As a personal trainer, the biggest questions I get is how do I lose my belly fat?
When I meet with clients a good 80% of them just want to “lose the belly.”
If you can’t lose your belly fat, you’re using the wrong approach. You don’t need to do endless sit-ups, take supplements, starve yourself or have surgery.
There are ways to naturally lose belly fat quickly and naturally. But before I get there, I will talk about the myth of spot reduction.
Many people yearn to lose fat from one specific part of their body. Efforts to eliminate fat from an individual area are called spot reduction. Turn on a TV and you’ll probably find an infomercial selling a dubious, scientifically unsound weight-loss products. I often see many that fall for those “fad diets.” I’ve seen people who have tried magic lotions, waist trainers, teas, wraps and pills that are supposed to make your waistline slimmer, but let me tell you, IT DOESN’T WORK! Don’t believe the hype. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is — especially when someone is trying to sell you something.
Of course, it would be great if we could pick a specific body part to lose fat from, but that’s not really how it works. Sure, if you use any of the fad diet methodsI mentioned above you may notice a difference but what you are losing is water weight, not fat.
Health science established long ago that targeting specific areas of fat was impossible.
In order to become slimmer and get rid of that stubborn fat in your waistline, you must lose overall fat. Here’s how you can do that!
1) Eat Healthy.
This one is a no brainer. I am sure you’ve heard the phrase “abs are built in the kitchen.” You can train hard, but if you eat junk food all day, you won’t lose your belly fat.
Stop eating processed food, instead eat whole unprocessed foods like the examples below.
- Proteins. Meat, poultry, fish, whey, eggs, cottage cheese.
- Veggies. Spinach, broccoli, salad, kale, cabbage.
- Fruits. Banana, orange, apple, pineapple, pears.
- Fats. Olive oil, fish oil, real butter, nuts, flax seeds.
- Carbs. Brown rice, oats, whole grain pasta, quinoa.
No need to be perfect. You can still eat junk food (sometimes, that is). Don’t overdo it though. Eat junk food 10% of the time max. You can have a few cheat meals per week.
2) Get Stronger.
Strength training helps you lose weight (and body fat) in a few different ways. First, it helps you retain the muscle you have while eating a calorie deficit and losing weight.
Second, strength training has a much greater level of excess post-exercise oxygen consumption than aerobic exercise. What does this mean? When you finish a workout, your body needs to do a lot of work to replenish itself in order to bring itself back to a normal state (the way it was before you worked out). This means up to 38 hours after strength training you are still burning calories.
Not only that, but strength training can help increase your metabolism by speeding up your Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR). This is because it takes your body more calories to maintain muscle than it does to maintain fat.
3) HIIT Training
Cardio exercise burns fat and calories but if you want to kick your burn up a few notches, turn your usual cardio workout into High Intensity Interval Training. HIIT is the preferred choice for burning and weight loss because it essentially shocks your body into burning more and burning for longer periods of time. You can convert almost any cardio workout into a HIIT workout. If you run, for example, whether you do it outside or on the treadmill, you can perform a HIIT workout by running fast for a minute then slowing to a jog for a minute, continuing to alternate the fast/slow intervals for your entire workout.
The good news is HIIT workouts only take half the time of regular workouts, so if you typically trundle along on the treadmill for 45 minutes to an hour, you only have to spend 20 to 30 minutes running with HIIT. In general, as your body adapts, you should increase the intensity of all of your workouts.
4) Limit Alcohol Consumption.
To lose fat, what you drink is just as important as what you eat. Alcohol from time to time is OK. But forget about losing your belly fat if you drink beer and sweet alcohol daily.
Alcohol also stresses your liver which has to overwork to clear the toxins. This can get in the way of building muscles.
Drink alcohol 10% of the time. Like only on Friday and Saturday night, for example. Normal alcohol consumption, not the get drunk kind. For the other 90% of the time: water, water with squeezed lemon, green tea, etc.
5) Get enough sleep
Between living your life, working, and exercising, you’re going to forget to sleep enough. Or maybe, more importantly, you don’t realize that sleep is the key to being rewarded for your diet and fitness efforts. Even with the very best diet and fitness routine, if your sleep is off, you’re wrecked. Not sleeping enough—less than seven hours of sleep per night—can reduce and undo the benefits of dieting. When your body is sleep deprived, it suffers from “metabolic grogginess. Sleep deprivation disrupts your body’s ability to properly use insulin (the master storage hormone).
Here’s why that’s bad: When your insulin is functioning well, fat cells remove fatty acids and lipids from your bloodstream and prevent storage. When you become more insulin resistant, fats (lipids) circulate in your blood and pump out more insulin. Eventually this excess insulin ends up storing fat in all the wrong places, such as tissues like your liver. And this is exactly how you become fat and suffer from diseases like diabetes.
There are more ways to lose stubborn fat and kick start your weight loss, but I covered the top 5 on here. I know you’re looking for ways to make your lean-body goals come faster, but only consistency in your diet and training will make progress. So give these a try, and let us know in the comments below how it went!
Featured Image via WeHeartIt