Trick for Nearly Instant Flat Abs: Balloons?

Don't worry, that's not a "before" and "after" pic.
image: wikipedia

So when I was online digging up various sorts of strangeness for the Weirdest Weight Loss post, I came across a "Daftest Diet" article from the Daily Mail. It included a tip from the book "Six Weeks to OMG: Get Skinnier than All Your Friends," which sounds, overall, highly annoying.

But a tip it offered seemed intriguing: it's a simple way to engage and strengthen the transversus abdominis muscles.

As you are probably aware, your transverse abs are the handy muscles deep inside that pull your belly in, and probably do other important things too but whatever. The TVA's often get overlooked in favor of the better known rectus abdominis, which people work to death in search of those elusive six packs (that would be more easily obtained by abstaining from a few more six packs, but that's a whole 'nother topic).

Have you ever looked in a mirror, sucked in your stomach, and instantly felt like you dropped 5 lbs around your midsection? That's the effect I wouldn't mind 24/7, or at least during waking hours.  Is that too much to ask?

The simple trick? Blow up a balloon! Over and over and over!

An interesting experiment--wanna hear how it went?

But first off, the instructions!

To plagiarize er, I mean paraphrase the Daily Mail:

1. Purchase a pack of mixed balloons (some easy to blow up and some more challenging pretty much f--cking impossible).

2. Start with an easy balloon and stand in front of a mirror ideally just before bedtime — when lung capacity is at its peak whenever the hell you can remember to.

3. Hold your elbows up level with your face as you inflate the balloon... and be sure to take a moment while staring at your reflection to realize you look like an absolute dorkbasket.

4. Once your balloon is blown up, let the air escape, and repeat ten times. Try not to care that balloons, while rapidly deflating, sound exactly like loud wet farts, and that these noises are completely audible to your next door neighbors if you have your windows open.

5.  Take a three-minute break if you start to feel dizzy. Unless you're in search of a cheap legal high, in which case repeat 300 or so more times or until you pass out.

6. Blow up balloons on alternate days (using a new balloon each day), adding two more inflations each time until you reach 20. Then it's 20 inflations every other day to keep your belly flat. Calculate how many balloons you will be inflating in your lifetime, call your broker, and purchase stock in a balloon company.

Important Health Warning! Not suitable for people with high blood pressure, hernias, stomach ulcers or lower back problems.  And I ain't even gonna mess with this one because I don't want you to hurt yourselves.

Crabby McSlacker's Great Balloon Inflation Experiment Findings!

1.  It's hard to find normal balloons at the drugstore these days.

WTF?  Who doesn't love balloons?

Racey Helps photo: in Pastel

But people are all buying the tacky mylar kind now apparently. It took me three drugstores.

2.  I didn't feel it in my abs when I inflated, I felt it in my nose.

So I couldn't even find this problem on the google, but then what freakish search terms might lead me to find out why my throat-to-nose gateway muscles, whatever those might be, couldn't handle the pressure very well?

Because when  I'd try to blow up a new tight balloon, a good part of the air meant for the balloon went back into my nose, making a humiliating honking sound.  That just didn't seem right.  But what I should do about that? Continue trying to build up those mysterious nasal protective muscles? Or just hold my nose for the first few breaths and not worry about it? And does this mean I'm going to be a big time snore monster when I get a little older? If so, it would be worth blowing up a few balloons for preventative purposes.

Any nasal physical therapists out there?

3.  But the next day I felt it a little in my abs!

Which did seem to help me remember to engage my tva's a little more (at least until later in the day when the reminder effect wore off). I suspect working up to twenty inflations with a really hard balloon might actually accomplish a noticeable decrease in apparent waistline bulkage.

But I'm just guessin' cause...

4.  Blowing Up a Balloon Even Ten Times Is Time Consuming And Boring, And The Chances of Me Working up to Twenty and then Keeping it Up for the Rest of My Freakin' Life?  Pretty Much Zero.

Shoot me now.

Or okay, now would be good.

5. There are other, possibly less tedious, methods for exercising the Transversus Abdominis Muscles!

And yet I'm not going to list them all here... yet.  But stay tuned because I'm already psyched for the next TVA experiment, which I will report on Soon!  Er, Before too Long!  Or okay, Someday!

P.S. And in other news, Team Cranky seems to be coming together nicely! I'm so psyched about it all that I started a long boring post over the weekend which got out of control, as often happens when my brain is buzzing with excitement.  I'm sure the 83 cups of coffee I drank had nothing to do with it.  When I calm down I will start over and try to write something more sensible.  In the meantime...

Balloons? Flatter bellies? Weird tricks culled from annoying diet books?  Holiday plans? Comments on anything, as always, are most welcome!

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