ATD: Will sit-ups help me form six-pack abs?

I have a problem with my tummy and sides. I weigh 216 pounds at 5’71/2″. I have started to do push ups and sit ups and run for 15 minutes day 3 times a week in the morning. Will this help me lose weight or help form six-pack abs? I am also trying to eat less. Is consuming fruit when I feel hungry a good strategy? –Lawrence

Dear Larence,

For weight loss the formula is to burn more calories than you eat. So if you are eating less, you should be losing weight. If you are exercising more, that will help you lose weight as well.
Doing sit-ups using correct form will help to firm the muscles in your abdomen–but exercise cannot target fat loss. In other words, you may have some very developed abdominal muscles, but if your body decides to keep fat deposited on your belly, no one will ever see the six-pack! Fat will be removed from various areas around the body when a person loses weight, but no one can choose where it will come off; everyone’s body is just different.

A 15-minute run may help you burn off about 150 calories. Just to give you an idea of what this means pound-wise, there are 3500 calories in a pound of fat. You would have to run for about 6 hours to lose just one pound. I certainly do not want to discourage you–but just help you become aware of what is likely to happen. Getting in the habit of running for 15 minutes on 3 days a week should result in another pound of weight loss every other month. Exercise is very effective over time and especially helps to maintain the loss once you do lose weight. Eventually you may find it easier to run for 20 or 30 minutes, and then the weight will come off even more quickly.

And as for snacking on fruits, that’s a much better idea than having a cookie or a candy bar. Just realize it is possible to overdo your fruit intake since fruits do have calories. Limit yourself to 4 or 5 pieces of fruit per day and if you’re still hungry, consider a handful of nuts as a snack, a glass of water, or some crispy vegetables to munch on.

Good luck, and keep us posted on how you’re doing over the next few weeks!

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