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The 5 Best Scientifically Proven Ways to Lose Belly Fat

The 5 Best Scientifically Proven Ways to Lose Belly Fat

The number one reason men and women still have unwanted belly fat is because they aren’t on an effective fat loss routine. You know, like one that actually gets results. No results, no motivation, right?

So, what is the best way to get the kind of results you can actually see in the mirror and keep you motivated to stay on track.

After years of trial and error, here is my list of the 5 best ways to lose belly fat.

1. Get in the Fat Burning Zone

Getting in the Fat Burning Zone means exercising at an intensity and/or duration that actually burns fat. To do this, you have to get your heart rate into a target range that forces your body to burn fat as a source of fuel. Your belly fat burning target heart rate is based on your age. If your exercise routine is not intense enough, you won’t lose your belly fat.

Intensity is only half of the story. Duration is also a factor. To really lose belly fat you may need to exercise everyday for up to an hour or more, depending on what intensity you are working out at.

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Listed here are some exercises to give you an idea of the intensity level you need.

Best Intensity Exercises:

  • Stair Master (600 calories/hour)
  • Elliptical (600 calories/hour)
  • High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) (800 calories/hr)

Best Duration Exercises:

  • Power Walking (450 calories/hr)
  • Swimming (550 calories/hr)
  • Biking (300 calories/hr)

2. Create a Caloric Deficit

Creating a caloric deficit means cutting your calories below your resting metabolic rate (a.k.a. RMR). This is the amount of calories your body needs at rest. For example, a person could have an RMR of 1800 calories a day, so if they eat 1700 calories a day, their body will dip into its fat reserve and burn 100 calories to maintain RMR.

After only a few days of maintaining a caloric deficit, you will start to see an improvement in your waist line. Keep this up over several weeks and you will notice the pounds disappearing.

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Best Low Calorie Foods:

  • Plain Greek Yogurt
  • Green Beans, Refried Beans
  • Celery, Carrots, Cucumbers
  • Broccoli
  • Turkey Breast
  • Lentils

Just remember to also factor in the calories you burn each day by exercising. For example, you may eat 1700 calories, but burn an additional 500 by exercising – so now you are down to 1200 calories. Every individual has different caloric needs, so make sure you don’t cut your calories too low.

3. Eat Foods That Help Burn Fat

Limiting your caloric intake means that now you have to carefully choose what to eat. You will need foods that satisfy your appetite and provide nutrients. Empty calories such as sugars and processed foods are not going to give you sustained energy or nutrients. You will notice that even though you ate, let’s say 1500 calories, you are still going to be hungry and probably tired. Instead, you want to choose foods that not only keep you full, but also actually help you burn fat quickly.

Best Fat Burning Foods:

  • Oats
  • Grapefruit
  • Green Tea
  • Red Peppers
  • Berries
  • Vinegar
  • Proteins
  • Avocados

4. Manage Food Cues and Cravings

Working out and cutting calories is going to initially amplify your thoughts of food, and this is where most people fall off the wagon. During the day, you’ll see others eating unhealthy food, or you will crave your favorite “pick me up” foods such as sugar-packed coffee and pastries, or maybe it’s chips and soda (you get the point).

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The key is to anticipate these cues and cravings and find quick and easy substitutes that can give you a boost. Green tea and a small piece of dark chocolate could get you through the worse cravings. Nuts and a small amount of fruit is also a good choice. If you must have a donut, cut it in half, and share it with a friend. Just don’t do this too often, or you’ll still hang onto that belly fat.

Best Tips to Fight Cues and Craving:

  • Don’t hover around the desert table.
  • Use small plates and limit desert size.
  • Pack healthy snacks.
  • Don’t skip meals.
  • Get support from others who are eating healthy.
  • Keep junk food out of sight.

5. Get Some Sleep

Staying up and worrying about problems or distracting yourself with a late night movie can ruin your chances of getting a good night sleep. No sleep means no energy for working out. Lack of sleep can also lead to food cravings. Your body is pulling at straws, trying to find that quick boost of energy it needs to make it through the day. Usually, these craving are for sugars and salts.

Sleep is also needed for muscle repair after working out. Furthermore, sleep can also improve mood which leads to a positive attitude toward losing weight.

Best Tips for Falling Asleep:

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  • Turn the TV off.
  • Read a text book.
  • Focus on your breathing.
  • Forget about work.
  • Close your eyes even if you don’t feel sleepy.
  • Remember your problems can wait.

Conclusion

To recap, the best way to lose belly fat is to increase the intensity and duration of your exercises so you are actually in the fat burning zone. Create a caloric deficit and choose foods packed with nutrients that keep you full and help you burn fat. Fight off and avoid food cues and cravings by coming up with healthy food substitutes. Sleep is also very important. Make sure to rest up, so you have enough energy to exercise. Sleep also helps reduce food cravings.

As always check with your doctor before starting any exercise or diet plan.

Lastly, consistency is the key. If you want to see immediate results, stay on this plan for at least two weeks before you give up. That means exercising daily for at least an hour, and sticking to the diet plan. Once you’ve given it two weeks, you will not want to stop. Plus, you’ll shrink your belly in no time!

Featured photo credit: Viktor Hanacek via picjumbo.com

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Nick Bastion

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Published on March 8, 2019

How Adding Flow Yoga to Your Workout Routine Boosts Your Gains

How Adding Flow Yoga to Your Workout Routine Boosts Your Gains

When we fall into a workout routine, our moves become automatic, and the body quickly adapts. This is called muscle memory.[1] While teaching your body how to properly execute squats, push-ups, or crunches is a benefit, overly relying on these moves to consistently grow gains won’t yield the kind of results you want. That’s because the muscles work in the same way every time.

Simply put, they’re not being “surprised,” so they get lazy.

Supplementing your routine with flow yoga is one way of surprising your muscles, especially if you are new to the yoga practice and have never tried the postures. It’s like taking a new road home when you drive, deviating from your usual route. Science has found that by doing so, you’re creating new neuropathways in your brain.[2] The same is done in your muscles when you try a new routine.

How is this done? Let’s dive right into it.

How Flow Yoga Boost Your Gains in Your Workout Routine

Think about your current workouts:

If you lift weights, you rely on external tools to engage your various muscle groups. Over time, your shoulders, legs, or biceps will come to expect the weighted plates or dumbbells, in the repetitive sequences that you remember.

In flow yoga, we use the body as the weight. Add gravity and hundreds of different postures and combinations, and you have a workout that uses the same muscle groups, but in many different ways.

A pose such as plank is a full-body workout, with every muscle engaged to keep the body in one long line. While it’s a stationary pose, it requires muscle control and activation, with no room for passivity.

    A Flow sequence, on the other hand, requires your muscle to switch from one pose to another swiftly, providing you with a more balanced and wholesome use of your major muscle groups.

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    Not only do these poses and routines re-energize the body in a refreshing way, they also allow you to learn something new, which is powerful for the mind.

    Bottom line? Complementing your exercise regimen with flow yoga is like hitting the shuffle button on your workouts, using your muscles in ways that “surprise” them, which in turn boost their growth and performance.

    Energizing Flow Yoga with Added Cardio

    Flow yoga is also known as “Vinyasa.”[3] In Sanskrit – the sacred language of the practice and its Indian roots – Vinyasa is roughly translated to “one breath, one movement.”

    This guideline, first and foremost, enhances your breathing, and teaches you how to go from our typical shallow, chest-only breathing, to a more deeper, belly-chest breath that uses the entire lung system.

    Not only is this beneficial for a myriad of healthcare reasons (combat allergies, eliminate toxins, reduce stress, ease anxiety), it also greatly impacts our muscles,[4] and therefore our workout.

    Flooding your muscles with rich oxygen will only keep them healthy, while the cardio benefit will get you warmed up to take on the more challenging postures in a flow yoga class. This prevents injuries and cramping.

    The best example of energizing cardio in flow yoga is the Sun Salutation sequence. Each pose is completed on an inhale or an exhale, until the sequence is finished. One full sequence may be repeated several times, encouraging you to take fuller and deeper breaths. The cycles warm up and loosen the body and prepare the muscles for stationary poses that are held longer.

    Here’s how to do a Sun Salutation Flow:

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    Due to the Sun Salutations, the muscles are not thrown into a challenging workout, but rather primed and prepared with energizing breath.

    Why is this important, you ask? Because happy muscles are warmed-up muscles.

    The Best Thing About Flow Yoga

    The best thing about practicing flow yoga? You’re building strength and flexibility.

    Strength and flexibility are like the Mecca of a wholesome workout routine. Before we get into why this is important, let’s break these two down individually to see how they stand up on their own:

    Meet Strong Stan

    Strong Stan is at the gym, doing bicep curls with massive dumbbells. His muscles have peaked in size, and he proudly displays them.

    While he loves to lift weights, Strong Stan often skips stretching or warm-ups. He just doesn’t see how that could help him continue his muscle gains, so he jumps right into a heavy workout.

    While it’s not evident to a passerby, Stan’s muscles are hurting. Without sufficient flexibility or deliberate stretching, Stan’s muscles are shortening and getting tighter. This eventually leads to joint injuries,[5] because un-stretched muscles have limited range of motion.

    Big muscles are a sure indicator of strength, but here’s the kicker – choosing not to prioritize flexibility will keep them inherently at risk.

    Meet Flexible Fiona

    Flexible Fiona is in a flow yoga class, easing herself into a backbend.[6] She effortlessly gets into the pose, and “hangs” out there for a few breaths while the teacher cues the class.

    Even though the teacher instructs the students to engage their glutes and be mindful that this is an active pose, Flexible Fiona opts otherwise, and relaxes into the posture by sacrificing the strength she ought to be building.

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    To many in the class, Fiona’s execution of the backbend would be a success – maybe even something to envy. However, what Fiona doesn’t realize is that her excessive flexibility is actually a detriment to her joints.[7]

    Flexibility has been defined as the “absolute range of motion” by Tony Gummerson, Martial Arts instructor. For people who are naturally flexible, that line of absolute range is often blurry and, in practice, overlooked.

    It’s very easy for Fiona to go above and beyond her range of motion, since her flexibility parameters are much wider than what Strong Stan may experience in a similar pose.

    Because she doesn’t feel the stretch in the same degree of motion as other students in class, Fiona has to push the envelope of her flexibility. This puts too much pressure on the joints that are already overworked, and it overstretches the muscles that are now prone to tearing.

    Your goal is to create muscle and joint balance and wholeness.

    What Strong Stan and Flexible Fiona have in common is that they’re both missing vital pieces of muscle awareness.

    In Stan’s case, heavy and tight muscles crave flexibility. Without it, not only would Stan hit a plateau in his gains because of a sure injury, but he would miss out on having the lean and toned muscles that we all want to have.

    In Fiona’s case, her overstretched muscles are not getting a workout at all. Rather, her excessive flexibility is resting on her joints, which leads to definite injury.

    So what can you do? It’s quite simple.

    You have to give your muscles the opposite of what they’re used to.

    If you’re a Stan and hate stretching, focusing on your flexibility is key. You will lengthen your tight muscles, and you’ll create new muscle memory by practicing routines that are new to you and your muscle groups.

    If you’re a Fiona and hate strengthening, focusing on this priority is vital. Your muscles are used to being passive as you stretch, so shaking up the usual and putting them to work will not only keep you injury-free, but that much closer to the muscle gains you’ve been looking for.

    Fortunately, flow yoga is the whole package, and can be the one-stop-shop for both Stan and Fiona.

      Final Thoughts

      If you’re serious about using flow yoga to supplement your workout routine to boost gains, sign up for a class at your local gym or yoga studio. There are a number of styles of yoga to try, but as we’ve discussed in this article, the Vinyasa style is your best bet to complement a moderate exercise regimen.

      Many studios offer beginner-style Vinyasa classes, where the instructor will explain the basics, and break down the sequences in a pace that is suitable for entry-level students. From here, the student can build upon their practice, and opt for more challenging, fast-paced classes, such as Power Flow or Ashtanga.

      Working out is a lesson in teaching your muscles. The gains that we grow are the result of that experience, and it all comes down to conditioning our body in a way that is healthy, efficient, and balanced.

      With a practice like flow yoga, we can offer supplemental training to our current regimen that will work our muscles in ways that are new, refreshing, and “surprising.” This method will keep our muscles toned and lean, as long as we prioritize the balance between strength and flexibility to ensure that we’re meeting both of these needs. Our muscle gains and body health depend on it.

      More Resources About Yoga and Fitness

      Featured photo credit: Edit Sztazics via unsplash.com

      Reference

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