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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

Love Expert, Relationship Coach, Author

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Published on September 21, 2018

How Long Does it Take to Build Muscle and Increase Fat Loss?

How Long Does it Take to Build Muscle and Increase Fat Loss?

“Can I look like you in 3 months?”

The teenager stared at me, waiting eagerly for a response. It’s a normal day as a certified fitness coach and yet again, I had to grab some flying feet and put them down on the ground of reality again.

“If I would be able to reach this body in 3 months, you think it would’ve taken me 5 years?” I responded smilingly.

In the same moment I tapped the teenager on the shoulder and we both went to the training floor together. Fast forward to today, he eventually reached his dream body. But it took him a little bit longer than 3 months.

In this article, I want to give you a broad overview and answer to the commonly asked question: how long does it take to build muscle and increase fat loss?

Your biggest enemy for building muscle and fat loss

I remember when I joined my first gym years back. After two weeks of continuous training, I saw absolutely no difference in the mirror.

I googled “2 weeks body transformation” and was frustrated by seeing all these pictures by savvy marketers.

We human beings have evolved to seek instant gratification. We can’t wait for things to happen tomorrow. We want them today or even better, yesterday.

It doesn’t matter if we talk about business or our fitness results. If we truly want to make a long-lasting change, we have to delay our innate need to crave gratification instantly and focus on the big picture.

In the book called Grit by Angela Duckworth, a predictor for future success in children was the so called ‘Marshmallow Test’.

The Marshmallow Test works this way. Children are basically given two options:

  1. Eat the marshmallow in front of them right now.
  2. Wait 10 minutes without eating the first marshmallow and get a second marshmallow to eat on top.

This is an insane test of willpower and the ability to delay gratification for an even bigger payoff, as a 10-year old school child. If the child already mastered that crucial skill at such a young age, it was a strong predictor for future success.

We all have to learn how to delay gratification better. Most people overestimate what they can do in one month, but totally underestimate what they can do in 10 years.

What you really need to build muscle fast

Your ground zero

It all matters on which point we start off. Because the reality is:

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Everyone has to start somewhere.

A former Olympic athlete will have an easier time building muscles and losing fat than an avid couch potato. There are mainly two reasons for this:

  • The pre-selected genetic blueprint of the athlete.
  • Work ethic of a professional.

While countless of variables play a role in influencing your success in the gym, it all can be traced back to those crucial points. And the saying still holds merit:

Hard work beats talent, when talent doesn’t work hard. — Tim Notke

A mentor of mine told me years ago that you can succeed in life if you just don’t give up.

You can have average skills, average genetics and average work ethic. As long as you keep improving on your craft, you will succeed.

Not immediately – but definitely and finally.

Setting the right expectations

I’m great at setting unrealistic goals and having the wrong expectations. I wanted to have 100,000 subscribers on my Youtube Channel and at the end of my first year when I started, back in 2015, I ended up with 30.

This is an embarrassing story, but I hope it gets one point across:

Your goals need to be realistic if you can’t deal with the setbacks of not reaching them.

Ending up with 30 subscribers even after pulling frequent all-nighters to get this endeavor rolling was soul-crushing. I contemplated throwing in the towel.

With the right support from my network and discipline, I managed to keep going. The channel has now grown 100-fold in those 3 years.

To find out what is realistic, consider the next timeline.

The muscle growth timeline

Here’s what results you can expect if your main goal is building lean tissue mass. Warning: Genuine muscle growth without performance enhancing drugs takes a long time.

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Of course these time periods can vary individually depending on your genetic blueprint and work-ethic. You might see results sooner, or maybe even later.

The time frame is set to training 2-3 times per week (continuously!).

Pro tip: Ask a friend or hire a coach to boost your progress tremendously.

This is what happens when you decide to join a gym, out of my experience training hundreds of clients:

Month 1-3

Eat – Sleep – Gym – Repeat.

Your motivation is at your peak at this point. You will tell your friends and family about your new workout regime. You will notice slight differences in your appearance, which are mainly nonexistent.

You will experience immense strength gains on your training because your body finally realizes how to use its muscles properly.

Month 3-6

This is the time period where most people break. You will be going to the gym consistently, yet the results won’t come just now. It’s the big dip in the whole process.

Your goal in this phase is to build a habit around your gym visits. You will most likely discontinue to have the all-in mentality as in the first 3 months. You will seek sustainability. Breaking news: It will still be hard.

But in the end it’s all worth it. Trust me.

Month 6-12

“I’ve seen a new vein in my arm!”

The guy came up to me excited. This is the time where the normal person starts to see considerable results in his training.

An old friend will talk to him and see a difference in his body shape. Suddenly, his old t-shirt gets too thin. The frequent gym-goer feels amazing.

Month 12- 24

Fitness is a trojan horse. While you might think frequent training will only change your body shape, your character will be impacted too.

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Your friends and family will notice. You’re more confident, assertive and more happy with your self-image. You feel confident and sure in your abilities because you have achieved what you set out to do.

Breaking news:

You will still not be satisfied. And that’s a good thing. But don’t forget to enjoy the fruits of your labour.

They haven’t come easy.

Month 24+

“That’s what works for me!”

If you’ve been going frequently and consistently (twice every week for 2 years), you can pat yourself on the shoulders.

If you’ve done most things correctly and with a certified coach, you will reach the goal shape at this point. But this is also the point where it can get frustrating.

Further results will come painstakingly slow at this stage. You increasingly have to work on your weaknesses and constantly alter your training to see further results. Be it applying different repetitions, intensity, workout duration, speed or machines.

A lot of people will not see results after this stage because the benefits are not worth the work for them. We have to realize that what got us here, will not get us to the next level.

The fat loss timeline

If you’re trying to lose fat, I have 2 pieces of news for you:

  1. It will come faster. Fat loss has a shorter timeline.
  2. It will be exactly as hard as building muscles, if not harder.

Here’s what you can expect if you’re starting to lose weight. Here again: Proper guidance can speed up the process.

Month 1

“I’ve lost 10kg in the first week!”

Your results will come fast. Too fast.

You will feel exhausted. Most of your weight that you lose will be water. This is the big dip in the whole weight loss process.

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The shocking news: Most people stop their diet in the first month.

Month 2-3

You will reconsider your dieting strategy and opt for more sustainability. You will reintroduce “bad foods” in your diet that you’ve most likely blocked out in the first two weeks or month.

Because balance (and not quitting your diet) is more important to you at this stage than seeing rapid weight loss. Your life quality will increase at this stage.

Month 6-12

At this time frame, you have probably lost more than 10kg. The majority of the people looking to lose weight will be satisfied with their results and shocked by how much of a difference it makes in their appearance.

You will feel more confident, more energized and more self-assured. You would’ve never guessed that you could make it, that you could finally lose your weight – yet you did!

And everyone will notice. “What happened to you?!” – your friends will ask you jealously. Old crushes of you will suddenly initiate contact again just to know what you’re “up to this weekend”.

The fat loss after this stage will come slowly if you haven’t been obese to start with. The goal at this stage is to have created a rock-solid habit out of your gym and eating patterns.

Then you don’t have to worry about the Yo-Yo effect.

Conclusion

“You changed my life!”

The same teenager took me aside at a Monday evening. He had his first date the weekend prior. Apparently it went well.

In the whole time frame we worked together, he built up more than 10 kilograms of muscles. It took him more than 2 years. Yet I’m sure if you’d ask him today, he would tell you that it was all worth it.

Focus on the things that you can control. Losing fat or building muscles might be an overwhelming task to start out with. We have to delay our innate need for instant gratification and focus on the things that we can control.

Changing our genetic blueprint or the responses our muscles have to the training stimulus is not in our hands. But training at least 2 times per week, eating the right foods and setting the right goals and expectations is.

Featured photo credit: Arthur Edelman via unsplash.com

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