Belly fat is one of the most common things that people say they want to change about themselves. Accumulating fat around your midsection is common, especially in western cultures where portions are out of control, there is no time to exercise, and unhealthy food options are easier to come by than healthy options. There are, luckily, things you can do to reduce belly fat and get the physique that you’ve been working towards. You might be expecting to read about doing endless amounts of crunches or staying in plank position for ridiculous amounts of time, but these eight ways to reduce belly fat are quite different and are made to get results.
Quit Working Your Abs So Much
No, you didn’t read that wrong. Stop doing crunches if you want to lose belly fat. Sure, sit-ups will help your abs get stronger, but they won’t help you burn the fat around your midsection as much as you might think. This is a popular myth known as spot reduction, and it’s just that, a myth. At the end of the day, crunches are a waste of time and energy when you’re looking to lose belly fat. More so, they cause back pain, can strain your neck and can be a reason for bad posture. This doesn’t mean you should never do another sit-up again in your life; it just means that doing 200 a day won’t burn the fat you’re looking to get rid of. Instead of focusing on crunches, maintain a full body workout regimen that will help you build muscles all over your body to aid in fat loss.
Turn Toward Strength Training
When you build more muscle in your body, you are actually aiding fat loss. This is because the muscles in your body use up more calories than fat does. This increases your metabolism which essentially turns your body into a fat burning machine that will burn the fat in your body to sustain the muscles that it has. To make this happen, turn away from your cardio workouts and start doing more strength training exercises, so you build more muscle and in turn burn more calories. Remember, this isn’t about spot reduction so you don’t necessarily have to focus on your ab muscles, but a good core workout will be beneficial for you in all aspects of your health other than fat reduction. Circuit exercises where you work different body parts at a time are great because they allow you to work out your different muscle groups equally, so you don’t get hung up focusing on one specific muscle group. Similarly, working with a personal trainer can be beneficial because they can introduce you to proper strength training techniques that will help you build muscles properly.
This is probably not shocking, but eating healthy foods is important when it comes to losing belly fat. You can spend all day in the gym, but if you go home and eat potato chips or cookies, you’ll never get rid of that belly fat. Stick to whole foods instead of processed foods. You can have occasional junk food as a treat on a cheat day, but in general, you should be eating healthy foods that will nourish your body in the best ways possible. For example, if you eat six meals a day every week you can allow yourself four junk or cheat meals a week and not do any damage. In fact, eating occasional junk food can help you lose fat because it’ll help keep your hormones functioning. In general, stick to healthy proteins, vegetables and fruits, healthy fats, and whole grains carbs.
Cut Your Alcohol Intake
When people change their diets, they tend to focus more on food and forget that what they drink is just as important. Drinking your calories can impede all of your hard work so it’s important to limit the number of empty calories you drink and that includes alcohol. If you’re the type of person that drinks beer or any type of sweet alcohol on a daily basis you’re only adding to your belly fat.
More so, alcohol puts unnecessary stress on your liver. This is a problem for muscle building because when your liver isn’t functioning properly, it doesn’t remove toxins from your body as well as it should. This impedes muscle building and fat loss. You can drink on occasion but limit alcohol consumption to a few drinks on the weekend. Stick to water or infused lemon water during the week.
Limit Your Carbs
There has been a lot of confusing information about carbohydrates over the recent years. There are people who say you shouldn’t have them at all and some who still believe that it should be the main part of your diet. The fact is that the truth lies somewhere in the middle.
You need to eat carbs to generate energy, but too many carbs aren’t ideal when you’re looking to lose belly fat. This is because any excess carbs that aren’t used up for energy will be stored in your body as fat. This is one of the main reasons behind the accumulation of belly fat in people.
Lower your carb intake and up your protein and fresh produce with every meal instead. The fiber from the fruits and vegetables and the protein in your meals will fill you up so you won’t have room for too many carbs during your main meals. Save pasta, rice, potatoes, and bread for your post workout meals instead.
Don’t Starve Yourself
A lot of people wrongly assume that if they just choose not to eat a lot that their body will absorb the fat they already have. This is a myth. In fact, your body will start burning your muscles for energy before it turns to the fat in your body. Starving yourself is one of the biggest mistakes you can make when trying to lose weight. Your body will go into starvation mode, and instead of burning fat it’ll start storing fat because it’ll assume you need to have a surplus since you’re not consuming calories.
You can eat plenty of healthy foods, though. If you’re exercising about three times a week, eating as much healthy food at you want won’t make you gain weight. Instead, it’ll give you energy and keep your metabolism working properly. When you eat a lot of the right foods like protein and healthy fats, you’re actually promoting fat loss. So instead of skipping meals and starving yourself, stock up on healthy foods to keep your body fueled.
Bump Up Your Protein and Fat
As you’re choosing what healthy foods to eat instead of starving yourself, turn toward protein and healthy fats. These food groups are two of the most important ones when it comes to burning belly fat and fat loss in general.
When you eat protein, your body is able to burn up more energy since it takes more to process protein than it does to process carbs or fat. This is why so many people suggest high-protein diets when looking to burn belly fat. Add a whole protein to each meal instead of worrying about a specific number of grams per day. Besides meat, good sources of protein are whole eggs, cottage cheese, and whey powder.
When you eat fat, you won’t be aiding fat gain. Instead, it actually aids in fat loss. This is because your body won’t store the fat when it sees that it’s constantly getting a steady supply of fat. Stick to healthy fats and stay away from trans-fatty fats which are bad for your health. In general, fish oil is one of the best fats to help you burn belly fat. This increases your testosterone levels which helps aid muscle building and fat loss. When using fish oil, start with six grams of omega-2 a day.
Maintain Your Motivation
One of the hardest things to do with any kind of diet plan or exercise routine is to stay motivated to continue following the regimen. This can be harder when you’re not seeing immediate results when you look in the mirror. Instead of taking the mirror at face value, measure your body fat with a fat caliper, take pictures for side-by-side comparisons, and take your waist measurements every two weeks.
The results of these three assessments will tell you more than simply looking in a mirror can. As you see your progress, you will stay motivated because you’ll want to continue to see more positive results. You’ll also see how easy it gets to stick to your routine after you’ve been doing it for an extended period of time. Soon you’ll see that you’ll automatically make the right food choices, you’ll want to exercise regularly, and you’ll take better care of yourself, in general, to make sure you don’t regain the belly fat you’ve already lost.
Reducing your belly fat doesn’t have to be the hard struggle that you’ve assumed it to be. By following these tips and tricks, you can start to lose the belly fat that has been impeding your journey to the perfect physique and find a healthier way of life in the process.