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So How Do I Get Rid of My Abdominal Fat?
Now that you know what belly fat is, what causes it, and how dangerous it can be for your health, it’s time to take a look at how to get rid of that abdominal fat. It’s not going to be as simple as snapping your fingers, but it’s not as difficult as you might imagine either. There are proven steps that you can take and lifestyle changes that you can make to bust that belly fat.
Let’s get started!
Are There Foods That Burn Fat?
We often hear about “fat burning” foods. The truth is that there’s no magic food that you can eat or pill you can take or that instantly burns fat from your body. However, there are changes that you can make to the way you eat that really do cause your body to increase its metabolism and burn more fat.
First, let’s talk about the foods that contribute to fat accumulation and weight gain. In general, sugar is the biggest culprit. Any food or beverage that is sugary will absolutely cause your body to store more fat. We’re talking about sugary coffee drinks, sodas, and even fruit juice.
These sugary beverages cause a spike in blood sugar levels which leads to insulin resistance and ultimately to fat storage. If you want to balance your blood sugars and boost your metabolism to burn fat, the first step is to cut out sugary drinks. This is a lifestyle change that can take some getting used to.
A little story…
Julie used to drink a six pack of coke each day. She changed to diet coke but noticed that not much changed. She didn’t know that the sweetness in the diet soda causes the body to have the same reaction as soda with sugar and corn syrup. She still stored fat. After talking with her doctor she decided to take a month to eliminate the sugar habit.
For one week she only drank four cans of soda a day, and replaced two of the six she normally drank with cans of carbonated water. The next week she cut it down to three cans of soda and three cans of water. By the end of the month she was no longer drinking soda. She’d kicked the habit and she didn’t miss it at all. The carbonated water gave her the same sensation a soda, but without the sugar and chemicals.
Get Rid of the Junk Food and Starchy Carbs
Starchy carbohydrates and junk food need to be eliminated from your diet in much the same way as Julie eliminated the soda. If you have a junk food habit or you regularly enjoy starchy carbohydrates like bagels, bread, cereal and other foods with white flour, then it’s time to make a lifestyle change.
Consider keeping a food journal for a few days and track what you eat. You can then make plans to replace those fattening foods with foods that are healthier for you. For example, if you normally have a bagel for breakfast you might replace that with a protein smoothie. If you normally have crackers for a snack you can replace them with mixed nuts.
Balanced Blood Sugar is The Key to Beating Belly Fat
Protein, vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds are all foods that help maintain good blood sugar levels. They’ll be absorbed by your body more efficiently and are more likely to be converted to energy rather than stored as fat. Your metabolism increases and you begin busting belly fat.
When planning your meals and snacks, make sure to include a lean protein plus a fruit or vegetable. For example, scrambled eggs with diced peppers and onions are a great way to start a day and get your metabolism on the right path. If you prefer a sweeter breakfast, try a protein smoothie with berries and almond or soy milk.
Coffee, green tea, hot peppers, lean meat, and high fiber foods all have a theromegenic effect on your body – they help burn calories and boost your metabolism. Find ways to integrate these foods into your diet while eliminating starchy carbohydrates and sugary snacks and drinks.
What Exercises Burn Belly Fat?
What about exercises that burn belly fat? Contrary to popular belief, you can’t spot reduce fat. You can’t say, “Oh, I want to get rid of the fat around my stomach so I’ll do 100 crunches a day.” It just doesn’t work like that. Your body burns fat seemingly randomly.
We cannot dictate where the body takes the fat to burn for energy. We can only make it burn fat. So how do we do that? We exercise.
In fact, if you try to spot reduce and decide that despite everything you’re going to do 100 crunches a day to get rid of that belly you’ll likely find that your belly gets bigger. Why? Because you’ll build muscle under the fat. You’ll be adding to the thickness. While muscle does burn fat, the best approach is a two pronged approach.
Cardio and strength training are the fastest way to boost your metabolism and burn fat.
There are a variety of approaches that you can take. For example, if you enjoy jogging you can jog for an hour in your fat burning zone and you’ll experience results. Your “fat burning zone” is actually not a high intensity pace, but rather a moderate pace that helps your body work most efficiently.
Your fat burning zone is determined by your maximum heart rate. This is estimated by subtracting your age from 220 if you’re male; subtract your age from 226 if you’re female. Your fat burning zone is between 60 and 70 percent of your maximum heart rate. So if you’re a 35 year old woman your maximum heart rate would be 191 beats per minute (226-35 = 191).
Your fat burning zone at this heart rate would be 114 to 133 (60%-70% of 191). You’d need to wear a heart rate monitor to ensure you’re working out in this zone.
Unfortunately, if you want to get rid of your abdominal fat quickly, you’re going to need to spend a good amount of time working out in this fat burning zone. If exercising for an hour or more a day isn’t interesting to you there are other exercise approaches that have good results.
Cross-fit is a fitness approach that combines many different types of fitness, including strength training, gymnastics, cardio, calisthenics and more. No two workouts are the same. The workouts themselves last anywhere from five minutes to around thirty minutes. They’re short. They’re also very intense.
You’ll feel like you’re working out to be sure. Women are actually flocking to Crossfit gyms around the country and one of the theories for this trend is that Crossfit produces rapid results. It’s the combination of strength training and high intensity cardio training that burns fat and gets rid of big bellies quickly.
Your Fitness Your Way
You don’t have to sign up for a Cross-fit gym membership to get good results. You can create your own program of strength training and cardio exercise to burn fat. The reason that both types of exercise are required is simple. Cardio burns calories. It gets your heart pumping and blood flowing. Strength training builds muscle, which burns more calories than fat.
Your muscles also need calories and energy to recover from your strength training workouts and you’ll burn calories well after your workout. Studies have shown that the resting metabolic rate after a strength training workout stays high for up to 24 hours post-workout.
When you include both strength training and cardio you’re giving your body the best shot at burning calories right now, building muscle so you continue burning calories, and stop storing fat. Let’s take a look at some different types of cardio and strength training exercises to help you brainstorm and create a belly busting workout that you’ll enjoy.
- Cardio Exercises
- Jumping rope
- Race walking
- Indoor fitness machines (elliptical, rowing machine, treadmill, etc.)
Strength Training Exercises
- Circuit training weight machines
When creating an exercise program, strive to work out five or six days a week. It is important to take one or two rest days each week to let your body recover. You can alternate days of cardio with days of strength training or you can combine them into one workout. For example, you might jump rope for thirty minutes and then finish the workout with a squat Tabata. A Tabata is a system where you perform as many squats (or other exercise) as possible in twenty seconds, you rest ten seconds and then repeat. You continue the process for four minutes (or eight rounds) of the exercise.
The next day you could run for thirty minutes and finish the workout with a push-up or sit-up Tabata. On the third day you might take a yoga class. Regular exercise is the best way to get your body burning more calories, but it must be balanced with a healthy diet. Fuel your body with whole foods that aren’t high in sugar or white flour.