Everybody wants a nice toned belly.
It’s a sign of good health and that you’re in good shape.
Excess fat around the stomach area is a particular problem for men that doesn’t look good and can lead to serious health problems.
Belly fat is different from fat found around the thighs, hips and arms, and it comes in two forms.
- Subcutaneous fat: It sits just below the skin and has a role to play in regulating the body’s temperature and protecting the bones and muscles.
- Visceral fat: Which is stored in the abdominal cavity, surrounding important organs like the liver, kidneys, and stomach. The visceral fat deep in your belly secretes harmful compounds and can contribute to cardiovascular disease, body inflammation and other conditions.
In simple terms, taking onboard more calories than you burn is what leads your body to store fat.
However, there are other factors that come into play when it comes to belly fat.
High stress levels and lack of sleep can be just as damaging to your abdominal region as over-eating.
The good news is there are ways to combat belly fat!
Here are 7 of them:
#1 Eat Less Sugar
Sugar increases insulin which causes your body to store fat and make it almost impossible to burn fat when your sugar levels are too high.
Try to cut down on sugary foods, junk food and even fruit.
A diet full of vegetables, fish, meat and natural foods is much healthier for you and will keep your insulin levels more stable.
The number 1 food to avoid is anything containing high fructose corn syrup!
2) Prioritize Protein
Increasing the level of lean protein in your daily diet has many benefits.
But not too much.
Try to eat somewhere between 0.36 and 0.7 percent of your bodyweight in lbs per day.
So if you weight 200lbs (pounds) then eat 72 to 140 grams of protein per day. Eat the upper limit on your heavy workout days and the lower limit on the days you weren’t that active.
Foods rich in protein make you feel fuller for longer, and this means you’ll be less tempted to snack between meals.
Increasing your weekly intake of fish, chicken, turkey, beef, eggs, and tofu can help to increase your lean muscle mass over time.
Use protein rich foods as a replacement for refined carbohydrates like white bread and white pasta, and you’ll notice a natural reduction in belly fat over a period of weeks.
#3 Reduce Your Alcohol Intake
It’s called a “beer belly” for a reason, so cutting alcohol is a proven way to reduce fat storage around your abdomen.
It’s not just the high calorie levels in beer and wine that are the problem, it’s what happens inside your body when you drink alcohol on a regular basis.
Alcohol is turned into acetate, and this becomes the body’s primary energy source.
This means that carbs, fats, and proteins in your digestive system are stored as fat, and this is often in the abdominal region.
It’s ok to tell friends that you’re not drinking tonight. Your health is more important!
If you do drink then go for something low carb like vodka or whiskey.
#4 Boost Your Metabolism
Your metabolism is the rate at which your body uses energy.
Factors like your age, sex, and height determine your metabolic rate, but there are things you can do to rev it up.
Increasing the amount of lean muscle in your body is one of the most effective ways, so hitting the gym on a regular basis will shift belly fat over time.
If you can’t get to the gym then the BodyBeast program is a good weight lifting home workout program and all you need is some dumbbells!
A side effect is that your appetite will also increase, so get into the habit of eating healthy post-gym snacks like bananas, almonds, and cottage cheese.
Certain foods, including nuts, seeds, lentils, and coconut oil can also boost your metabolism.
#5 Do Intermittent Fasting
Intermittent fasting is where you keep your eating window short to something like 8 hours.
The 16:8 protocol is the most common and easiest to follow.
This is where you eat all your meals in an 8 hour window.
You might eat breakfast at 9:30am and then have your last meal at 5:30 at the latest!
This helps to regulate insulin and comes with a whole host of other benefits.
#6 Focus On Short Intense Exercise
Mild activity like walking has little value if you want to lose belly fat quickly. High intensity workouts are far more effective as they burn through your glucose and tap into your fat stores.
So get your heart rate up and do some intense workouts that last no longer than 30 minutes.
I find workouts that last too long make you too tired and demotivate you.
30 minutes per day is a great target.
- The Insanity Program
Here’s a great free workout that lasts 30 minutes that you can do from home!
#7 Reduce Your Calories
This is a simple one. Sign up to https://www.myfitnesspal.com/ and enter in your details and set it to lose 1lb per week and it will calculate how many calories you need to eat per day.
Usually that is something like your maintenance calories minus 300 calories per day.
A calorie deficit will ensure that you are burning off more than you are consuming which will lead to weight loss.
Belly fat sucks. But if you follow these 7 tips then you’ll see results in no time flat!