We all want to get rid of more belly fat, but a thinner waist is about more than just vanity.
Excess belly fat correlates with many diseases such as diabetes, coronary heart disease, and certain cancers (1). This means that your quest for flat abs is definitely worth the effort and here are 3 steps to help you get there.
Getting flat abs may seem impossible, but it is achievable when the right strategies are used. If you’re looking for a direct path with less frustration, join my weight loss program Reset, Renew, Results which starts April 6. You’ll learn the foundation and strategies that promote belly fat loss and overall weight loss. You can find all the details here.
When people want to lose weight, and specifically belly fat, they typically focus primarily on exercise, but this is an incomplete approach.
Your first step will be a focus on nutrition.
With a consistent focus on the right foods, you’ll be amazed at what you can accomplish. What you eat, when you eat, and how you cook your food all have a huge impact on inflammation, weight loss, and health. Here are a few top strategies for you to implement.
Eliminating added sugar from your diet will have an immediate impact on the scale and how you feel physically, mentally, and emotionally. People who remove added sugar from their diet are amazed to discover the degree to which their mood and energy were affected by sugar consumption. Eliminating sugar takes some effort, but it is actually simple to do. Start by reading food labels and not buying products with added sugar. This is not to say that you won't ever eat sugar. There will be celebrations and birthday cakes, which you should enjoy, but these are exceptions and a good lifestyle with the occasional exception won't ruin your health.
2. Replace sugar with healthy fats.
If you're still struggling with the notion that eating fat is not healthy, I recommend that you read 'The Big Fat Surprise' by Nina Teicholz. This book lays out the scientific research explaining why our bodies are healthiest on a diet with ample amounts of fat. The book will help you understand why saturated fat is not your enemy and why you should include it in your diet. A diet high in good fats and low in carbohydrates helps to fight heart disease, obesity and diabetes.
3. Eliminate synthetic coloring dyes, additives, and flavorings.
Read the label and choose wisely. Instead of focusing on calories, focus on the quality of the nutrients in the foods you choose. The less ingredients on the food label, the better. More than 2,500 chemical substances are added to foods to modify flavor, color, stability, texture, or cost. In the United States, there isn't a requirement to perform tests to determine the carcinogenic affect for most substances added to food . This applies to hundreds of flavoring agents and additives approved before the 1958 Food Additives Amendment (P.L. 85–929) to the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (U.S. Congress, 1958), and additives used at levels considered low by the FDA, except for suspected carcinogens. (2)
Next, you'll want to address visceral fat through high-intensity interval training (HIIT)
Remember to always consult with your physician before starting any exercise program.
People who interval train have far more fat loss compared with endurance trainers. High-intensity training involves a short burst of all-out effort with periods of lower intensity or rest. You want your heart rate to go above 80% of your personal maximum. I wear a heart rate monitor to make sure I am in the right heart rate zone.
The amount of time spent at a high intensity depends on your fitness and experience. If you're new to HIIT training start with short periods of intensity. The research suggests you can start with as little as 6 seconds (2), but you do want to increase the duration as you become more fit. A stationary bicycle works well for HIIT training. There are so many other options and the ones I like best are the ones you can do from home, like body weight exercises and stair climbing.
A study by researchers at Liverpool John Moores University tested intervals of 1:1 and 1:3 (high:recover) times and found that intervals of 1:1 resulted in better fitness, while both intervals resulted in the same amount of fat loss. If you’re looking to improve fitness and fat loss, you may want to consider a 1:1 ratio for your intervals, meaning the high and recovery intervals are the same amount of time.
Make sure you warm up for 10 minutes then perform a hard effort of your chosen activity 4 to 6 times. Follow each hard effort with a recovery period. For example, if you enjoy being outside, you could jog /run for a minute followed by one minute of brisk walking. Repeat this 4 to 10 times.
You also want to stay strong with the right ab exercises.
Your core is everything from shoulders down to the hips. This includes all the muscles at the front, back, and sides of the torso. A strong core protects your back and allows you to go about your day and not be restricted in what you do.
It’s important to keep changing up your routine to help eliminate boredom and this will also have a greater impact on your results. When you do the same routine over and over again, you’ll notice diminishing results. You may even find your mind wandering and thinking about other things. Instead of just going through the motions keep variety in your routine so that you are more interested and focused which will give you better results.
Variety can be introduced in many ways. You can incorporate different exercises for a specific muscle group instead of doing the same exercises all the time. Or you can add more weight or more repetitions. You can change the type of equipment you’re using like bands, weights, TRX.
I love to use the TRX because no matter what body part I'm focusing on I'm still using my core. You can see in this video the strong involvement of my core even though I'm working on triceps.
A few of my favorites include:
Tabletop with arm and leg extension