If you have a muffin top, then I bet you want to get rid of it. Or, you might be asking what on earth is a muffin top? I know I was bewildered the first time I heard the phrase. My friend explained that it is the fat on your back and sides that bulges over your waistband in the same way the top of a muffin overhangs the base.
On hearing of the muffin top phenomenon, my first reaction was, “I have an instant muffin top remedy.” My friend listened closely, expecting me to share some profound fitness secret that could fix a muffin top in moments, but my answer disappointed her greatly. Apparently this wasn’t the response she had hoped for.
“A muffin top can be fixed instantly by wearing well-fitting clothes.”
Unfortunately, my solution didn’t take into account the proliferation of low-waist pants and tops that don’t quite sit low enough. Although my answer was funny, my friend really wanted to know which exercise would magically erase her muffin top from existence. That way she’d be free to wear what she pleased. After all, she explained, when she stood in front of a mirror at the start of the day, she had no muffin top. It was only over the course of the day that her hated muffin top quietly appeared, because her posture slowly slumped and she stopped holding her breath.
Now, thanks to plenty of cardio exercise I don’t have a muffin top, so perhaps I’m not as sympathetic as my friend had hoped. To my mind she looks lovely, but I know that feeling like she has a spare tire brings her down. So, here is my muffin top fighting action plan.
The question “How do I get rid of my muffin top?” is in fact code for: Help me get rid of the fat from my mid-section. This spare tire look is common in men and women and is more pronounced in some body shapes than others. Luckily, I have some fat-fighting tactics to share with you (although, sadly, this doesn’t involve buying new clothes). But first we have to clear up the daddy of all fitness myths:
You cannot choose which areas of your body to shed fat first.
Fat spot reduction is impossible, because you can’t tell your body where to burn fat. Numerous tummy crunches simply do not encourage your body to burn fat from your tummy. However, crunches do help tone and build your abdominal muscles. This means that when your body eventually gets around to burning your tummy fat, you’ll reveal a perfectly toned mid-section as a result of all your abdominal work.
I can hear the gasps of horror as I write, because busting the spot fat reduction myth was quite possibly the saddest fact that I learned in school. I really believed that the ‘rolling ab cruncher’ contraption sold on TV burned away spare tummy fat! If you’re like me and thought you could choose where your body burns fat, I’m sorry to confirm that your body burns fat and stores fat without listening to our special requests.
In order to get rid of your muffin top for good, you have to attack it with a full-body fat-burning plan.
Eating well and focusing on nutrition is the most important step in eliminating a muffin top. I believe that a toned mid-section is mainly made in the kitchen. So, watch what you eat and pay attention to your calorie intake vs. your calorie use and you should find that you soon look the right shape all over.
There are many exercise choices for burning fat, and you need to choose a cardio routine that will help you shed weight and tone up all over. Follow my 10 minute cardio body blast, or pick something simple and low-cost to start, like walking, jogging or cycling. Try to go at a consistent pace that has you working at 60-80% of your maximum heart rate, and aim to do 30 minutes a day of fat-burning cardio. Soon you’ll be toned all over and you’ll have whittled your waist beautifully.
While my first two steps will help you to decrease overall body fat, you can also start work on your waist so that, as any excess fat melts away, you reveal a toned tum. Try adding side bends, jackknives and standing twists to your routine to ensure your underlying oblique and abdominal muscles are strong, toned and ready to debut once the fat is gone.
I would love to tell you about a magic exercise that will get rid of a lurking muffin top, but I must be honest and explain the relationship between fat and exercise to bust apart fitness myths. Through balance and consistency, I believe you can get rid of your muffin top forever. But you need to eat right, slim down and start exercising properly. I know it’s not a magic fix but I promise that, given time, my three-step solution will work.
Once you’ve given my solution a chance, you’ll be toned all over with a beautifully whittled waist. Now, let’s leave the term ‘muffin top’ where it belongs—in the bakery section of the grocery store.
Samantha Clayton is responsible for all activities relating to exercise and fitness education for Independent Herbalife Members and employees. Through in-person training sessions, educational tools and materials, and her blog (www.discovergoodfitness.com), she ensures that the important role of exercise as part of a healthy, active life is understood by all. She also helps create, organize and promote employee fitness programs and activities as an integral part of the company’s corporate wellness program.
A native of Liverpool, England, Samantha initially worked as a consultant for Herbalife for two years and led the Herbalife24-Fit program, the company’s first comprehensive fitness training program and DVD series.
Before joining the corporate ranks, Samantha was a professional athlete. She represented Great Britain in the 2000 Sydney Olympics in both the 200m and the 4x100m relay events. Prior to the Olympics, she won two medals in the Olympic AAA trials – a silver medal for the 200m and a bronze for the 100m – as well as a silver medal in the 4x100m relay during the European Junior Championships in 1997. Her personal records include 11.40 seconds in the 100m and 23.02 seconds in the 200m.
Samantha is a personal trainer and group exercise coach through the American Fitness and Aerobics Association (AFAA) and International Sport Science Association (ISSA).