There are numerous reasons why people decide to start going to the gym, but if we are honest with ourselves, the most common reason is that we are unsatisfied with our physical appearance.
Yes, going to the gym does of course have other benefits. Being in good physical shape means that you are healthier overall. It’s good for your immune system and it keeps your heart and lungs healthy long-term.
It’s also good for your mental health too. Exercise can be an effective method of reducing anxiety and depression as well as helping you develop skills such as focus, endurance, and determination.
But the reality is that we generally just view that stuff as more of a bonus on top of our primary intended result of a more appealing body. For a lot of women, the goal is often to decrease the size of their waistline.
Obviously, this isn’t exclusive to women, and it’s most definitely not a bad thing to work towards looking the way that you want to look. However, the approach that some women are taking may not be the most effective one.
And the question that we are posing here is whether or not building muscle is actually going to make your waist smaller or if it will have the opposite effect. And the truth is that extra muscle can indeed contribute to a bigger waist.
Now let’s not jump to conclusions here, this absolutely does not mean that you should stop exercising. What it means is that when you work out, you are building muscle but you’re not breaking down fat.
And so what happens is that there is more muscle mass around your waist, but no less fat, and as such, your waist is actually even bigger than it was before. It’s not just about building muscle, you need a more well-rounded approach to actually achieve a smaller waistline.
Let’s take a look at three factors that need to be considered:
Don’t take those last few paragraphs as a dismissal of exercise, because it’s still a part of getting yourself into the shape that you want to be in. You just need to have a more specific approach to your waist-based exercises, and couple them with a few other practices.
What you should aim for are the kinds of exercises that will tone your abdominal region instead of just building up a huge amount of muscle. There are a variety of different kinds of crunches which you can do.
There’s the starfish crunch, in which you lie on your back and extend your arms and legs into an ‘X’ position, making sure that they are raised off the ground. From there engage your core and pull your elbows and knees to each other. Hold that position for about 30 seconds, then release and repeat.
You can do standing cross crunches where you stand with your legs about shoulder-width apart and your hands clasped behind your head. You then raise your right knee close to your left elbow, reset and do the same with your left knee.
Then you’ve also got the triangle crunch. You kneel on your right knee with your right hand planted on the ground and your left knee extended and your left hand behind your head. Raise your left knee to your left elbow and repeat multiple times. Do the same on the opposite side.
And an always reliable exercise for toning your abs and obliques is the old reliable plank. The forearm plank is simple to achieve, you just place your forearms on the ground with your elbows and shoulders aligned and then make sure that your back is straight as an arrow.
These are the kinds of exercises that will give you a tight, sculpted waist, provided you also focus on some other things. And that brings us to:
A healthy diet is arguably the most important factor here. It’s what you eat that contributes to your fat levels more than anything and so if you want to keep it under control then you need to pay attention to that.
It’s a lot more to do with what you don’t eat really. You should do your best to cut down on your starch and sugar intake. These are two of the primary food types in producing insulin, too much of which can cause a larger waistline.
Things like white bread, rice, and potatoes are high in starch and while it’s probably fine to have them in moderation, too much will have the undesired effect. You also need to know what carbs are unnecessary.
It’s not about avoiding all carbs, it’s about ensuring that you don’t overdo it and you need to remember that a lot of foods you don’t expect to be high in carbs actually are. This includes things like peas, apples, and yogurt.
Make sure that you are getting plenty of protein and fiber in your diet too. A protein-heavy meal will make you fuller, which will discourage you from overeating. So eat plenty of eggs, fish, and lean meats.
Though you will always have people who try to argue with this, the impact your lifestyle has on your weight extends beyond food and exercise. And that’s mainly because of how your lifestyle can affect your appetite.
Stress affects everyone differently, but one thing that seems to be common among anxiety sufferers is the act of stress-eating. It can be difficult to follow the dietary guidelines you’ve set for yourself if your mind is distracted by worry.
To reduce stress in whatever way works for you. Meditation, breathing exercises, distractions, just keep yourself stress-free. And also be sure that you’re getting 7-8 hours of sleep every night because insomnia and overeating are connected.
The short answer to the question posed by this article is that yes, the muscle can increase a woman’s waist size, but if you include muscle-building exercises as a part of a larger plan to shed weight from in and around your stomach.