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When it comes to Nutrition and Fitness in Africa there are so many myths that have been peddled. I can bet top dollar that we all know someone who has peddled this myth I am about to debunk. It is no other than; you can lose stomach fat than by doing sit-ups and crunches.

I personally detest this myth because it has left so many fitness hopefuls upset and frustrated with the concept of exercise because they cannot seem to lose that extra jiggle.

In this post, I will debunk that myth.



If you want to lose stomach fat you have to do sit-ups and crunches.


The muscles in your stomach; rectus abdominis, Commonly known as your abs will be strengthened if you train them like any other muscle.

But to have obvious abs, you must burn the fat sitting on top of that muscle and it will not happen by just doing sit-ups, crunches or ab exercises alone.

Now you might want to argue that this is not true because your neighbour who is skinny started working out 3 months ago and they can already see abs.

All they do is sit-ups.

My counterargument would be that unless you have a similar body type with a lower body fat percentage just like them? There is no way you will see your abs in three months if you only do sit-ups and crunches like your neighbour. Consider this analogy; Child A has 10 pieces of candy and child B has 3 pieces of candy.

If you told both children that they could only watch television after finishing their candy, who do you think will turn on the television first? You guessed right.

It takes a shorter time to finish 3 candies than it does to finish 10. Your higher body fat is child A, your lower body fat neighbour is child B and the television is visible abs.

I am really good at bad analogies. I hope that drove my point home. Think I am making this up? Let’s look at the literature.


In 2011, Sachin S Vispute, John D Smith, James D LeCheminant and Kimberly S Hurley published a randomized control trial on The Effect of Abdominal Exercise On Abdominal Fat.

The purpose of this study was to ascertain if abdominal exercises alone had any effects on abdominal fat. This study involved 24(14 men, 10 women) healthy and sedentary participants. The participants were divided into a control group (CG) and an abdominal exercise group (AG) before the tests began. Body composition, anthropometrics (weight, height, body circumferences) and abdominal muscular endurance were all tested before and after training.

The AG then performed abdominal exercises for 5 days/week for 6 weeks at 2 sets of 10 repetitions for each of the 7 abdominal exercises they were asked to do. The CG received no intervention at all and all participants maintained an iso-caloric (same caloric value for each day) diet for 6 weeks.

At the end of the 6 weeks, there were no significant effects of abdominal exercises on body weight, body fat percentage, abdominal circumference, android fat percentage, and abdominal skinfold. “The AG performed a significantly greater amount of curl-up repetitions (47 ± 13) compared to the CG (32 ± 9) on the posttest.

Six weeks of abdominal exercise training alone was not sufficient to reduce abdominal subcutaneous fat and other measures of body composition. Nevertheless, abdominal exercise training significantly improved muscular endurance to a greater extent than the CG.” In simple terms, abdominal exercises alone will strengthen the muscles and improve muscular endurance but they will not burn fat or help reduce your waistline.

It must be combined with adequate Nutrition that is nutrient-dense and calorie specific, a training regime that focuses on resistance or strength training and endurance training.

You will be wasting your time if the goal is fat loss and the approach is only sit-ups, crunches, leg raises and planks. You will end up frustrated with fitness and eventually assume it does not work.

Fitness will not be the problem if this is you, your approach will be. In 2013, there was another study on the Effect of endurance and resistance training on regional fat mass and lipid profile.

I want to go into that to further buttress my point but my time has come to an end with this post, I will link both studies below so you can see for yourself and begin to approach fitness from a different angle, with a different mindset.

I hope these articles at least do that for you. Below you will find links to both studies referenced in this post. 

See you next time!


The Fit Priest.


Article Written by: @thefitpriest

Edited by: @thefitpriest


Selema Enang

Hi, I’m Selema Enang.
A Certified Personal Trainer and Nutritionist who currently lives and works out of Africa.
I have been a Personal Trainer and Coach for 7 years. I believe that food is medicine and exercise is like the water you drink for medicine. I work with clients all over the world via online bespoke Nutrition and Fitness plans to help them achieve optimal health.

ISSA Certified Personal Trainer

PCOS Nutrition Coach

BSc Nutrition and Food Science University of Ghana

Sports Nutrition Msc (in View)

Certified Emotional Intelligence Coach

Email: thefitpriest@gmail.com

Mobile: 08162254450

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