Okay, before the two friends that submitted questions via Facebook have heart failure, I’m changing their names to… hmmm… “Daphne” and “Velma” to protect the guilty. Both Daphne and Velma (friends from a looonnngg time ago) submitted great questions that sort of go hand-in-hand with each other because they deal with spot reduction of bulging or droopy body parts. Here are their questions and my responses to both.
Question… My daughter is 17, 5’6″ 123 lbs, plays volleyball, lifts weights. In volleyball she dives and bruises her hip bones because she has a flat stomach. So with spring break and summer coming around the corner, how do you get rid of those love handles? Thanks!
Great question [Daphne]! Unfortunately, we can’t “spot lose”, regardless of what the infomercials for exercise products say. We take fat off in the order we put it on. For men, we add fat to the belly first and it’s the last to go. For women, it’s the butt, hips and thighs. For your daughter, she is storing what little fat she has, right there in the “love handles”. So, she needs to simply lose a few lbs. and they should reduce in size. But, also, as her body changes and hips widen in preparation for childbirth (hopefully a few years away), she’ll see that change in her hips and in fat distribution. So, losing love handles (stored fat) and increasing the metabolism so you can lose weight more effectively are all tied into a consistent cardiovascular / resistance training program.
She should do 20-45 minutes of activities like walking, running, biking, or swimming daily 4-5 times per week, but also mix in 2-3 times a week of basic calisthenics like push ups, bench dips, squats and lunges. She also needs to watch her nutrition and cut out bad carbs and fat. No pizza, greasy burgers, mac & cheese, etc… It takes a few weeks before she’ll start to see the physical benefits of her diet and exercise program.
I have a question regarding weight lifting and its ability to, uh, well, help a gal defy gravity. After giving birth, gaining and losing weight, aging…can exercises for the chest really help “keep the girls facing North”…or will we all be faced with whether or not we want to enter into the world of cosmetic surgery for a “lift and a tuck?”
[Velma], there is no magic formula or exercise that will dramatically firm up breasts, regardless of what some late-night infomercials and back-of-magazine ads may say to the contrary. While you can perform some exercises to firm up the muscles in your chest, short of surgery, there’s no miracle treatment that will make a huge difference. Still, any steps you take to increase strength and muscular endurance are positive.
Breasts are made up of fat and connective tissue, not muscle, which is why you can’t really firm up your breasts through exercise. But, you can help the appearance by improving the muscles underneath and improving posture.
Here are some simple exercises you can perform that will strengthen the muscles in your chest. If you’re realistic about what they can do, you won’t be disappointed when you don’t wake up one day with a Pamela Anderson type chest. What these exercises will do is help develop better posture and contribute to a fitness routine.
- Push-ups: Sometimes the exercises we learned in middle school gym class are still the most effective. Whether you do standard push-ups, where your toes and hands touch the floor, or modified ones, where you’re supported by your hands and bent knees with your back in a straight position, this is a great exercise that doesn’t require any equipment, just proper positioning.
- Dumbbell fly: You’ll need two light dumbbells (five-to-eight pounds) and a bench. Lie back on the bench with your arms out to your sides, palms up and elbows slightly bent. Bring the dumbbells together over your head, keeping your elbows slightly bent. Perform three sets of eight to twelve reps.
- Incline press: With a bench inclined no more than 30 degrees, plant your feet on the floor while lying on the bench on your back. Hold a barbell with sufficient weights wider than shoulder width, lifting it off a rack and lowering it to your upper chest. Touch your chest lightly with the barbell, hold it for a count of two, then lift the bar. Don’t lock your elbows while performing this movement. Again, perform three sets of eight to twelve reps.
Hope that helps!
If you have an exercise and fitness related question, feel free to either email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or… send me a personal message on Facebook. I may use it in a future blog post!
To your health!