I want to get into shape and really tighten up my abs. My problem is I tend to lose weight when I workout and I don’t want to lose any more weight since I’m already pretty thin. I simply want to tighten some loose areas such as my abs, butt and arms. I love my body and my current weight is perfect since I’m tall and it looks good on me. How do I achieve tighter abs without losing weight?
There is a common misunderstanding that exercise makes a person lose weight. This misconception is understandable since the first thing people are told they need to do in order to lose weight is exercise. But the truth is that a caloric deficit is what makes a person lose weight. Exercise only makes it easier to create this deficit by increasing the body’s energy expenditure. If this increased expenditure is met with an equal increase in calories, you will basically break even. In other words, you can exercise all you want but if you are eating the same amount of calories you are burning every day, that needle on the scale isn’t going to budge. That is great news because in your case that is exactly what you want.
So the first step for you is to be aware that as you begin an exercise program, you will need to increase your daily caloric intake in proportion to the amount of exercise you are doing. If you are looking to maintain your current weight then you will need to maintain a balance between calories burned and calories consumed. You can easily track your diet and find out how your daily calories add up by using online fitness trackers to help you.
The next step is to make sure that your workouts are tailored towards strength training. Not only do you need your weight training to be focused on strength and toning but your cardio workouts as well. People tend to view cardio exercise as long repetitive hours spent on a stationary bike or treadmill but not all cardio workouts are created equally. In fact, it is not necessary to separate your cardio from your resistance training. One of the most effective ways of combining strength movements with cardio exercise is through various combinations of circuit training.
Circuit training is combining a certain number of exercises performed consecutively with minimal rest in between exercises. Many of today’s more popular workout systems use this method. P90x, Crossfit, and the Insanity workouts all use this principle to great effect. By performing various resistance exercises consecutively over an extended period of time these sets or “circuits” become both strength training as well as cardio training. An example may look like this:
- Jump Rope (5 minutes)
- Push-ups (30 seconds)
- Crunches (30 seconds)
- Plank (30 seconds)
- Jumping jacks (30 seconds)
- Dumbbell curls (30 seconds)
- Jump squats (30 seconds)
The completion of this circuit would constitute 1 set with a total of 3-5 sets for your workout. The circuit may contain as many exercises as you would like but the point is that resistance exercises performed in succession can be a great form of cardio exercise as well.
Assuming that you are eating ample calories to replenish the energy burned and focusing your training towards building strength, you should find yourself in better shape without losing any weight.