Advice on How to Tackle Your Midsection / by Stephen Cooper

Some of my kettlebell collection…

Some of my kettlebell collection…

A client comments and asks…

“Good workout today.  I appreciate these switches between cardio + muscles.

I've been training with you for about 1.5 months now.  And I think I'm making progress:  I feel like I'm getting stronger, can even feel some muscle development.  I feel that I get less sore now as compared to when I started out.  I'm trying to mostly eat home cooked meals (with the occasional falling off the wagon) and keep an eye out on portion size.  I mostly replaced white rice, bread, and pasta with other things (farro, bulgur, quinoa) and try to eat a lot of veggies and simply cooked chicken and fish.  But I am wondering if you could give me some advice on how to tackle my midsection, which I hear is, in general, a difficult part to trim.  Any specific guidance that I should follow to make maximum progress there?  I plan to do 2 workouts with you per week, although the next 2 weeks have room for 3 workouts as I won't be traveling.  Are there any workouts you recommend I add?  Or perhaps a spinning class for some extra cardio?  Any specific guidance on eating?”

“Good questions.

Reducing the midsection brings up many paths.  Two things to consider are, how fast do you want to reduce that area and how much time are you committed to it?  (Sleep and recovery too!)

To get the weight off the fastest, your calories and macros would need to be set, and your daily intake would have to be adhered to very closely.  Some people like to use an app such as My Fitness Pal, and track each thing they eat and drink.   Yes, the weight will most likely come off quickly, but is the tracking worth it to you?  Only you can decide.

A simple and usually effective path is that of just eating protein and vegetables.  Notice, this means no bread, no sweets, no ice cream, no sugar, it literally means proteins and vegetables, period.

When you say that your diet has "mostly" or you occasionally "fall off the wagon" this will alter your progress.  But once again, you'll have to make the you want to enjoy "treats" now and then, or do you want to the midsection area tightened up faster?  There is no right or wrong, it depends on you.  If the progress is slower than you'd like, know that you'll have to sacrifice more often.

As far as exercise, I stick to the quickest path I know.  Tabata based cardio training,

I feel that this is the best use of one's time.  A short, intense, all-out workout that can be done at home, gets the job done.  Longer duration classes may be "fun", but I prefer quick and effective.

(ask me in class for examples if you like)

My second choice is a program called "Simple and Sinister".  I know, intimidating title (marketing), but like the Tabata protocol, this is about getting the most calorie bang for your buck...and once again this can be done at home.  No traveling, no driving...just knocking out the workout.

Here's a link,

This workout includes "get-ups" which will need some instruction, but the kettlebell swings can be done alone.  The workout usually consists of either 5 or 10 sets of 10 swings - done with full concentration and with a challenging weight.

I hope this helps.  We can talk more about it when I see you in class.