The first component of stomach fat is the visceral layer around and between your organs. Visceral fat is used as protection. When you are overweight it will also act as a storage area. Visceral fat is tight, so even though your stomach will bulge it will feel tight.
The second type is subcutaneous fat. This is the layer directly under the skin. This is the fat that feels and looks ‘flabby’. Woman store more subcutaneous fat than men (mainly for use during child rearing). Men with excess abdominal fat generally have hard or tight tummies while woman have loose and flabby tummies. This is due women storing fat in the subcutaneous layer as opposed to visceral layer.
The third cause of flabby tummy is weak core muscles and this is where Pilates can be a huge benefit. Not only for strengthening and tightening the core muscles but also for burning fat and increasing blood oxygenation which burns more calories and increases cell renewal.
Since it is not possible to directly lose fat from just your stomach, you have to lose fat from all over your body. To do that you have to increase your cardiovascular work, eat less, breath properly and of course do pilates!
The one place we can ‘spot’ train is a weak core and the ideal form of exercise to do that is Pilates. In fact the whole basis of Pilates is about core strength in the pelvic floor, abdomen and back. For visceral and subcutaneous fat, they have to be burned off with the rest of the fat in the body. Pilates makes your muscles stronger and more efficient at burning fat, it also trains the muscles that help you breath (the intercostals ) and makes your lung capacity bigger and more flexible. The easier and faster exchange of oxygen into carbon the more calories you burn and this increased exchange also increases cell function by pumping more oxygen into the blood. However Pilates on its own will not burn large amounts of calories. Which is why we recommend another form of cardio exercise, walking, swimming and cycling are perfect.
There are a few other things to consider in relation to the fat on our stomachs. We all have different genetic make up and some people store fat more on the stomach. Some store on the hips and thighs etc. Also the place that you last stored fat will be the first place that it comes off when you lose fat. Woman tend to store fat on the stomach and thighs first so this will potentially be the last place that will shed excess weight.
There is another factor that will effect stomach fat – stress. When we have a lot of stress in our lives (who doesn’t have a lot of stress in their lives these days?) we release more of the hormone called cortisol which triggers fat storage in the abdomen. Pilates helps to address the stress in our lives because it takes you out of your day completely for one. two or three hours a week. You focus on your breathing, your body and your mind and that is deeply relaxing and stress reducing.
Yes! By doing Pilates to strengthen core muscles, increasing the fat burning efficiency of the body, and by reducing stress in your life. In fact Pilates combined with another form of cardiovascular workout can provide huge weight loss benefits. But a one off session once a week for three or four weeks will only give you a basic understanding of Pilates principles. You will need a more intensive practice of 3 or 4 times per week, plus some form of fat burning cardio exercise, and address the stress in your life, eat a healthy balanced diet to get really great results.
To get the most and best results, it is always advised to train with an expert and we invite you to join us at The Hundred Wellness Center in Dubai with our watchful Pilates experts to reap the best in your workout. We offer private and small group classes to ensure best results, from Mat Pilates to Reformer, Cadillac, Pole, Chair….don’t let those names scare you off!