suit my own liking and body type, which is back to being a mainly ecto/meso blend (respectively) right now (at a very tone 6’2″ tall and weighing about 155-lbs., which was my “set point” weight for many years), as opposed to the endo/ecto mix (again, respectively) that I had transformed into.

        (Side Note: I topped out at a very slouchy, extremely POT-bellied 210-lbs., which may not sound like a lot to some people, given my height, but I am of a medium build in terms of skeletal structure, and the extra “fat weight” definitely took its toll on my body… And yet, I still lost about 55-lbs. of pure “fat” and am now at somewhere between a 6% – 8% body fat percentage, based on my own personal knowledge and experience with this stuff, not that I’ve had it measured, but with the amount of vascularity and muscular toning my body displays, particularly in my mid-section and upper body, I know this educated guess is correct).

        For example, once I start moving in my routine, which would be correctly considered a form of “hybrid circuit training” combined with extreme intensity and massive “muscular confusion” (a.k.a. “muscle confusion” and is something that I’ve been doing even before it was popularized by Tony Horton and his P90X system), I pretty much don’t stop until the workout is done, or I hit muscle failure; unless, of course, I’m doing planks, he he. And even then, I sometimes add-in reps of my own exercises, or variations of ones that I’ve seen or learned somewhere else before. 😉

        I don’t know, I could be wrong here, but I really think the “hybrid or modified planks” that I do have a significant effect on the entire core, including the “rectus abdominis” (imo). However, I’m not a “certified” expert in this subject matter, nor any kind of health professional, rather just a fitness enthusiast and obesity “overcomer” with a bitchin’ set of “eight-pack” abs, which leads me to your inquiry about me sharing my story in your forum…

        Absolutely, my dear, I would be delighted to pop over there and share my story with your community, and I would also be willing to interact more frequently therein, and even more around here, generally speaking, as well. In fact, I just registered for the forum and am awaiting your approval. But I will be very forthcoming and tell you straight-up that it doesn’t come without a price, of sorts, which is merely reciprocation — for all intents and purposes. Let me explain…

        First off, I think that you have a very nice site here, and if we play our cards right, then we may even be able to benefit from each other in further ways, too (especially, in terms of making more money, while providing a great service to others, as it seems like you’re aimed at doing here already). As I mentioned earlier, I’m self-employed and have been a small business owner for close to 20-years now, in one manner or another, but mostly offline. And my NEW BUSINESS is in Information Publishing (IP) and Internet Marketing (IM), but with a twist…

        Yeah, I’m starting a new inbox newsletter / magazine, based on actual working models that are HUGE (in terms of readerships) and/or worth millions of dollars, even as I write this (e.g., Early To Rise, Money and Markets, and Working Moms Only, just to name a few). But with my own Unique Selling Proposition (a.k.a. Unique Selling Point, or USP), which is none other than accommodating, fostering, facilitating and/or providing complete and total Enlightenment to ALL people who readily seek it out and find my site.

        See, in addition to using the Internet for reading, researching and writing, I also like to use it to build meaningful relationships with people and provide them with BENEFITS by GIVING THEM LOTS of VALUABLE INFORMATION for FREE! I used to do this via blogs, social network sites, and traditional “sales” or “niche” websites, along with some email marketing / list building (but not nearly as much as I could have or should have been doing), which is the common approach. And I still maintain a small network of sites that employ these types of business and/or marketing plans.

        By the way, I’ve been messing around with IM, IP, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), and web design for over 15-years, on and off, as a HOBBY (which I’ll discuss more later on in the forum). Because I was vested in offline commerce and never really relied on the Internet for my money / profits before the ongoing economic crisis arose, even though I knew in the back of my mind that I could make way more money online with less effort (in the long run), than my family’s small, local cleaning, hauling, and light demolition company could ever hope to provide.

        But when the global financial bombshell exploded and ripped our country’s economy to pieces, our little family-owned, “mom and pop” company became one of the millions of other small business victims to suffer the fallout. Needless to say, we were barely making any money at all for quite a while, because people just don’t have the disposable earnings they did before to spend on our types of services, and we are way down on the list of priorities nowadays as well.

        So, being the true-blue entrepreneur that I am, and already having a pretty good working knowledge of the Internet, I changed my business model and moved my operations primarily online now. We do still run the small business (my cousin / biz partner, Paul, handles most of the jobs solo these days, and I only join him when necessary), and we are actually in the process of acquiring more offline commercial properties as well, or at least the plans are in the works anyway.

        From here on, my goal is to create a community, group and/or network of like-minded people at my newest website project, to wit: GETFORREAL.com Newsletter™, wherein we can all freely become more Enlightened, not only by the free sharing of information itself, but also through the “virtual” interaction with each other via the “Master Mind” concept (i.e., Napoleon Hill’s version), and more as time progresses. Similar to what you discussed in your “About” section, viz:

        … one of the reasons I started this blog is I hope to be an inspiration to someone in a similar situation. Or at least provide the platform for people to share their stories, journeys or goals and build a community of support for one another.

        Now, since I am also an opportunist, who doesn’t like to beat around the bush, I want to take this moment to come right out and invite you to visit my site at GETFORREAL.com™ to see if any of what you find there resonates soundly with you?

        And if it does, then, quite frankly, I’ve read enough of your material here, Marianne, to say that I truly appreciate your knowledge in the “Health and Fitness” niche and your thoroughness when writing about / explaining the same, and I generally like your style overall and would love to have you on my Panel of Experts in the Lifestyles area under the “Health and Fitness” category (which isn’t actually setup yet, but will be soon — i.e., the Lifestyles area is up, but the H&F category is not, in fact, I may have to create additional databases and setup more “blogs” for the authors / experts to use, depending on how I decide to build it).

        Basically, this would involve you posting articles / content regularly to our newsletter / website (e.g., once a week, bi-weekly, etc.) — Or at the very least, I’d like for you to appear occasionally as a featured guest author / expert on a semi-regular basis. In either case, it would benefit you by giving you, your brand, and your blog more exposure (especially over time, as we increase our traffic and build up our readership / opt-in subscriber list), and it would benefit us by providing helpful / useful, unique, and updated content for our inbox newsletter, and also simultaneously for the website in the way of archives / back issues, which wouldn’t be penalized for duplicate content by Google, because the emails don’t count. So it’s really a win-win for both of us! 8)

        And I didn’t notice you promoting any of your own products, unless I missed it, but when YOU develop one, then you could promote it in your articles and simply pay me a commission when you make sales through my site’s link, much like any normal affiliate program. We can hash out percentages and other minor details later on, when you decide whether or not you would even be interested in such things. Also, please remember that the site is not even a month old yet (but is already indexed by Google and has PR of 0, which, believe it or not, is pretty darn good in terms of SEO) and is still in “alpha” stage when you visit? Thanks! 😉

        Yeah, I alone do all of the technical work behind the scenes of our sites (we have about a dozen of them scattered about at the moment), along with the copywriting, and pretty much everything else online for our currently small Helpful Info Publishing Group. Because my partners both still have their “day jobs” (so to speak), although they do work for themselves otherwise as well.

        I already told you about my cousin, Paul. Well, my other biz partner is my brother, Al, and he is also partners in an auto and truck repair service with Art (our other brother from another mother)… So did I lose you yet? LOL! 😆

        Well, I’m kind of rambling at this point, and I didn’t really intend on sharing my whole life’s story in this comment (I’m saving it for the forum… j/k, I’ll try to keep it brief — yeah right!), but once I start writing anything, it all just comes pouring out, and I can’t help it. Plus I have A LOT of other stuff I need to do, too. Thus, I’m going to wrap this baby up here…

        In closing, let me just say that regardless of your ultimate decision about being one of our Experts, I will at least share a version of my personal story in your forum, no matter what. Far be it from me to give a “back link” from a page ranked higher than mine, even if it’s a “NoFollow” link. And thank you very much for reading, approving, and replying to my previous comment. I really do appreciate it. I’m sure we’ll be in further correspondence now, and I’m looking forward to getting to know each other better. In the meantime, have a truly magnificent, prosperity filled, and God blessed day, Marianne!

        Most Sincerely Yours,

        Michael Brock
        Get A Sample of Supercharged HCG for Free!

        1. Michael, thank you for your detailed response LOL I will probably need to read it several more times before I reply to your proposition. I have been involved in something similar in the past, but it didn’t work out, so I will need more details about it all. I will send you an email, when I get my thoughts together.

          Marianne 🙂

          1. Hi Marianne,

            That’s cool, and I totally understand. It’s a whole new era for me and my Internet Marketing adventure, too, but it seems promising and should be fun once it really gets underway. Just let me know if you have any questions about the site and/or my offer, and I will try to answer them as quickly as possible. Thanks for getting back to me and have a great weekend!


            Michael Brock

            P.S. By the way, regarding the before and after pics you asked about… Well, I have some after pics and could easily take more. But, unfortunately, I wasn’t very camera-friendly when I was overweight, so the before pics are the problem. In fact, I’m still searching for some to post on my own weight loss sites (I actually own 3 but only 1 is online atm, and I just bought 1 of those today and the other 1 is in limbo right now), as a part of my own case study. I even have some of my family members looking out for some in their pictures as well. If / when I find some, then I will certainly submit a few to you, also. 8)

  3. Pingback: Body Workout 101
  4. Hi Marianne,

    Thanks so much for your reply! I was away in Mayo for the weekend so didn’t get a chance to go online or do much else! Yes I definitely agree about not weighing/measuring everyday. I’ve noticed when my weight was down to 133 (the lowest) I would end up sabotaging my efforts and I really think thats from weighing everyday.

    I had planned on doing the following workout for the next 12 weeks: http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/mahler67.htm (but not the weighted pull ups cause I can’t do one with my own weight yet!! I tried this out last week and it was really tough, I think I’d need to build up to the double presses) that with 1-2 of your HIT sessions, 6 days running (1 long, 1 hills, 2 tempo, 2 short/medium steady runs) and 1 spinning class. Do you think this goes in line with your advice? Are branched-chain amino acids a supplement that you would take?

    When I got measured my BF was 28% but I can retain A LOT of water. On Saturday I must have drank about 4 liters of filtered water, it was so nice ( I usually drink tap ) and on Sunday I felt awesome and a lot less flabby. I’ve never noticed such a radical difference before. Before I got measured I hadn’t been drinking much water and I had a bit of a carb fest so I’m not sure if I’m nearly 30% fat! But maybe I’m just being delusional!

    I eat approx 1500 – 2000 but on other days I can go quite over that! I really need to be consistent but I end up hating counting because it makes me think about food and I find that makes me more hungry!!

  5. Hi Marianne,

    I am totally on the same page with you about the companies advertising ab gadgets and endorsing spot reduction. I also laugh at their promises of six-pack in just 4 minutes a day :-).

    However, this is not an excuse to skip ab workouts in general. IMO, eating cleanly and burning fat is necessary but not sufficient: you still need ab exercises, not to reduce fat, but to strengthen and define the muscle. Else, one could be skinny but still have soft and undeveloped abs. The same actually goes for any body part, legs, arms,….

    As an example, I am sure that Andrew watches his diet and does cardio, but I would be hard pressed to believe that he got his six-pack without doing lots of dedicated ab exercises :-).

    1. Hi Fitgirl , nice name btw 😉

      Totally true that ab and core exercises are functionally important, and should not be excluded just because your bodyfat is too high to reveal them. I definitely would advocate full motion ab exercises from stability balls or hanging leg raises etc, which will not only help define, but strengthen.

      Andrew trained his abs a lot back in the day, but he also has genetics on his side. I am not so lucky. It would take a lot of training to get mine like that 😀 This shouldn’t put people off training them anyway though.

      Thanks for the comment.

  6. Yeah I hate the scales yet I feel compelled to weigh myself everyday, its just become a habit at this stage. A pointless one. I did get my bf% measured at the gym about two months ago which was 6% higher than what my stupid scales said. But when the girl did it she said if another trainer did it they would probably get a different %, so I don’t know! I should probably go by a measuring tape too. What do you think is a realistic bf% loss goal over a 3 month period? I really do want to reduce my bf by October.

    That must be an awesome feeling though, I wouldn’t mind being this weight or heavier if I could swap some fat with muscle! Do you mind me asking if you log your calories? I just over think things and end up thinking if I’m actually burning that many calories (different sites have different formulas) but then I end up overeating which makes it pointless.

    I’m from Donegal but been living in Dublin for the last couple of years.

    1. Hi Sarajane,

      Measuring tape is good indicator of success too, but i think you have to restrict yourself to only do it once per week. Daily fluctuations (with water retention etc) can be a will power killer if you don’t see big changes.

      I think if the same person measures your BF % it will be a good guide to overall losses. It all depends on your starting BF% as to a realistic loss in 3 months. For example, if someone has 30% BF it would be well within reason for them to lose 10% in this timeframe. However, someone at 20% BF will find it more difficult to lose 10%, they might only lose 5% in that time. The body is clever, and likes to hold on to reserves, so will slow things down.

      My advice to you, which will help your goal, is lift more heavy weights, get a heavier KB. Force to composition to favour more muscle and less fat. Believe it or not, your long runs are probably not helping. You will stand to probably burn off muscle when you do long runs, so your muscle : fat ratio will be affected. If you have less muscle, you will burn less fat. So I would try and do more resistance, less endurance runs (because these also risk injury before the marathon), and do more High Intensity Interval Training cardio (for fat loss). Maybe only do long runs once a week. I’m not an expert, but Andrew trained a guy for the Belfast marathon and he gained muscle and lost 7% body fat. Andrew recommends taking Branched-chain amino acids, which will feed the muscle while you exercise, without adding calories.

      I no longer log my calories, but I usually estimate how much is in a meal. I am a terrible snacker, so it’s hard to keep track. I did one of those calculations that had me eating about 2400 kcal. I put on loads of size. Not much fat, but more muscle. I find it hard to lose size. If I didn’t exercise, I know I would probably be fat, that’s just my body type. Everyone is different. I also find it hard to eat small portions 🙁 LOL

      How many calories to do intake per day? Do you mind me asking what your BF % was when you got it measured?

      It’s a small world, I love Donegal, it’s beautiful 🙂

  7. Hi Marianne,

    First of all, I’ve been following your blog for a while now but haven’t had a chance to leave any comments until now. Saw this post and it reminded me of the crap thats on early in the mornings…. some infomercial called ab king pro. Just ridiculous, they’d sell anything. hehe this is another example…. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E9_amg-Aos4 How they sleep at night after doing that advert, I don’t know. How did they even pull it off with a straight face! But the majority of the fitness industry really does prey on people’s insecurities, its really disgusting, that coupled with today’s quick fix mindset, people fall for it! Even take The Biggest Loser, they lose a crazy amount of weight every week and it really just furthers people expectations of instant gratification. It just seems crazy that they lose that much in such a short time. The whole mindset of that show annoys me! In my opinion it doesn’t promote healthy living at all.

    On a side note though thank you so much, you’ve gotten me back into kettlebells again!! Your workouts are so varied and really interesting. I’ve tried one of your workouts, had to modify it so I could finish it but it was awesome. You are one seriously strong girl and you’re really inspiring!

    It really is all about diet, I’ve been trying to lose weight for the last two years but I really haven’t made any progress in the last year which is actually crazy when I think about it! First year I lost about 2stone by changing my diet and walking. Currently…. I running 20-30miles a week (training for the Dublin marathon), spin class x1, weights x3 (now changing to KB workouts – 2 strength focused, 1 HIT) and if i have time I try to do a kick boxing class. I also cycle to work which amounts to 35miles per week. I know I’ve definitely gained muscle but I’m still 15lbs or so away from my goal. I can’t get my eating right consistently. I love exercising and I really love running but damn it really makes you hungry!! Tricia I’m the same, I do well during the week but then the weekend comes and I just crave sugar/carbs. I dont even drink alcohol much anymore which I thought was one of my biggest problems but it seems I’ve replaced that with sugar! I’m like a cat chasing its tail. I over analyse (when I’m counting calories and all that) and then I’m polar opposite and don’t think at all when I eat! Phil I really admire your commitment and dedication, you must feel so proud of yourself!!

    lol major rant! Anyway Marianne, I’m really loving your blog! Thank you!

    1. Sarajane, that link is hilarious LOL, so ridiculous, I hope noone feel for that one!!

      Sometimes all you need to do is reduce your calories by another couple of hundred. Maybe even try cycling your carbs every 3rd day, so you always know you’ll have a carb day coming soon. It is tough, especially when you are training so much and appetite is always increasing. Have you had your body stats measured? I hate weighing myself, because I am actually getting heavier. In the last year I’ve put on about 8lbs. But my bodyfat has got lower. But I hate getting on the scale, even if I do know I look far better now. It’s a negative feeling that is engrained.

      Where are you from? You must be local “ish” if you’re training for the Dublin marathon? Maybe try having a bodyfat goal instead of a weight goal. 🙂

  8. Hey Marianne,

    We all knew it was him anyway, who elses pic would you use? The big show off ha ha!!!!

    Really like that video, nice to hear someone talking sense!

    WARNING!!!! I think I am about to ramble!!!!

    So many people seem to be obsessed with the fabled 6-pack, like it is some kind of holy grail of fitness. I don’t have one and to be honest I am not really bothered whether I ever achieve that or not. The reason I like to exercise is just because I want to stay fit and healthy and have a good quality of life well into my latter years, when my body won’t be able to tolerate the abuse alot of people put theirs through when they are young. Of course I know if I keep fit and eat well I am going to look ‘better’, which is a nice bi-product. But who decided what looks good and what doesn’t anyway? So many people seem to be chasing the ‘Mens Health cover’ look which is really out of reach for alot of people. We all have different genetics, different metabolisms and body shapes. 2 people following the same exercise routines and diets will get 2 different sets of results. I have a mate that hardly lifts a finger, yet he looks toned and fit. Whereas another mate slogs his guts out in a gym for hours on end everyday and as far as I can see eats far healthier than the first guy, yet is no where near as toned looking. I know people who are taking untested diets pills bought from the internet and will try any fad that has a good advert if they think it will help them look ‘better’. But they may well be doing it at the possible expense of their health!

    To me they just have it all the wrong way round. There aren’t really any short cuts to being fit. Although there are different forms of exercise and different exercise strategies that can fit into any kind of lifestyle, with different amounts of time available and different budgets.

    It should just all be about what you enjoy and keeps you healthy. You’ll feel and look better as a result. Then there won’t be any need for short cuts.

    I am not saying that wanting to fit into that dress or to get ready for the beach isn’t a good way to help with motivation. Just that body image shouldn’t be the all consuming reason to do it. When that happens you will never be pleased with how you look.

    Well i think I had better leave it there. I could go on for hours ha ha!!!

    Hey Phil sounds you like you know what you are doing though, congratulations on your progress!!!

    Oh and Marianne I hope you feel better soon to!


    1. Thanks Steve, I’m much better now. I agree with your comment. IF i ever get a six pack, I think I’d just become obsessed with keeping it LOL, then I’d have no life and no enjoyment of food, because I’d have to control it all so much to keep my bodyfat low. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes I think I’d just like to get there once, but I know if it happened, it probably wouldn’t be good enough. And then what? The cycle continues, it never ends so it’s best to have other reasons for getting fit than just appearance.

      Thanks again for your input 🙂

  9. I have to totally agree with you on this viewpoint! It is frustrating to see any product that promotes “instant” results for anything! Even Bowflex drives me crazy only because of their so-called “real people” who give the testimonials.

    I have been working out consistently myself for 1 1/2 years. I’ve lost 30 pounds and begun toning up, but still have a lovely round of padding about my abdominal region. I know it’s my own fault. I do eat clean, but splurge like crazy on the weekends! I’ve also spent the last year and a half doing workouts that run 1 hour to 1 1/2 hours. I’m putting together a rotation using some of your programs and steady state runs (I have an upcoming 10K I’ll be training for in another week or two) for the next 10-12 weeks. If you have any suggestions, please feel free to e-mail me! I’ld love to see my body fat drop a bit more, so I’m looking to also tidy up the nutrition.

    Thanks for this post! I know I kind of got off topic!

    Get well soon!

  10. Marianne

    I keep meaning to ask you this…. Are those abs someone that you know?

    Great success story Phil!!


    1. Is that the thumbnail picture in this post lol – He’ll hate me for saying this, as he wanted his face hidden (don’t ask me why) but that’s Andrew 🙂 In Ireland people are seen as being show offs for things like this, hense his reserve. I put the pic up without him knowing LOL (evil laugh)

      M 😀

  11. Marianne:

    I appreciate the interest and just glad to share what my friends and I have been doing this year. We are still pretty motivated and I look forward to continuing to get to under 20% body fat soon and more after that. I think 15-18% would be good for me. Then I will be consumed by fitness after that and I’m not sure people will put up with me then.

    Getting in shape and losing the excess baggage is at the end of the day a personal choice and nobody can make you do it. You can’t order it on T.V. or online. You can’t force your friends and family to do it with you either. It is just you, food choices, the discipline and the work.

    That is why I find your site, Melissa’s and BodyRock.TV so interesting. You guys just keep hammering out the reps like it looks easy (I know it’s not) and that is inspiring to me. The information and quality of the workouts are very similar to what I’ve been introduced to at my gym and your constant updates make it interesting to come back.

    Keep it up, you are doing great. Sorry about your weather. We are inside most days now for a different reason in Arizona since it is 106 every day, but sunny. It gets down to about 79-80 in the a.m. so a jog is possible before 6 am, that’s it.


  12. Marianne:

    I hope you feel better soon. I have a lot to say on this topic, but I’ll try and be brief (not). When I started kettlebell training in January this year I was 209 lbs (95kg) and could hardly do a pushup. This morning I’m 181 and can do 113 snatches in 5 minutes with the 16 kg. I attribute my progress more to a change in diet than anything else. I’m still on the way down in weight and I have no desire to over-eat or eat bad food. Anyone can do this, so, how did I do it?

    The first 90 days of learning to use kettlebells were a painful mess where I hurt my shoulder doing presses and hit a plateau in general. I was using the excercise as an excuse to continue eating and drinking the way I want even though I was warned to change my habits right away.

    Then, my friends and I all had a six week $500 bet to see who could lose the most fat percentage and the only way we were going to get there was to eat in a radically different way. No alcohol, no red meat, no processed food, no dairy, no pasta, no white rice, no egg yolks, no fattening sauces. We were prescribed all kinds of veggies, fruits, nuts, egg whites, chicken, lettuce, small meals if possible, 5-6 times a day.

    The first week or two was hell. Then as you detox it just became natural and I have to say I don’t crave junk food even though ravaging a bag of potato chips every now and then is bliss. I’m pretty well turned off by fast food of any kind. I go out of my way to eat something good if the choice has to be quick. I shy away from the frozen food aisle and spend most of my time in the produce section. I grow tomatoes and basil now since those topsy turvy things came out.

    For cardio, I added jogging 2-3 miles two times a week or laps in the pool. Anything that gets your heart rate up in a sustained way until you sweat works.

    Then the eureka moments came fast. In six weeks I lost 5% body fat. I lost the challenge by 0.2%, but I felt like I won anyway. We all lost about 4-5.2% in six short weeks just changing our eating and staying consistent with the workouts. Our strength and endurance now is getting rediculous for 40+ year olds. No joint pain, no back pain, I can sleep though the night, we can handle stress a lot better even though we run businesses in very stressful conditions.

    As for full body work, you are spot on. Engaging the whole body is better than any piece of gym equipment or home equipment. I keep my 16 kg kettlebell by my couch and actually use it for squats, swings, thrusters, presses, snatches and cleans during those awful commercials. TGU’s, burpees, lunges. All great full body movements that give you more core resistance than an Ab Circle or Ab Lounge.

    1. Wow Phil,

      What an amazing success story!! You are such an inspiration, thank you for sharing 🙂 Losing 5% body fat in 6 weeks shows superior dedication. Maybe initially motivated by $500 but I’m sure once you started feeling the benefits, you have other reasons 😉

      Day to day when I am talking to people, the conversation inevitably turns to weight loss, diet and fitness (ususally centred around what I do). During these conversations I can’t advocate enough the holistic benefits of Kettlebell training! They build strength, endurance, flexibility, stability and can help burn an amazing amount of fat in one of the best cardio workouts you can ever have! Still trying to persuade my mum to give them a go – think she’s finally turning LOL 😉

      Thank you again for sharing your story, I hope that anyone considering a change in lifestyle will be motivated to start today, when they read your experience!

      On a sidenote LOL, I need to mention that “Ab Lounge” – anyone who is STILL not convinced that this equipment is a waste of time … just look at what they named the thing! Anything with “lounge” in the name, is NOT going to help fat loss. This is clearly to appeal to people hoping for a quick fix, involving no effort from them :/

      If fat loss and getting a six pack were so easy, why don’t we see it more!


      1. Hi Marianne,
        firstly I really like your new logo! Secondly I see I got a mention in your reply to Phil…what a story though…he really has done well.
        But you are “turning” me and I really will have to try these kettle bells.
        So if there are any more 50-somethings out there who want to do the same – come and join me!!

        Marianne’s Mum 🙂
        Ps – I haven’t called myself that since you were in Nursery school!! LOL

        1. LOL “Mother Dear” 😉 Yes you will have to try these kettlebells. There are teens, 20’s, 30’s, 40’s and even the odd 50 something who have all come to the classes over the past 8 months. People of all fitness levels as well. Although the classes are not easy, Andrew will offer alternative or less advanced exercises for newbies until their technique catches up with the rest. In terms of fitness and weight loss, no other classes I’ve ever attended, are a patch on Andrew’s Kettlebell Classes – but then maybe I’m bias 😉 😉 😉

          Thanks for your comment Mother, I will see you soon 😀

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