The single most common question I get asked is how to reduce excess belly fat.
Even after losing weight many women struggle with stubborn fat around their midsection that just doesn’t budge.
Most often the person inquiring wants to know what exercises they should do to get rid of that little pudge. They are often disappointed in my response. There is no amount of ab work you can do that is going to burn belly fat. If you did 500 crunches a day your abs would be very strong but would still be buried under a layer of fat.
Muscle is muscle and fat is fat. Crunches and ab exercises strengthen your core muscles. They do not, on their own, burn fat.
Nope. In order to burn fat you’re going to have to work hard outside of the gym. Diet, stress and lack of sleep are the biggest contributors to stubborn belly fat.
Getting rid of it means getting out of the gym, getting serious in the kitchen and getting your butt to bed!
Follow these four tips to help burn belly fat for good!
Eliminate liquid calories
Step one is ditch the drinks! Not just the alcoholic ones but soda, juice and anything else that isn’t water or black coffee. Those liquid sugar bombs spike your blood sugar and lead to fat storage. Much of it ends up around your middle. Alcohol, on the other hand, has to be burned off immediately. This means until your body uses up those calories, it is storing (as fat) anything else you take in, and it’s not burning any stored fat, either.
Clean up your diet
Next would be to cut out as much processed food and sugar as possible. Treats should be few and far between, no more than once or twice a week. That’s why they are called “treats!” If you’re reaching for the cookies every day, you aren’t going to lose belly fat. Focus on eating as clean and healthy as possible. Load up on veggies first, lean proteins second, fruit third and lastly healthy fats.
Are you running around stressed out and sleep-deprived? If so you are going to have a really hard time flattening that belly. Both stress and lack of sleep contribute to high cortisol which tells the body to store fat. Find ways to de-stress, such as taking walks, yoga or reading a book. Make sure you’re taking time to care for yourself. Unplug after 9 p.m. and get at least seven hours of sleep a night.
Rest and recover Exercise has many benefits, but those benefits are reduced if you over do it and don’t allow your body time to recover. I see many women doing too much exercise because they aren’t sure what they are supposed to be doing, and they don’t have a good fat-loss program to follow. So they just end up doing a little bit of everything. Unless you’re training for a competition or event, you do not need to workout twice a day. Your workouts should be something you look forward to. If you find you are dreading working out or you aren’t able to recover well after training, you are probably doing too much. Leave a day between workouts to allow your body to repair itself. The best program for fat loss involves 3-4 heavy, intense workouts a week and 2-3 active recovery days with light activities such as yoga, long walks or swimming.
Focusing on these four strategies is an effective way to eliminate stubborn belly fat. Don’t abandon you crunches – you’ll want to build a beautiful six pack to show off once the fat is gone!