One of the most common questions I get asked is how to lose stubborn belly fat. Belly fat is actually the most dangerous type of fat – besides aesthetics and looking great in a swimsuit, a large waistline can be an indicator to many leading diseases.
Unfortunately it takes a little more effort than a few sit ups in the gym, in fact your abs are primarily made in the kitchen! So how do you shape up and look fabulous in your swimsuit? And, most importantly become healthier? Incorporate these 10 things and you will be on your way to decreasing stomach fat!
1. Your Nutrition
Real food doesn’t come in a box, have a shelf life, or have a long list of ingredients you can’t pronounce. If you are on a diet that is mainly sourced from pre-packaged foods then you need to change your eating habits.
Consistently dieting and not fueling properly can sabotage your weight loss progression. Start eating the right foods in the right amounts and you’ll realize the best way past a sluggish metabolism is to ignite it with clean, healthy and close to nature foods. Start thinking of food as your fuel and be sure to feed your engine well.
2. You Aren’t Pushing Beyond Your Comfort Zone
Do you find that you are spending more time chatting then you are working out? Do you ease through a workout without even breaking a sweat or feeling a good muscle fatigue? If so, then you probably aren’t getting the results you want. The only way to get more athletic and keep the body you want involves doing things you may not necessarily love. I always tell a client “If you don’t love training a specific muscle group then it is a sign that you need to be training it!”. Step out of your comfort zone and push your self with each rep, set and workout, it will deliver the best results with increased muscle definition and more calories burned!
3. You’re Not Lifting Weights Or You’re Not Lifting Heavy Enough
The famous words I hear most often are; “I don’t want to bulk up”. First off, no one accidentally bulks up. Bulking up and adding muscle tissue takes precise training and nutrition. Just because you progress from a five-pound dumbbell to a ten-pound dumbbell, does not mean that you will bulk up and turn into the hulk over night. Increasing your muscle mass will in fact increase your metabolism which will therefore increase your overall fat burning. You can keep doing the same cardio routine and get the same results, or you can lift heavier weights, put on a couple of pounds of lean muscle tissue, and start burning more calories at rest and continue to get leaner.
4. You Don’t Hydrate Properly
Nothing leads to exhaustion more quickly than not fueling properly with clean foods and water. 75% of your muscle tissue and 10% of your fat tissue is comprised of water, so it’s important to replenish it frequently. When you factor in variables such as intensity of exercise and temperature, your body requires water every ten to twenty minutes during exercise. Always carry water with you and drink up!
5. You Drink Too Much Alcohol
If you’re dissatisfied with your fitness level or your body, you have two choices; either continue to drink wine every day or have the body you desire- but not both! Alcohol contains empty calories, meaning it’s a simple sugar and is metabolized in the body as fat. That right, it is almost immediately stored as body fat! Alcohol can also interfere with your recovery as well as your exercise performance. Limit alcohol to your cheat day or weekends
6. You Wear Worn Out or Incorrect Footwear
One of the first things I address when working with a new client is their footwear, especially if they are complaining of any joint pain from impact related exercises such as running and plyometrics. If you’re going to invest in a gym membership, a personal trainer, you should also invest in proper footwear. I recommend changing your footwear every 6 months to ensure support and comfort. As well, be sure to go to a specialized store where you can be properly fitted for your body and specific exercise demand. Do your feet pronate or supinate? Do you have a short running stride? Do you even know? When you start wearing the right shoes for the right activities you will maximize your results and save yourself from discomfort and potential injury.
7. You Don’t Rest, Maintain or Recover From a Workout
If you exercise a lot and don’t prepare your body properly with rest and recovery then you are potentially setting yourself up for setbacks. Rest and maintenance are crucial for injury prevention and optimal results. Stretching, myofascial release, proper nutrition, supplementation and rest will help with recovery and repair of the muscle tissue. If you aren’t getting the results you desire, look to what you’re doing when you are not exercising to maintain and recover your body.
8. You’re Only Active Three Days per Week
As much as I am a firm believer in adequate rest and believe you should not repeat the same exercise patterns daily; truth be told the human body is meant to move! I recommend to all my clients that you should be doing something physically active every day, whether it’s traditional exercise or simply “Active” rest. For overall general health, the American Heart Association recommends a minimum of five days a week of at least thirty minutes of moderate intensity cardiovascular exercise with an additional two days a week of muscle strengthening activity. This can be broken up over the week for a total of 7 days!
9. You Do the Same Routine Everyday
Repeating the same exercises and workouts will not get you the results that you are looking for. Have you ever noticed people in the gym who repeat the same workout always look the same? Our bodies are incredible machines, which can acclimate to whatever we throw at them. I always tell my clients to step outside of their comfort zone and challenge themselves to a new exercise or program for best results. We always grow through change – both physically and mentally.
10. You Set Unrealistic Goals
Many of us are guilty of holding ourselves to high, unrealistic expectations. We desire to look like a model in a magazine when many of the models are either seasoned athletes and/or fitness models or have been airbrushed to create a certain look. Set realistic short and long-term goals and assess on a monthly, weekly and daily basis to ensure you are on track with your progression or lack of. Identify your unique shape and make improvements where you feel you will benefit from naturally.