People always ask me what is the best way to shrink their belly.
Crunches for the best way to lose belly fat?
Or a 20 minute ab circuit?
Or should they do some sort of ketogenic diet?
Maybe they should start juicing or fasting??
no, nooooo….that's not going to do it!! There are many things that cause a tire around the waist and there are many things that can help you lose belly fat.
The best way to lose belly fat IS NOT BELLY DANCING!! Instead, the best way to lose belly fat revolves around 3 main principals that if you apply it on a consistent basis over and again your belly fat will go down. These are the MAIN principals but there are a million other little things you can add to your arsenal to help assist along the way but if these main principals are not applied CONSISTENTLY then your goal to lose belly fat will always be a struggle.
Cut down on the sugars, processed foods, alcohol and fast foods.
I can't say this enough but our eating habits are a problem. There are so many diets out there that suggest "working out only 20 minutes a day" or "do this exercise every day for the next 30 days" or "our program will turn your body into a fat burning machine" but if you look at all of these programs they all come with a nutrition plan that encourage eating WHOLE FOODS and cutting out the junk food. They focus on keeping refined sugars to a minimum, cutting out alcohol and eating more fibrous vegetables.
Quality nutrition is the best way to lose belly fat. Without a solid diet - one that is filled with nutrient rich foods, fiber filled veggies and quality sources of protein - it will be very difficult to make any headway when it comes to belly fat.
Increase your NEAT (Non Exercise Activity Thermogenesis) and increase your cardio
Another words….GET MOVING. We are a very inactive, sedentary society. Most people on average get only 5,000 steps in per day. In fact, do you know what the most fit society in our country is? I bet you will never guess. But they get an average of 18,000 steps PER DAY. They make all their food from scratch so it's homade and free from processing and preservatives.
"Researchers from the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore studying Old Order Amish — the Amish sect that shuns most modern conveniences — found that middle-aged Amish adults with the so-called "obesity gene" could beat their genetic destiny and maintain and healthy weight through pure physical activity.
The Amish have an obesity rate of 4% compared to 31% in our society. Now, I am not saying that we should become Amish but I do suggest to take what you like and leave the rest. The Amish are WAY more active than we are - they walk nearly everywhere and everything they need to survive revolves around being physical.
Increasing your overall physical activity through basic activity such as mowing your lawn, walking your dog, painting a room, going for a hike, etc. is the first place to start. Even cooking your own meals in your kitchen increases your NEAT (non-exercise activity thermogenesis).
Then set a minimum baseline of some sort of cardio activity. Cardio is not the ultimate key to fat loss because you do need to preserve and build muscle through resistance and strength training. But the best way to lose belly fat is to increase your cardio. Set a minimum baseline in beginning of 20 minutes of walking or if that's too easy try a walk/run combo. When you can run 20 straight minutes then add 5-10 minutes of a walk/run. Eventually build up to 30 minutes of running until you reach the ability to run for 45 minutes sustained.
Here is an excellent video on understanding the impact of exercise on fat loss. It takes about an hour to watch but it's HIGHLY informative PLUS it's FREE.
Seriously....take some time out to watch this video.
This principal was tough for me to decide upon because it was tied between 2 principals - one being cortisol levels and the other being weight training as the best way to lose belly fat. So I am going to include them both but with weight training being associated with cortisol.
Cortisol is a stress hormone which when it is not functioning well can cause an increase in belly fat and the overall size of the waist. Many people who have a large girth also have either elevated levels of cortisol or their cortisol levels are so low all the time that it indicates the adrenals being burned out. If you have not downloaded my FREE REPORT - I talk about this in there as well.
How is cortisol related to weight training?
Well, if you have cortisol levels that don't function the way that they should then weight training should be your exercise of choice since cardio can make cortisol levels worse. Basically, if you have damaged adrenal glands and your cortisol levels do not function normally then it indicates that your body's ability to handle stress is less than optimal. When you add more stressors to your body cortisol levels decline and belly fat often increases in response to this. Cardio is a big stressor on the body because of how it elevates your heart rate for long periods of time. With my clients that have sub-optimal cortisol levels I focus on strength training to increase muscle mass and elevate metabolism and in the meanwhile work on improving cortisol levels through change in lifestyle habits and supplements. When cortisol levels improve then cardio can be added…..slowly.
In short…..if you do not have a cortisol issue which can CAUSE INCREASED BELLY FAT then cardio PLUS weight training is key.
If you do have a cortisol issue then WEIGHT TRAINING is the method of choice along with optimal nutrition habits and supplemental help to improve cortisol levels.
Remember - your primary goal when trying to lose fat is to preserve muscle mass at all costs. This is done by a healthy diet that does not cut calories too much, include resistance training and then utilize increased cardio activity and up your NEAT so you can BURN OFF THE FAT. NEVER starve the muscle in attempts to get rid of fat.
Take my client, Kathryn for example. She applied the Principals listed above and obviously lost fat in her belly. No magic pills, no diet potions or crazy weight loss shakes. Just good nutrition, increased activity and strength training.
The increase in mass elevates your metabolic rate which speeds up your metabolism which helps you burn more fat.
So what is the best way to lose belly fat?
SIMPLE (but not easy).....
Then obviously include this as well:
Drink lots of water
Eat a BIG salad every day full of spring greens, raw cabbage, baby kale, spinach, etc.
Eat a BIG plate of steamed veggies every day.
Stay consistent.....keep it real and you will lose your belly!