In the world of fitness, diets and routines that achieve concrete results in record time are often very seductive. Who wouldn’t wish they could have a toned body with minimal effort?

“A perfect torso in five minutes” is the name of the book by the Japanese couple Mariko and Tomoya (creators of the main fitness channel in Japan, with a million and a half subscribers), who propose to obtain promising results in just two weeks and investing some few minutes a day.

Basically, through a combination of yoga, ballet and Pilates exercises, the Japanese say that with the B-life method it will be possible to activate the torso, correct posture, accelerate metabolism, burn fat in localized areas, and lose volume without increasing the muscle mass. In addition, it is promised to “end the love handles”, “strengthen the waist” and avoid the rebound effect.

The method, which is widely disseminated globally, attacks one of the main factors why many people do not exercise (lack of time), and to achieve this, supposedly it would be enough to do only five minutes of the well-known exercise in the fitness world called “plank”, the “boat”, and others like “roll up”, which are dedicated to working the muscles of the torso and abdomen.

To find out if following this tempting proposal there is any chance of achieving the promised results, Clarín contacted instructors and specialists in physical education, who analyzed in detail the central points of the method.

Muscle tone

One of the supposed advantages of practicing this method is to tone the muscles.

“Muscle tone is the muscular state of pre-contraction of the muscle, it is something very valuable and highly sought after,” says Sergio Wilde, professor of Physical Education, holder of two chairs at the National University of Tucumán and former physical trainer of Los Pumas.

This is due, he explains, to the fact that this type of biological characteristic is equivalent to that “one was exercising all day: the muscles are permanently consuming energy by having more tone, but this is achieved with very high loads, with very high volumes of I work and with a lot of chronicity, “he says.

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And he adds: “with a lot of time you can increase the volume and tone, but five minutes is known from the point of view of exercise physiology as an underload, a sub-stimulus”, he details.

“The number one training principle says that the load has to be intense enough to cause an adaptive modification, any load below this precept does not modify in any biological value”, he emphasizes.

Another important point is the one referred to the bad posture.

The trainer and professor of Physical Education Ariel Couceiro, affirms that “it is a product of the shortening of muscles responsible for the internal rotation and antepulsion of the shoulders (pectoralis major and minor, latissimus dorsi, upper trapezius and levator scapulae), the antagonists that are weaken and inhibit (deep neck flexors, rhomboids, middle and lower trapezius, serratus anterior).

“Stiffness is also generated at the level of the thoracic spine. None of the proposed exercises works on these aspects and, furthermore, no visible results would be achieved in two weeks. On the other hand, the concept of ‘tone’ is ambiguous, the muscles are not they tone up, they can be made stronger by training them, grow in size or lose volume and weaken if they are not used, “he clarifies.

Burning fat in a localized way?

On the other hand, regarding the point at which it is stated that the method will allow localized fat burning, Couceiro points out: “Fat is not burned, it is oxidized to generate energy when the body uses it as an energy substrate,” he says.

“This phenomenon does not occur locally either,” he continues, “it is stored in the form of triglycerides and its location depends on the type of alpha-2 and beta-2 receptors that this adipose tissue contains,” he explains.

And he continues: “In order to be oxidized, it must be mobilized into the bloodstream and, only there, can it be used if there is demand. For this, the individual must have a sufficient amount of daily movement or be in a caloric deficit, incorporating less food than is required. you need to maintain that current balance. “

In the same sense, Wilde provides a comparison: “Fat is not burned locally, fat is a reservoir, it is like a fuel tank, as any cell enters a caloric deficit or any cell enters ketosis it consumes body fat, “he says.

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And he explains: “the muscle groups that consume the most fat are the largest, but even if you do a trillion sit-ups the abdominal fat is not going to go down, so it is totally ridiculous that they say that the fat is burned in the points rebels “ironizes.

“There is a mapping where the fat begins to burn and the secondary sexual character depends, for example, women accumulate fat in the hips, in the quadriceps, in the buttocks, in the back, and the man in the abdominal waist”, lists.

And he continues: “Based on that mapping, you start to burn fat regardless of the exercise you do: if you do a million blinks you will also burn some fat, but it has nothing to burn localized fat,” he emphasizes.

Loss of volume

Another point that experts find controversial is the one that states that volume will be lost without gaining “too much muscle mass.”

“With ‘lose volume’ I suppose they refer to abdominal volume, which depends on the amount of visceral and superficial fat in the abdomen, added to the activation of the transverse abdominis, which may be inhibited and none of the proposed exercises is indicated for reactivate it, “says Couceiro.

“An increase in muscle mass is desirable as it positively correlates with the maintenance of function and general health. Clearly this proposal does not meet the requirements to increase muscle mass,” he adds.

For his part, Wilde explains: “The volume requires a very particular intense loading strategy, high loads with short pauses, which makes the tissue respond by increasing its volume, it is called hypertrophy and that depends on the amount of work and time it is done, and it is not possible to do it in five minutes with the exercises that this method has mentioned “.

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In the same vein, Juanma Morales, personal trainer and nutrition expert, told the newspaper El Español: “It seems to me a wrong message to promise to lose volume without gaining muscle mass, because, for me, health lies precisely in increasing muscle mass” , he maintains.

“That does not mean that you are going to get big or like the Hulk, but having more muscle denotes that you have a strong body. That in the long run is positive because having a strong body today will allow you to be independent when you are old. Therefore, it seems wrong to me to say that the method allows you to lose volume without gaining muscle mass, because it seems that this is a bad thing, “he says.

The role of nutrition

Another of the issues alluded to but not deepened by this method is based on food. There it is proposed to avoid excessive caloric intake, sedentary lifestyle and unhealthy habits. However, this topic is discussed in a generic and unspecific way.

“When saying that you have to reduce caloric intake, the first thing people think about is eating little and starving. Nothing is further from reality. The important thing is not only the calories you eat throughout the day, but the total daily energy balance between what you eat and what you spend, “says Beatriz Rael, a doctor in Physical Activity Sciences and Sports Sciences, on the Spanish site.

“In addition,” he continues, “the quality of the calories is decisive; it is not the same to eat 500 kilocalories in a meal combining real food with good processed foods, than 500 kilocalories of fried, battered and ultra-processed”, he concludes.

In short, a personalized plan, drawn up together with nutrition and sports professionals, which, according to needs, tastes and habits, helps determine which sports and eating routines to follow; seems to be the best way to stay healthy. Of course, incorporating new habits and seeing results takes much more than two weeks.

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