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8 Eye-Opening Tips To Shake Off Your Stubborn Belly Fat

8 Eye-Opening Tips To Shake Off Your Stubborn Belly Fat

With the holidays just around the corner, now is the time to think about what you’ll do with that plate of turkey and mac n’ cheese — will you be stuffed like a turkey or will you be svelte for the new year?

There are many reasons why the holidays are a grand time. They are a time in which to be happy — you are spending time with family, friends, and loved ones and exchanging stories and gifts. This is also the time of fatty foods and “soul” food cooking that may taste amazing (like seriously amazing), but can be harmful to your health and your happiness.

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Here are 8 tips to help you lose those that stubborn belly fat and keep it off during the holidays!

1. Drink Plenty Of Water

Yes, it’s a rule as old as time, or at least as old as whenever the USDA created those guidelines. Drinking at least eight 8-oz glasses of water a day will help you not only maintain your weight but aid in weight loss. You’ll also start to notice changes in your skin and nail health. It promotes an overall healthy body and keeps your skin glowing, your waist slimmer, and your hair shinier!

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2. Don’t Go Back For That Second Helping

During the holidays, it is normal for us all to go back to the kitchen for second, sometimes even third, helpings, but this is not good. If you’re trying to stay slim and not feel like your zipper on your pants is about to bust open, it is important to avoid over-indulging in holiday foods. There is nothing wrong with having a slice of grandma’s famous sweet potato pie, but going back for the whole pie should be avoided!

3. Create A Plan

Everything you do in your life requires some plan of attack or some idea of how you want to achieve it. This is very true for losing weight and getting rid of belly fat — you must create a plan of action on how you want to drop those extra pounds. It is as simple as taking time one afternoon and writing down what your goals are for weight loss, whether it’s to fit in that new dress for Christmas or just to be beach ready for the Spring!

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4. Do More Cardio Exercises

Cardio and other exercises lead to smaller waistlines, but also happier attitudes. When you exercise, you release endorphins that aid in you feeling happier, and nothing brings about more happiness than seeing the results of your hard work. You know your body better than anyone, and you know what exercises are more challenging for you, so it is important to always consult a doctor or medical professional before engaging in rigorous activity.

5. Start Off Slow

Losing weight, especially belly fat, can take time — nothing is ever done in a few weeks. Those fad diets and juice fasts will help you to lose weight, but usually you’re losing muscle and the results don’t last. In order to lose belly fat and keep it off, you must change your habits and your routine and make up in your mind that you are ready to be healthier. Losing belly fat must start with you taking it slow and changing a few habits, then incorporating exercise and portion control.

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6. Eat More Protein And Less Sugar (You Can Still Eat!)

When dropping belly fat, it is important to not completely stop eating and to starve yourself — that is detrimental to not only your weight loss but your overall health! Eat more foods that are high in protein, such as chicken, eggs, salmon, and lamb. Eat less foods that are high in sugar and fat, such as pies, cake, ice cream, cookies, and the like. Many may think it is hard to eat less sugars due to the holidays. However, sweet potatoes and yams, not cooked in all that extra butter and sugar, are healthier and are still a sweet alternative to indulging in holiday sweets.

7. Eat More Fiber (Yes, Jaime Lee Curtis Was Right)

Eating more fiber not only helps to regulate your digestive system but it aids in losing belly fat. All those commercials were right, incorporating more fiber into your diet will help you to feel better and less bloated.

8. Keep A Journal

It is important to document your weight loss and to keep track of what you’re eating and your weight loss goals. There is nothing wrong with having a journal at any age, not only can you express your frustrations but you can also have a physical representation of your goals and you can check them off each time you achieve them. So, this holiday when your family asks why you’re writing in that notebook, tell them that you’re trying to make it into the new year with a slimmer waistline!

Featured photo credit: Viktor Hanacek via picjumbo.com

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Last Updated on August 15, 2018

7 Amazing Things That Will Happen When You Do Plank Every Day

7 Amazing Things That Will Happen When You Do Plank Every Day

Bodyweight exercises are gaining ground in the fitness world due to the practicality and simplicity of getting in shape using your own body weight. Planks are one form of bodyweight exercises that will never go out of fashion. Planks are one of the most effective exercises you can do. Why? Because they require a small time investment on your part, and offer the chance to achieve substantial results in a relatively short span of time.

Video Summary

Why is it important to train up our core strength?

There are numerous sites and blogs which detail ways to build your core muscles or core strength. Often though, these sites neglect to explain what your core muscles actually are, and why building them is important.

This is quite surprising, as core muscles are quite easy to explain. Your core muscles are a series of muscles in your midsection, and are used in most forms of movement. Though they aren’t housed in your arms or legs, your core muscles can help transfer force from one limb to another, or are used in addition to muscles in your arms or legs to increase their effectiveness. As such a strong core will make a big improvement on your ability to move and exercise further.

Also they are great for helping other muscles in your midsection such as your abdominal muscles. Your abdominal muscles are important for supporting your back and spinal column, and as such are important aids in preventing injuries. However for them to be most effective you need to spend a lot of time developing your core muscles.

In short, planking exercises can make a huge improvement in your muscles down your whole body. Making them a hugely effective exercise to perform.

One Exercise, multiple benefits

There are few forms of exercise as effective at building your core as planking exercises. However, planking exercises benefit far more than just your core strength.

By holding yourself in the position for a planking exercise, you’ll notice that your biceps, neck, and shoulder muscles are also being tested and strained. This this encouraging their buildup and development. This is great news if you like to do press ups, developed shoulder muscles will have a big impact on your press up performance.

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When planking, you are holding yourself up through your arms and biceps and so by holding a planking position, your arm muscles are being toned and developed. Making planking a great alternative exercise to other forms of bicep developing exercises.

Moving down your midsection, successful plank exercises actually develop the muscles in your butt! These muscles tend to be ignored by a lot of exercises, so this is another great benefit of plank exercises.

In much the same way as you develop your biceps and arm muscles, holding the planking position helps develop the muscles in your thighs too.

What is even better is that planking exercises don’t take much time at all. In fact you should probably only spend about ten minutes max per day in the planking exercise.

What will happen when you start doing planks every day

    1. You’ll improve core definition and performance: 

    Planks are an ideal exercise for the abdominal muscles exactly because they engage all major core muscle groups including the transverse abdominus, the rectus abdominusthe external oblique muscle, and the glutes. The importance of strengthening each muscle group cannot be underestimated either, for all of these groups serve their own purpose. If you strengthen these muscle groups you will notice:

    • Transverse abdominis: increased ability to lift heavier weights.
    • Rectus adbominis: improved sports performance, particularly with jumping. This muscle group is also responsible for giving you the renowned six pack look.
    • Oblique muscles: improved capacity for stable side-bending and waist-twisting
    • Glutes: a supported back and a strong, shapely booty.

    2. You’ll decrease your risk of injury in the back and spinal column

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      Doing planks is a type of exercise that allow you to build muscle while also making sure that you are not putting too much pressure on your spine or hips. According to the American Council on Exercise, doing planks regularly not only significantly reduces back pain but it also strengthens your muscles and ensures a strong support for your entire back, especially in the areas around your upper back.

      Check out this article if you would like to find out about how doing planks on different surfaces can impact the effectiveness of this exercise in strengthening your core.

      3. You’ll experience an increased boost to your overall metabolism

        Planking is an excellent way of challenging your entire body because doing them every day will burn more calories than other traditional abdominal exercises, such as crunches or sit-ups. The muscles you strengthen by doing this exercise on a day-to-day basis will ensure that you burn more energy even when sedentary. This is especially important if you are spending the majority of your day sitting in front of a computer. Also, making it a daily 10- to 1 minute home exercise before or after work will not only provide an enhanced metabolic rate but it will also ensure that that metabolic rate remains high all day long, (yes, even while you are asleep).

        4. You’ll significantly improve your posture

          Planking exercises have a great impact and improvement on your posture. This is great news as a strong posture brings with it a huge number of fantastic benefits .

          A good posture keeps your bones and joins in the correct alignment which means both your bones and joints will be better maintained and more healthy, but also means the overall effectiveness of your muscles will be improved.

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          A good posture will ensure your back or spine is in the correct position and so you will suffer less back pain.

          On top of everything, someone with good posture looks better, healthier, and more confident.

          5. You’ll improve overall balance

            Have you ever felt that when you tried standing on one leg, you couldn’t stand up straight for more than a couple of seconds? It’s not because you were drunk- unless you happened to be at the time!-  but rather, it’s because your abdominal muscles weren’t strong enough to give you the balance you needed. Through improving your balance by doing side planks and planks with extensions you will boost your performance in every kind of sporting activity.

            6. You’ll become more flexible than ever before

              Flexibility is a key benefit of doing planks regularly, for this form of exercise expands and stretches all your posterior muscle groups – shouldersshoulder blades, and collarbone – while also stretching your hamstrings, arches of your feet, and toes. With a side plank added in to the mix, you can also work on your oblique muscles. This will provide you with further benefits when it comes to hyper-extending your toes, a movement that is crucial for supporting your body’s weight.

              7. You’ll witness mental benefits

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                Plank exercises have a particular effect on our nerves, making them an excellent means of improving overall mood. How? Well, they stretch out muscle groups that contribute to stress and tension in the body. Just think about it: you are sitting in your chair, at home or at work, all day long; your thigh muscles get tight, your legs get heavy due to being bent for several hours; and tension develops in your shoulders due to being forced to slump forward all day. These are all circumstances that put too stress on the muscles and nerves. The good news is that planks not only calm your brain, but they can also treat anxiety and symptoms of depression– but only if you make it part of your daily routine.

                How to hold a plank position

                1. Get into pushup position on the floor.
                2. Now bend your elbows 90 degrees and rest your weight on your forearms.
                3. Keep your torso straight and rigid and your body in a straight line from ears to toes with no sagging or bending.
                4. Your head is relaxed and you should be looking at the floor.
                5. Hold the position for as long as you can.
                6. Remember to breathe. Inhale and exhale slowly and steadily.
                7. When your form begins to suffer, pull the plug. You’re only benefiting from the plank by actually doing the plank.

                Watch the video if you have any doubt!

                Here is a great infographic that shows the best plank variation exercises to evenly target all abdominal muscle groups:

                  How to improve your plank time gradually

                  1. Start with the easier variation if needed. You can start with a bent-knee plank if you can’t perform a regular plank yet. If you can hold a plank for more than two minutes with ease, you can move on to these tougher variations.
                  2. Practise every day. Space your planking exercise throughout the day and do 3-4 times every day. Try to hold the position 10 seconds longer each time.
                  3. Perform other body-weight exercises at the same time. Push-up and squat will improve your core strength too.

                  Are you ready to devote 5-10 minutes of your day, every day, to stay fit, healthy and, most importantly, strong as a bull? Then jump in and make doing plank exercises a part of your life.

                  Who Should Be Cautious Doing The Plank?

                  You need to be cautious doing Planking exercises if any of these risks apply to you:

                  • Prolapse
                  • After prolapse surgery
                  • Pelvic pain conditions
                  • Weak or poorly functioning pelvic floor muscles
                  • Previous childbirth
                  • Overweight

                  Choose an alternative pelvic floor abdominal exercise or consult your doctor before performing plank regularly.

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