Accumulation of excessive belly fat (deep and superficial) in your body due to poor diet, lack of sleep, sedentary lifestyle, excessive alcohol drinking, and a stressful lifestyle can cause serious health problems.
You cannot lose your belly fat by just doing numerous repetitions of crunches. It would be best to focus on overall fat loss and balancing your hormones. It also involves lifestyle modification by giving importance to healthy and balanced eating, proper recovery, and enough movement.
Your mindset should be about losing the extra body fat around your body instead of just focusing on weight loss. If you want to develop well-defined or toned abs, incorporate more challenging core moves in your regular workout routine.
I combined my personal experience, encounters with clients, and scientifically proven strategies to develop tips on losing stubborn belly fat effectively.
Be aware of your body type
Patterns of fat loss would depend on a person’s body type. If you are top-heavy, you will find it more challenging to lose belly fat than someone who is bottom-heavy. You can lose inches off your waist, but it will be the last one to go.
It would be best to focus on overall fat loss by changing your eating and adding more movement to your lifestyle. Just be patient, and you can achieve a smaller waistline by being consistent with your healthy lifestyle program.
Consider your life stage
Hormones play a significant role in developing extra belly fat. As you grow older, you will notice changes in your body, especially as you reach your mid-forties, approaching the peri-menopausal stage.
According to studies, during menopause, estrogen (a sex hormone responsible for regulating the female reproductive system) levels drop. It can be a cause of unfavorable belly fat accumulation. Don’t wait for this stage to happen before you do something about your body. As early as now, it would help if you did everything possible to embrace a healthy lifestyle.
Manage your stress
Getting enough sleep, managing your stress, and giving time for recovery is crucial when it comes to losing your belly fat. Cortisol is a hormone produced by your body to deal with short-term stress. High levels of cortisol in your body on a long-term basis, however, can cause weight gain and other health problems. The only way to regulate the amount of cortisol is to manage your stress by getting seven to eight hours of sleep, practicing breathing exercises and meditation, getting a massage, and starting a mild to moderate exercise program.
Remember that restricting your body from nutrients while overexercising can stress your body and affect your hormones. That’s why you need to practice everything in moderation.
You can feel the balance within your system when your energy levels during exercise are high and fully functional (mentally, emotionally, and physically) during the day. Another indicator is when your recovery is sufficient to prepare you for the next day to handle the same (or more) type and volume of workload.
Modify your eating
Aside from going beyond the recommended calorie intake per day, studies show that excessive sugar consumption from sodas and other sweets products can attract deep and superficial belly fat. The American Heart Association’s (AHA) recommended sugar consumption for women is up to six teaspoons a day and up to nine teaspoons for men. A serving of soft drinks, ice tea, or fruit beverages already contains six to eight teaspoons of sugar. You can also read nutrition labels of snacks, yogurt, and cereals and check the amount of sugar (one teaspoon of sugar is equivalent to 4 grams and 16 calories).
Focus on healthy food regularly such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains, seafood, lean meat, chicken (without the skin), seeds, and nuts. Aside from sweets, lessen other high-calorie foods that can easily cause fat gain:
Fatty foods – deep-fried, fat from meat, dairy products, chips, bacon, sausage, ham
Refined carbs- white bread, pasta, noodles, cereals, pizza, pastries
Balance your workout routine
To lose body fat effectively, you need to be consistent with your daily workouts. It is why you need to get a good balance of cardio and strength workouts during the week. Do cardio on most days of the week for a healthy heart. Incorporate strength training at least twice a week to build muscles needed to improve overall strength, reshape your body, increase metabolism and burn extra fats.
Good endurance is important every time you execute your strength training routine to progress your intensity and get better results. A good strength workout is needed to sustain your cardio workouts by improving your exercise posture and strengthening your lower body and core–important in preventing injuries while doing prolonged cardio exercises such as running and cycling.
Try high-calorie full-body strength training workouts
If you are trying to lose weight and only have three times a week to dev workouts, do full-body strength training workouts rather than focusing on one to two body parts for each session. Full-body exercises, especially involving lower-body moves like squats and lunges, can raise your heart rate faster. A higher heart rate within your recommended range means higher calorie burn. It is easier to burn more calories by doing compound moves.
If you are trying to gain more weight (muscle mass) while losing body fat, incorporate a heavyweight training routine in your weekly exercise routine while following a healthy eating plan.
Do the most effective exercises to target your core while burning more calories
Since there is no such thing as spot reduction, instead of doing numerous ab flexion exercises such as sit-ups or crunches, focus more on intense core exercises such as plank (and plank variations) and standing core work.
Sample exercise routines that can challenge your core more and strengthen your whole body while burning more calories
Increase your calorie burn while engaging your abs by doing high repetitions (20 or more reps) of standing ab workouts: flexing the torso to the front, to the side, and adding rotation. Use exercise props such as light dumbbells, resistance bands, and hip or booty bands.
Challenge your core by doing balance training. Standing on one leg while moving the other leg to the front, side, and back for at least ten repetitions can activate your core more and, at the same time, work the rest of your body primarily if you use dumbbells or bands.
While doing floor exercises, target your core in different positions (supine, prone, kneeling, and side-lying). Keep in mind that your core muscles include your abs, waist, lower back, buttocks, and all the deeper muscles beneath. Increase the intensity of your plank exercises by adding lower-body moves like knee tucks or leg lifts and by adding upper body moves such as arm raises or shoulder taps.