Fit as an Expert

KatyPerryCloud9Are you trying to get in shape for the new year? Maybe you won’t be pulling a Katy Perry draped in cotton cloud or a shirtless Channing Tatum, but if you’re not as fit as you’d like to be, The Bull & Bear has tips to help you out! I spoke to Kim Tanyag, a trainer at the MAA Gym in downtown Montreal, and she’s given us the low-down on how you can get rid of belly fat or get that Channing Tatum six pack, and how to stay in better shape in general.

Nutrition is Number 1
Ever since the beginning of winter break, my belly has been bearing the weight, or at least that’s my excuse. The first thing I wanted to know was how I could get rid of it! According to Kim, “Number one is always nutrition. As cliché as “abs are made in the kitchen” sounds, it’s the truth.”

There are various ways to target the abs or core in the gym. Compound movements such as squats and deadlifts, are both excellent ways to target the midsection. Abdominal work, such as the standard “crunch” or leg lowering exercises will work the abdominal wall, but trainees beware. Only a combination of clean eating and a solid training routine will reveal that 6-pack of your dreams.

While that sounds great in theory, it seems like a lot of work, so I wondered if there was some magical machine I could use to have a flat belly. As for Kim’s response, “Most gyms will have at least one or two machines simply labeled: “Ab machine” or “crunch machine.”

I’m not entirely sure if that was a sarcastic comment or not, but I’ll take it!

Weight-lifting for the Win 

I’m not going to lie, my diet could be a little better, and if you’re like me, junk food is an important, if not vital, food group. The only problem is all that junk food translates into fat packed onto my thighs. Kim calmed me down by telling me that the way to get rid of that unwanted fat is by doing squats, deadlifts, and lunges. The more lean muscle mass you create, the more fat you burn.

Bring out the Guns
“Would you like tickets to the gun show?” Whether you’ve tried this line before or if you’ve always wanted to, having sculpted muscles looks good. So how do you get those “guns?” Kim says, “It’s all about compound movements such as pull ups and bench press.” She does warn not to get so worked up with building the upper body that you forget muscles in other places. Don’t forget to work your legs too!

Six pack come back
I refer to my belly fat as my “one pack”, but how can you go from a “one pack” to a two or even six? Sadly, there’s no easy formula because it comes back to nutrition! You won’t be able to see those abs, unless you clean up that diet. Try to eat whole foods, get adequate amounts of protein in your diet, and DON’T FORGET TO EAT YOUR VEGGIES! So we now know that it’s all down to what you eat, but are there things that you can do at the gym to help get you that two pack? Kim reassures that yes, you could try exercises that challenge the core to maximize results. Compound lifts, balancing exercises, mixed in with some high intensity interval training will get you there, but you need to stick with it. “Consistency is key,” she emphasizes. On a sad note, though machines will isolate the abs they will not burn off the fat. No pain no gain right?

Get fit not go broke
A lot of us might not have the time or the spare change, and by spare change we mean lots and lots of change, to afford to go to the gym regularly, so I wanted to know what we could do at home to help us achieve the goals mentioned above. According to Kim, “Body weight exercises are a very common way to workout, both in the gym, outdoors or at home. Exercises include, squats, lunges, push ups and any abdominal/core work, such as hip raises and crunches.”

I took it a step further and asked about how you could be more innovative with using ordinary household equipment to complete your workout. Kim didn’t disappoint and came up with some really great ideas that ranged from really simple things like “doing push ups against the wall or doing dips off your dining room chair” to exceptionally inspired ideas like using a broom stick and two four-litre water bottles to make yourself a makeshift barbell.

Even if you’re not short on money, you may be short on time, but Kim’s got that covered too. Even if you only have 15 minutes a day to spare, you can still maintain that impressive physique with HIIT: High Intensity Interval Training. In plain English HIIT is, a set of exercises or cardio that raises and lowers your heart rate. In theory, this method could burn more calories than an average workout! The great thing Kim says is that there are several forms of HIIT, which can go from 4-30 minutes per session, so it’s a very customizable program. The downside of HIIT? You might feel like you want to puke, so go easy on yourself and remember that consistency is key.

Club Sportif MAA: 2070 Peel St, Montreal, QC H3A 1W6

This article has been amended to remove potentially offensive material.