About a month ago, I posted about how my friend Priscilla wanted to lose weight before she went away to Thailand. Let me apologize to her first, for using the name Priscilla as her pseudonym, and explain that she is NOT prissy by any means. However, in spite of her probably wanting to kill me after I mention her again in a posting, I really do have to mention her warped sense of health and fitness, which is certainly probably shared by at least a few other people.
Let me share an excerpt from an IM conversation we had a few weeks ago. (OMG, she is going to KILL ME; good thing she’s still in Thailand).
Priscilla55: so my friend at work told me
Priscilla55: i should do sit ups with a bar
Priscilla55: then ill have abs of steel
FitFiend: so why did your friend tell you that?
Priscilla55: i asked him if i lost weight
Priscilla55: and how i can lose weight in my abdomen
FitFiend: and what did he say?
Priscilla55: he said to use a bar
Priscilla55: and do sit ups
Priscilla55: and the oblique table
FitFiend: holding a bar above your head while you do sit ups will make you lose weight in your abdomen?
Priscilla55: sets and do them fast
Priscilla55: i think that is what i understood
FitFiend: uhm, it doesn’t sound like you did understand
FitFiend: how are his abs?
Priscilla55: he doesn’t eat any junk
Priscilla55: like tuna
Priscilla55: wheat bread if that
FitFiend: that how you have to be
Priscilla55: he’s one of those neckless guys
Priscilla55: he wants to be big
Priscilla55: no i want a neck
Priscilla55: and i don’t want to be big
Priscilla55: i don’t care for muscle
Priscilla55: i just don’t want to jiggle
FitFiend: part of toning down is getting some muscle
FitFiend: you should do sculpt classes
Priscilla55: my friend said
Priscilla55: i have to give up chips too
Priscilla55: not just ice cream
FitFiend: you didn’t say chips before!
Priscilla55: i cant give up soo many things ok
FitFiend: you have to give up your crap snacks
Priscilla55: all at once
FitFiend: you can do it for like 2 weeks.
Now, in Priscilla’s defense, she is by no means very jiggly, and probably weighs in at the low end of what might be considered optimal for a chick at 5’4, but, she feels the need to reconstitute her body.
Unfortunately, this is something that can only be done by exercise and healthy eating habits, not one or the other. What Priscilla was describing, by talking about getting a solid stomach by doing ab exercises, and well, nothing else, is spot training. I would think that most people realize that spot training does not work, but a small number of “newbies” probably think that it will lead to results; it won’t.
In a vacuum, all the crunches in the world will not melt away the fat around your tummy. If anything, doing a lot of ab training will serve to build the muscle of your abs, and which might even make your stomach look bigger if you aren’t doing anything to lower your body fat (like cardio and a caloric deficit).
Now, I say that Priscilla has a warped outlook on health and fitness because she believes in spot training and also, doesn’t really believe she needs to eat properly. She actually went into greater detail about what exactly she eats everyday, which is simply pretty bad; snacking (on crap) all day. This is certainly not something that will help her get that tone body she wants.
Her takeaway from the conversation with her friend was that she could eat all the crap she wanted, do those ab exercises, and get a tone stomach. Only if she wanted to get big and muscle-y does she need to eat properly. Still, she has only recently made the commitment to leading a healthier lifestyle, and I’m sure will be able to incorporate a healthier, more sensible outlook on her own fitness. As I’ve said before, start small because trying to make an overnight transformation will probably lead to a quicker failure.