6 Foolproof Steps to lose belly fat (and more) and get that six pack! (Updated)
So, you are tired of sucking your stomach in every time someone attractive walks by or you’re getting your picture taken. Your workouts usually consist mainly of crunches, planks and similar exercises. Every time you watch Home Shopping TV, you drool at Ab Kind Pro and Ab Slicers and Dicers and what not. I totally feel your pain. It’s come to a point that my colleagues keep rubbing my tummy for luck. It’s ridiculous! I want it gone. I want those abs of steel that can grate an onion at ten paces. I want cuts so deep that you can stand plates on them to dry. So I used to do crunches till I couldn’t breathe. I can now hold a plank for over a minute. But nothing changed that I can see. I’m sure there’s a six-pack in there somewhere, but all I can see is a keg. Because…spot reduction is a dirty lie! It’s a myth. But there's another way. Here’s how to lose your belly fat naturally!
Deal with it!If you want to get abs, you must work on everything else as well – training and nutrition.There are some methods that can be generally applied to most people. The quickest ways to lose weight are those that elevate your BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate, which is how much energy your body uses just to stay alive). Fortunately, there are exercises that do just that:
The best way is to increase your muscle mass while burning fat is through weight training. This is because your muscle tissues need a lot of energy to maintain them. Also, your metabolic rate is elevated for 24 to 48 hours after a rigorous weight training session. It's not a lot of extra calories burnt but every bit helps. Also, muscles are hungry tissues. The more muscle you have, the more fat you are burning while sitting on your butt watching TV. This means you need to join a gym and it will cost you money but it's so worth it. And get a trainer. They will make sure you get a programme that's suited to your preferences and that you prevent injury by doing exercises with good form.
This is when you push yourself as hard as you can for a short period of time, and then take a short break before going back to high intensity. You can do this with cycling, running or even burpees. There are some great programs in the links I've given at the bottom of this blog. This is also a reliable way to increase your metabolic rate for a long time after the workout is over. This is because it pushes your body to extreme levels of effort for short periods of time, forcing it to compensate. Even a short 20 minute HIIT workout can have similar effects to say an hour-long steady state cardio session. Be careful with these though. They can be tough on the body so you will need time to recover. If you're quite overweight or have joint issues, just walk briskly or do safer, low impact forms of cardio for upto 20 minutes after your heavy weight workout.
Also, try and be more active through the whole day. Indulge in sports and activities you enjoy, whether it’s running, playing sports, playing with your kids or your dog, gardening or rock climbing. The more active you are, the more calories you’ll burn.
Of course, none of this will have much effect unless you eat healthfully. After all, you need to fuel your workouts and nourish your body but the key is to not eat too much. Burning more calories than you consume is the most important factor in losing weight. Keep it simple and sustainable - something you can continue for your whole life....and never go hungry!
Eat Your Veggies
Maximise foods that are nutritious and fiber-rich but not calorie dense like fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes/pulses.
Get your Protein
Also, eat plenty of protein (0.5g to 1g per kilo of lean body weight depending on your activity level) and healthy fats like unsaturated fats (only 20% to 30% of your calories should come from fats). The rest of your calories can come from carbs. They are not the bad guys as all those keto fanatics will tell you.
Cut down the junk
Minimise calorie-dense foods like fried foods, desserts, processed meats and grains. Don’t worry, I’m not asking to eliminate them. Just have them less frequently and in moderation.
Track your nutrition with apps like MyFitnessPal. Even the act of journaling the food you eat has a significant effect on what you eat.
Try out these resources to get your workouts and lots of other information:
FitnessBlender: For those of you who can't join a gym or prefer to work out at home
muscleforlife.com: An excellent resource for evidence based fitness that works
This is as simple as it gets if you want to lose fat and get fitter. It doesn't have to be complicated or expensive. It won't be easy either, but make sure you make changes in your lifestyle one step at a time, and then stick with them. Consistency is the key to success. Remember that. And yes, this is a lifestyle, not a short-term diet. Figure out what works for you and stick to it. And if you ever have questions or suggestions, just put them in the comments.