Men, start using the natural corset you were born with: the transversus abdominis. It’s the horizontal layer of muscle beneath your six-pack, and it can make your waist smaller. Consider Pilates as part of your regimen and increase strength, endurance, agility and power. Pilates works both your transversus abdominis (for a smaller waist) and your rectus abdominis (for bigger abs).
Is Pilates for men different than Pilates for women? Men have different physical structures than women but require the same benefits of regular exercise. Pilates has been falsely identified as a “women only” exercise. People forget that Pilates was created by a man for men. Joseph Pilates was a hard-core German who developed the method to rehabilitate injured soldiers on the Isle of Man. The first practitioners of Pilates were soldiers, boxers, and athletes.
If your belly is rounder than it ought to be, try these lean tactics in addition to Pilates:
Eat Lean. You want a flat stomach? Watch what goes into it. We’re not suggesting that you live on alfalfa sprouts and granola. Most guys can get away with making little changes in their diet like cutting down on fatty toppings and cutting back on cheese and red meat.
Exercise Aerobically. Cycling, rowing, running, whatever — it’s your call. Anything that gets your heart pumping will burn away blubber.
Relax. When stress hits, one of the first things your body does is crank up its production of adrenaline. This causes fat cells from all over your body to release their stored fat into your bloodstream, so you can burn it and use the calories to fight or take flight. But your stress is probably caused by your boss, your kids or the IRS, so all that newly-released fat goes unused. What happens next, experts believe, is that the fat is taken out of the bloodstream again — only this time it’s stored preferentially around your belly. So do whatever you can to de-stress. Take up a hobby that will help you unwind. Take time at some point in your day to stretch and breathe deeply.
All men will benefit from more stretching to increase mobility, core strengthening for stronger backs, and exercise that is gentle on their joints. Pilates can provide all these things as well as improve posture, flexibility and coordination.
Photos: Ryan Abel, myyogaonline