Situps can help tone and firm your abdomen but won't necessarily reduce the amount of fat in the area.The only way to lose the fat is by focusing on overall weight loss. Combining situps with consistent cardiovascular exercise and a healthy, low-calorie diet will reduce fat and strengthen and tone the muscles, leading to a thinner belly. Consult your doctor before beginning any weight-loss program.
The Myth of Spot Reduction
Exercising the belly to get rid of fat is referred to as "spot reduction." Unfortunately, spot reduction has not been found to be an effective technique. Situps can contribute to fat loss by burning calories, but any fat lost will be spread relatively evenly across other parts of the body, the American Council on Exercise explains. If you are not expending more calories than you are consuming, however, no fat loss will occur.
While it's possible to do situps every night if you do a light workout, it's more effective to work the muscles more vigorously three to four days a week, with 24 hours of rest between workouts. This will build the muscles and tighten them more effectively, which will pull the abdomen in and give a thinner appearance to the mid-section. If you are just beginning an abdominal workout, start with crunches because they are easier on the back, Stew Smith writes for Military.com. Work your way up to doing situps once you have gained some strength in the midsection. Keep your body in balance by including exercises to strengthen the back as part of your regimen.
Perform additional exercises in addition to situps -- such as kneeups, reverse crunches and crunches -- to provide variety and work the muscles more effectively. Do cardiovascular exercises, such as running or jogging, 30 to 45 minutes a day, four to five days a week as part of your workout. This -- along with a healthy, low-calorie diet rich in lean meats, whole grains, low-fat dairy products and plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables -- will help get rid of any excess fat around the abdomen. Remember, to lose weight, you need to expend more calories than you consume.
How much fat you lose from your belly by doing situps and keeping your calories low will depend a lot on genetics. If your family tends to have the apple-shaped body type, for instance, you will most likely have more trouble getting a flatter belly than someone whose family tends more toward a lean and tall physique. Sex is also a factor, as men tend to have more problems losing fat in the abdomen than women.