By determining and establishing the reasons you decide to lose weight, can help with your willingness or motivation during the weight loss phases that you are about to encounter, as previously mentioned. Although you can’t spot reduce fat, you can target building lean muscle tissue, which in turn helps burn fat. Here Dr. Joseph Mercola, Mercola.com, reflects on how to lose belly fat:
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“Many find that their abdominal area is particularly difficult to firm and tone and contrary to popular belief, solely doing standard sit ups is not likely to be of much help. Learning effective methods for shrinking your waistline is worth the effort however, as the benefits extend far beyond mere aesthetics.
Abdominal fat actually produces inflammatory molecules, and high inflammation levels in your body can trigger a wide range of systemic diseases linked with metabolic syndrome. This is why carrying extra weight around your middle is linked to type 2 diabetes, heart disease, strokes, and other chronic diseases.
Besides aesthetics and reducing your disease risk, having strong core muscles will also allow you to maintain good posture, conduct everyday movements of reaching and bending more easily and safely, continue to have strong continence, and sustain strong balance and stability.
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But why is it so difficult to shed fat from this area, despite hard workouts? The featured article in Time Magazine1 lists several potential reasons why you're not losing belly fat. Below, I will provide you with basic exercise tips on how to lose belly fat effectively. To summarize, these include:
• Doing high-intensity interval training (HIIT)
• Incorporating Buteyko breathing into your workout
• Adding strength training to your program
• Doing functional core-strengthening exercises like planking instead of just the standard sit-up
I have also included a few lifestyle strategies that may help you lose belly fat, which include adding fiber and probiotics to your diet, following a nutrient tracker and more.
Age May Be a Factor, But It's Not an Excuse
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With age, your body chemistry changes, and many of those changes make it increasingly difficult to lose weight. For example, around the age of 30, your human growth hormone (HGH) level begins to drop off, and HGH helps with both fat metabolism and muscle building. And, as noted in the featured article:
“Both men and women experience a declining metabolic rate… On top of that, women have to deal with menopause. ‘If women gain weight after menopause, it's more likely to be in their bellies,' says Michael Jensen, MD, professor of medicine in the Mayo Clinic's endocrinology division.”
The good news is that you can counteract this chain of events, provided you make and maintain the appropriate lifestyle changes. Choosing your exercise wisely is perhaps the most efficient way to bolster your body's capacity to function optimally as you get older, and this includes maintaining healthy hormone levels.
Many people fail to realize that exercise can have a pronounced effect on your hormone production, naturally raising sex hormones and HGH, for example, which can have a more or less direct bearing on weight management.
Three Exercise Mistakes That May Be Sabotaging Your Fitness Efforts
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The featured article lists three common exercise mistakes that could be sabotaging your efforts to lose that stubborn belly fat. This includes choosing the wrong kind of workout, doing the exercises incorrectly, and/or doing exercises that aren't challenging enough.
For starters, most people tend to focus on traditional cardio workouts when trying to lose weight, but running on a treadmill is typically not going to have any major impact on your waist size. Part of the problem is that cardio is among the least effective forms of exercise when it comes to weight loss.
Instead, opt for high-intensity interval training (HIIT). Several studies have confirmed that exercising in shorter bursts with rest periods in between burns more fat than exercising continuously for an entire session. High-intensity interval exercises are at the core of my Peak Fitness routine. This short intense training protocol improves muscle energy utilization and expenditure due to its positive effects on increasing muscle mass and improving muscle fiber quality.
Muscle tissue burns three to five times more energy than fat tissues, so as you gain muscle, your metabolic rate increases, which allows you to burn more calories, even when you're sleeping. HIIT is also extremely time efficient. You can actually lose more weight by reducing the amount of time you spend exercising, because when you're doing HIIT, you only need 20 minutes, two to three times a week.
Any more and you'll overdo it! The key factor that makes interval training so effective is intensity. To reap maximum results, you need to work out at maximum intensity, with rest periods in between spurts.
It's also important to remember to keep upping the intensity as you get fitter. Again, if the exercise is not challenging enough, you're not going to reap results. You can get the details on how to properly perform high-intensity interval exercises in the following video demonstration.
I also recommend incorporating Buteyko breathing into your workout, which involves breathing through your nose while doing your workout. This raises the challenge to another level, but it will also help you pace yourself as you may need to slow down in order to keep breathing through your nose.
Proper Diet Is Key for Success
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No matter how much or how well you exercise, all your efforts may come to naught if you're still eating processed foods, too many carbohydrates, and the wrong kinds of fat. Eating right is key for any kind of weight loss success, and it's downright crucial when you're trying to get rid of visceral fat around your internal organs. As noted in the featured article:2
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