Belly fat is the type of body fat that has most potential for health problems. Aside from being something that most people find unattractive and uncomfortable, is also associated with a number of different severe health risks.
Some people are genetically predisposed to carry higher amounts of fat around their midsection, but even those who have it in their genes to have excess belly fat generally also tend to have a slew of bad habits that contribute to carrying that extra weight.
There are a number of things that you can do to reduce or get rid of fat in this area. In adapting these habits, you will likely also find that your health as a whole improves.
If you are not at a healthy body weight already, use a combo of healthy diet and exercise to get there.
You can’t “have abs” or a flat stomach with excess body fat, no matter how many situps you do. Before you even start to worry about losing belly fat, you absolutely must reach a healthy weight. Carrying extra weight is unhealthy, and trying to target and get rid of trouble zones without losing excess pounds first is putting the horse before the cart. Weight loss can be difficult and it is definitely easier said than done, but if you are truly determined to get fit, you’re going to need to commit to reaching that healthy BMI first.
Exercise; of course! But here’s how to work out to lose belly fat faster
If you want to work out to reduce fat there are a number of different training styles that you should embrace. Your best ally with exercise is going to be cardio interval training and strength training. Interval training burns a higher amount of calories and fat than regular cardio. Interweave short, intense bursts of cardio into your regular aerobic sessions in order to bump up your expenditure and burn extra fat.
Strength training is important for a number of health reasons (increased bone density, lessened likelihood of injury, slowing of the body’s aging process…), but it also plays an important role in reducing overall body fat. When using strength training to get fit, it’s not about focusing all of your efforts on strengthening your abdominal section, but about reducing overall body fat percentage, which ultimately reflects a loss of abdominal fat. Adapt a well rounded strength training routine in order to lower body fat, and gain muscle – which also burns calories at a higher rate than fat. Check out Fitness Blender workout videos for free home workouts that would serve this purpose well.
Frequency of exercise
You don’t need to spend hours in the gym to lose a spare tire. In fact, you don’t really need to spend any time in the gym at all. You should aim for 60 minutes of intentional “working out” each day, but you can break that 60 minutes up into multiple workouts in order to get more of a metabolism boost. For example, four 15 minute workouts or two 30 minutes workouts will burn more calories than one hour long cardio session. Not only does intermittent cardio exercise increase your resting metabolism, it also makes it easy to squeeze into a busy schedule.
Minimize time spent enjoying “lazy” hobbies
As mentioned above, losing belly fat goes far beyond just hitting the gym for an hour or two. Actually, the amount of calories and fat burned by even the most obsessive gym rat is nothing compared to the amount of calories burned throughout the rest of the day, if you are an active person. Take a good look at your hobbies and habits and try to replace the more sedentary ones with ones that involve movement. For example, scale back a bit on watching movies or wasting time on Facebook and pick up hiking, gardening, or woodworking; anything really, that you enjoy enough that it doesn't feel like work.
Clean up your diet – and not just by reducing calories
All calories are not created equal when it comes to satisfying hunger or nourishing the body. In fact, with some of the foods that American companies try to pass off as healthful, eating can be downright dangerous! Take a good look at what goes into the things that you put into your body; I dare you to start reading ingredients labels.
As often as you can, eat fresh, and even raw foods. Vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and lean meats should be the staple of your diet if you are serious about losing fat. Avoid most things packaged, especially refined grains and processed flours that are chalk full of additives and sodium. Include regular amounts of healthy monounsaturated fats (nuts, olives, avocados, vegetable oil, etc) in your diet but avoid trans fats.
Stay away from diet products
Have you noticed the trend in America? The more diets and diet products we introduce, the fatter we get. Pills and potions don’t work. Even if you lost weight or excess belly fat on a quick fix solution, it almost positively will not last, and you’ll likely end up worse off than you started. Reduced fat products and diet sodas are also not going to do you any favors while you are trying to get fit and healthy. In fact, they have been shown to have a correlation with an increase in both.
There’s no secret to losing belly fat, it’s all about consistency, practicing good habits the majority of the time, and hard work. Adapt these practices and you will watch your waistline shrink and your health improve.