Tuesday, July 5, 2016

The 2 Real Ways to Lose Belly Fat

While many “diet and exercise programs” would lead you to believe you can reduce belly fat by doing sit-ups, the cold hard truth is that you can’t. Reducing fat in just the abdominal area is touted as spot reducing, but the body does not work that way. The only way to lose belly fat is to reduce your overall body fat. In the process, a certain amount of fat lost will come from your abdominal area.

Body fat is your body’s “rainy day account”. During the good times when food is plentiful, we store fat so we have an excess supply to use as energy during the lean times. Unfortunately in many people, the belly is one of the first places fat gets stored.

The Value of Abdominal Exercises

As noted, doing sit-ups does no good as far as losing belly fat, but core and abdominal exercises do have benefits. A strong core means better posture and less potential for back problems. A strength training routine performed a couple times a week will greatly improve your ab strength and define your abs. After all, you want your “six-pack” to shine through once you lose your belly fat, right?

We know that to lose a pound of weight per week, you have to burn more calories than you consume - 3,500 to be exact. We also know there are really only two ways to have a calorie deficit, working out and eating foods lower in calories (or a combination of both which actually works the best).

1. Working Out
(Image courtesy of stockimages at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.)

To burn the maximum amount of fat, two things have to happen. One, you have to increase your heart rate by performing a warm-up routine so your muscles are getting the maximum amount of oxygen. Two, you have to exercise your body as hard as possible (while monitoring your target heart rate) by doing intense workouts, preferably of varying length. Short, intense workouts should be alternated with rest periods. This type of "interval cardio" workout will achieve maximum calorie burn, and boost your metabolism for ongoing fat loss. Be sure to vary the type and tempo of exercise that you do as well, to avoid the dreaded "plateau" effect.

(Image courtesy of KEK064 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.)
2. Eating Fewer Calories

Not all calories are created equal. Your focus should be on eating food low in processed fats, sugar, and carbohydrates, but high in fiber and quality protein. Such broad choices include fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grain products, seafood, beans and grass-fed meats to name a few.  And don’t forget to add in some of the good fats - the poly and monounsaturated fats. These come from olive oil, fatty fish such as tuna and salmon, nuts and avocados. 

By lowering your overall body fat percentage, some of your loss will be belly fat. Keep it up, and you will be well on your way to that coveted "six-pack"!

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