When I owned a woman’s gym franchise, I often had new clients come in, grab hold of their excess belly fat, give it a shake and say “show me an exercise to get rid of this”. It’s funny to think about how many people did the exact same thing. Losing belly fat is definitely an issue for many people. There is a solution but it doesn’t come from doing one specific exercise.
You will not lose belly fat by doing a hundred sit-ups. I can not recommend a magical exercise that will make that belly fat vanish. But I can develop a workout program to strengthen your core and define your abdominal muscles and I can give you a 3-step strategy that will help make that belly fat melt away.
Step One – Exercise – the RIGHT way!
Any exercise is good but to target belly fat and see rapid results, the type of workout will make a big difference. A 12-week Skidmore College study found that exercisers who did a high-intensity total-body resistance routine combined with cardio lost more than 4 times as much belly fat, compared with cardio-only exercisers. Another report in the Journal of Sports Science found that aerobic training combined with resistance training was much more effective at decreasing fat compared to just aerobic training.
High-Intensity Training is the ultimate form of exercise in order to lose belly fat. There is a powerful effect on your metabolism that makes your become a “fat-burning machine”
MORE: Read this article on how High-Intensity Training can burn 900% more fat than traditional aerobic training
In order to lose belly fat we need to start a plan that incorporates daily HIIT workouts. The best part about HIIT training is that your workouts can be short because they are so intense. A beginner exerciser or an advanced athlete can all participate in HIIT training because the intensity is measured by your perceived exertion.
Step Two – Eat More Fat & Fibre
Fat is not the enemy. We need good fats in our diets to maintain optimal health and lose belly fat. The unhealthy fats that we need to avoid are the trans fats (like the partially hydrogenated fats found in some peanut butter, granola bars, cookies etc) and some saturated fats (that come from animal products). We want our diets to include unsaturated fats (such as extra virgin olive oil, avocados, wild-caught fish, nuts, seeds etc) and the saturated fats from coconut oil. Healthy fats will reduce cravings and give our bodies nutrient-dense satiating foods that will help reduce daily caloric intake and lose belly fat.
High fibre foods like vegetables, fruits, beans and whole grains keep us full longer and reduce cravings for sugar and processed foods. When choosing grains at the grocery store, opt for “whole grains” instead of “enriched flour”. Enriched flour has been striped of the healthy nutrients and fibre. A study from Penn State showed that dieters who ate whole grains lost twice as much belly fat as those who ate refined carbohydrates.
Why do we store fat?:
We store fat when there is too much glucose (sugar) in our bloodstream. When we eat food (especially when we eat sugar and processed carbohydrates like white bread, white rice, cookies etc) our body breaks it down into glucose and fills our glycogen stores for energy. When there is too much glucose, it gets stored as fat.
Eating more fat and fibre helps us eat less sugar and refined carbohydrates. This results in less fat being stored and losing our belly fat.
Step Three – Drink Green Tea
A recent study in the Journal of Nutrition found that exercisers who drank the equivalent of about 4 cups of green tea a day for 12 weeks lost over 8 times more ab fat than those who drank an ordinary caffeinated beverage. This is because green tea contains EGCG’s which accelerate fat-burning. These EGCG’s are also powerful antioxidants which fight free radicals and help prevent diseases like cancer. There are many terrific health benefits to green tea besides reducing belly fat.
This 3-step strategy for losing belly fat is simple but not necessarily easy. It requires commitment to your goal. I have one word of advice. Be patient. Nothing ever happens overnight. Fat is stubborn. If there is an area of your body where you want to lose fat the most, it will probably be the last place you lose it. I say this from experience from working with many women as they tackled their trouble zones.
Take baby steps and be consistent, that is most important. If you mess up and eat an entire box of cookies – don’t beat yourself up. Tell yourself that the next choice you make will be a healthy one. Don’t wait to “start fresh on Monday”. Start in the next minute after you had your moment of weakness. You can do it!