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How To Lose Belly Fat

How To Lose Belly Fat

Spare tire, love handles, muffin top, pot belly…all somewhat comical terms for belly fat. Most people don’t like having that extra flab around their midsections, but we tend to just put up with it. Most of us have tried some diet or bought a video teaching us how to do a perfect crunch. But there is too much conflicting advice out there, and besides, we’ve failed in the past so there’s no guarantee we’ll succeed anyway.

Take heart, there is a truly effective strategy to lose belly fat, but you may have to loosen up some old preconceptions. Please note that in this article I am specifically talking about fat loss as opposed to overall weight loss (fat, muscle & water).

The strategy involves both diet and exercise – nothing new there. However, it entails 2 unique ways of going about it.

The Diet – Become a Fat/Protein-Burner

Low-carbohydrate nutrition is one of the most-effective ways of shedding pounds of fat from the body.

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Why?

Basically, the body burns energy in the following order:

  1. Carbohydrate (from food and stored glycogen)
  2. Fat (from food and bodyfat)
  3. Protein (from food and muscle tissue)

If you eat what most government guidelines recommend you eat, you are a carb-burner. It then becomes obvious that in order to become a fat-burner, you should reduce the current primary energy source i.e. carbohydrate.

When you do this, your body takes a few days to flip a ‘metabolic switch’ and become a fat-burning machine. At that point, the fat you eat gets consumed first, and then you start burning away bodyfat as your primary source of energy. Obviously, you don’t therefore consume copious amounts of fat, and you don’t need to go zero carb to benefit. Anything under 100 grams of carbs a day is considered ‘low-carb’, but ideally under 60 grams would produce great results.

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On low-fat diets (which by nature are high-carb diets), when your ‘food calories’ are gone, the body will burn a mixture of both fat and muscle tissue (protein). As muscle is ‘metabolically active’ — it burns calories all day long just by being there — losing it is a disaster for the dieter. Their metabolism will continually slow down over time.

This is one of the main reasons why low-fat diets very often produce temporary results: you lose weight for a while, but then it stops working (as your metabolism has crashed) and you pile it back on – and then some!

Notes

Low-carb diet works for many people but it might not be for everyone. The key is always to see which one works for you best. Nevertheless, the above suggestion and explanation hopefully can provide you a new perspective and approach to get rid of your belly fat. Just give it a try and listen to your body’s reaction!

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The Exercise – Cardio or Interval Training?

Loads and loads of cardio, right? Wrong.

Overdoing cardiovascular exercise will also put your body in a state where it breaks down lean muscle tissue (catabolism). So the question is, how do we complement our fat-burning nutritional strategy with fat-burning exercise.

It’s called ‘Interval Training’, or more specifically ‘High Intensity Interval Training’. The idea is to perform some sort of cardio in ‘fits and starts’ i.e. a period of lower intensity followed by a period of higher intensity.

Why?

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Research shows that this type of work burns more fat than steady-state cardio, typically by about 50%. In fact, one study showed a 9 fold increase in fat loss [1] for HIIT compared to low-medium intensity cardio.

Also, with respect to belly fat in particular, research has shown (though the reason is not clear at this time) that HIIT can produce more fat loss in this area than other parts of the body. An Australian study found that the HIIT group lost 3 times more fat and significantly more belly fat than the steady-state cardio group who actually exercised for twice as long!

The even better news is that HIIT need only be performed for 10-20 minutes at a time.

Hopefully you can see that these unique approaches to diet and nutrition will work synergistically to produce truly effective fat-loss:

  1. Get your body to burn fat for energy.
  2. Then add exercise that will utilize the most fat possible.

There’s obviously more to talk about on this topic, but a single post doesn’t permit me to get into it all. I hope you enjoyed it and if nothing else, you feel inspired to find any weight-loss program that you feel you can work with to bring permanent results.

Reference

[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8028502

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Last Updated on March 13, 2019

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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6. Paint a vision to work towards.

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

8. Have a quick nap.

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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9. Remember why you are doing this.

Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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