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Last Updated on August 18, 2020

How to Lose Belly Fat: One Effective Strategy to Get in Shape

How to Lose Belly Fat: One Effective Strategy to Get in Shape

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 because we haven’t learned how to lose belly fat.

Many have tried some diet or bought a video on how to do a perfect crunch, but there is too much conflicting advice out there. Also, many people have tried and failed, so giving it another go just seems so daunting.

Take heart, because there is a truly effective strategy to lose stomach fat, but you may have to loosen up some old preconceptions. It’s important to note that, in this article, I will specifically talk about fat loss as opposed to overall weight loss (fat, muscle, and water).

The strategy involves both diet and exercise–nothing new there. However, it entails two unique ways of going about it. If you put your mind to it, it’s completely possible to learn how to lose stomach fat and start working toward the body you want.

Diet

The key here is to become a fat and protein-burner if you want to learn how to lose stomach fat fast. Low-carbohydrate nutrition is one of the most-effective ways of shedding pounds of fat from the body.

Why?

Basically, the body burns energy in the following order:

  1. Carbohydrate (from food and stored glycogen)
  2. Fat (from food and body fat)
  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. carbohydrates.

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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 body fat as your primary source of energy.

Obviously, you shouldn’t consume copious amounts of fat, and you won’t even need to switch to a zero-carb diet to benefit. Anything under 100 grams of carbs a day is considered “low-carb,” but ideally under 60 grams would produce great results.

If you want more information on how low-carb diets can benefit you, check out this article.

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 mass is metabolically active—it burns calories all day long just by being there—losing it is a disaster for the dieter as 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 experience weight gain—all you had lost and then some!

How to Go Low-Carb

There are several ways to lower your carb intake and start losing fat by making fairly simple changes to your diet. Here are just a few ideas to try when you want to learn how to lose belly fat.

1. Eliminate Sugary Drinks

If you chose a random sample of people on any given day in the US, you would find that at least half of them drink sugary drinks on any given day. 25% would be receiving about 200 calories per day from such drinks[1].

One can of Coca-Cola contains nearly 40 grams of carbohydrates. Remember above where we said 60 was ideal? Well, drink one can of soda and you’re nearly there.

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Cutting drinks with added sugar from your diet can do wonders to help you reduce your carb intake. Replace it with unsweetened tea or water for a hydration boost.

2. Change the Sides at Restaurants

When you order a meal at a restaurant, most of the default sides are potatoes (French fries, mashed potatoes, etc.) or bread. These are both packed with carbs. A standard small order of French fries contains around 30 grams of carbs (that bumps up to around 50 for a medium order)[2].

Instead of going with the default sides, ask for vegetables. There is usually a steamed broccoli or mixed veggies option at most restaurants. Healthy eating is key if you want to reduce carbs.

3. Switch Your Dairy Milk out for Vegetable-Based Milk

One serving of whole milk contains nearly 13 grams of carbs due to the presence of lactose, a type of sugar[3]. On the contrary, a serving of unsweetened soy milk only contains about 3 grams of carbs[4].

Try switching out the milk you use for your cereal or in your coffee. The flavor will be a bit different, so give yourself time to adjust to it.

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, and it’s always a good idea to check with your doctor before making major changes to your diet. 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!

Exercise

The most important question here is whether you should focus on cardio or interval training if you’re trying to learn how to lose belly fat.

Loads and loads of cardio, right? Wrong.

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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 physical activity?

It’s called Interval Training, or, more specifically, High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). 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?

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 [5] for HIIT compared to low-medium intensity cardio.

Furthermore, a 2018 study discovered that HIIT was superior to moderate-intensity continuous training for improving heart rate variability[6].

The even better news is that, when you’re looking into how to lose belly fat, HIIT need only be performed for 10-20 minutes at a time.

How to Do a HIIT Workout

Choose Your Own HIIT Workout Adventure | Hiit workout, Hiit ...

    There are several elements of HIIT workouts, as well as several approaches to them[7]. Here are just a couple of things to keep in mind.

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    1. Start With the Tabata Formula

    Tabata is a common HIIT formula, and it’s great for beginners. This involves 20 seconds of work and 10 seconds of rest. You should shoot for 4 minutes, or eight rounds. You can use this to target the part of your body you want to tone.

    2. Don’t Do a HIIT Workout Every Day

    HIIT is a great fat-burner, but it’s a lot for the body, so try to shoot for 2-3 HIIT workouts per week. If you want to exercise every day, switch it out for cardio or strength training in between.

    3. Add Weights for More Intensity

    If you want to add an extra layer to your HIIT workout, feel free to add weights. You can include ankle weights if you want to increase leg strength, for example. However, don’t do this at the very beginning. Give yourself a few weeks to adjust to the HIIT style of workout before adding in more.

    Learn more about HIIT workout here: The Secret to a Healthy Body? HIIT Workout

    Bottom Line

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

    • Getting your body to burn fat for energy.
    • Adding exercise that will utilize the most fat possible.

    The best way to lose stomach fat is to put your diet and nutrition to work. You’ll be amazed by how quickly you’re able to work toward your ideal body.

    More on How to Lose Belly Fat

    Featured photo credit: Jonathan Borba via unsplash.com

    Reference

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    Mark McManus

    Mark is a personal trainer who specializes in coaching people on how to build muscle the scientific way.

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    Last Updated on September 18, 2020

    7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

    7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

    Learning how to get in shape and set goals is important if you’re looking to live a healthier lifestyle and get closer to your goal weight. While this does require changes to your daily routine, you’ll find that you are able to look and feel better in only two weeks.

    Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to get in shape. Although anyone can cover the basics (eat right and exercise), there are some things that I could only learn through trial and error. Let’s cover some of the most important points for how to get in shape in two weeks.

    1. Exercise Daily

    It is far easier to make exercise a habit if it is a daily one. If you aren’t exercising at all, I recommend starting by exercising a half hour every day. When you only exercise a couple times per week, it is much easier to turn one day off into three days off, a week off, or a month off.

    If you are already used to exercising, switching to three or four times a week to fit your schedule may be preferable, but it is a lot harder to maintain a workout program you don’t do every day.

    Be careful to not repeat the same exercise routine each day. If you do an intense ab workout one day, try switching it up to general cardio the next. You can also squeeze in a day of light walking to break up the intensity.

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    If you’re a morning person, check out these morning exercises that will start your day off right.

    2. Duration Doesn’t Substitute for Intensity

    Once you get into the habit of regular exercise, where do you go if you still aren’t reaching your goals? Most people will solve the problem by exercising for longer periods of time, turning forty-minute workouts into two hour stretches. Not only does this drain your time, but it doesn’t work particularly well.

    One study shows that “exercising for a whole hour instead of a half does not provide any additional loss in either body weight or fat”[1].

    This is great news for both your schedule and your levels of motivation. You’ll likely find it much easier to exercise for 30 minutes a day instead of an hour. In those 30 minutes, do your best to up the intensity to your appropriate edge to get the most out of the time.

    3. Acknowledge Your Limits

    Many people get frustrated when they plateau in their weight loss or muscle gaining goals as they’re learning how to get in shape. Everyone has an equilibrium and genetic set point where their body wants to remain. This doesn’t mean that you can’t achieve your fitness goals, but don’t be too hard on yourself if you are struggling to lose weight or put on muscle.

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    Acknowledging a set point doesn’t mean giving up, but it does mean realizing the obstacles you face.

    Expect to hit a plateau in your own fitness results[2]. When you expect a plateau, you can manage around it so you can continue your progress at a more realistic rate. When expectations meet reality, you can avoid dietary crashes.

    4. Eat Healthy, Not Just Food That Looks Healthy

    Know what you eat. Don’t fuss over minutia like whether you’re getting enough Omega 3’s or tryptophan, but be aware of the big things. Look at the foods you eat regularly and figure out whether they are healthy or not. Don’t get fooled by the deceptively healthy snacks just pretending to be good for you.

    The basic nutritional advice includes:

    • Eat unprocessed foods
    • Eat more veggies
    • Use meat as a side dish, not a main course
    • Eat whole grains, not refined grains[3]

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    Eat whole grains when you want to learn how to get in shape.

      5. Watch Out for Travel

      Don’t let a four-day holiday interfere with your attempts when you’re learning how to get in shape. I don’t mean that you need to follow your diet and exercise plan without any excursion, but when you are in the first few weeks, still forming habits, be careful that a week long break doesn’t terminate your progress.

      This is also true of schedule changes that leave you suddenly busy or make it difficult to exercise. Have a backup plan so you can be consistent, at least for the first month when you are forming habits.

      If travel is on your schedule and can’t be avoided, make an exercise plan before you go[4], and make sure to pack exercise clothes and an exercise mat as motivation to keep you on track.

      6. Start Slow

      Ever start an exercise plan by running ten miles and then puking your guts out? Maybe you aren’t that extreme, but burnout is common early on when learning how to get in shape. You have a lifetime to be healthy, so don’t try to go from couch potato to athletic superstar in a week.

      If you are starting a running regime, for example, run less than you can to start. Starting strength training? Work with less weight than you could theoretically lift. Increasing intensity and pushing yourself can come later when your body becomes comfortable with regular exercise.

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      7. Be Careful When Choosing a Workout Partner

      Should you have a workout partner? That depends. Workout partners can help you stay motivated and make exercising more fun. But they can also stop you from reaching your goals.

      My suggestion would be to have a workout partner, but when you start to plateau (either in physical ability, weight loss/gain, or overall health) and you haven’t reached your goals, consider mixing things up a bit.

      If you plateau, you may need to make changes to continue improving. In this case it’s important to talk to your workout partner about the changes you want to make, and if they don’t seem motivated to continue, offer a thirty day break where you both try different activities.

      I notice that guys working out together tend to match strength after a brief adjustment phase. Even if both are trying to improve, something seems to stall improvement once they reach a certain point. I found that I was able to lift as much as 30-50% more after taking a short break from my regular workout partner.

      Final Thoughts

      Learning how to get in shape in as little as two weeks sounds daunting, but if you’re motivated and have the time and energy to devote to it, it’s certainly possible.

      Find an exercise routine that works for you, eat healthy, drink lots of water, and watch as the transformation begins.

      More Tips on Getting in Shape

      Featured photo credit: Alexander Redl via unsplash.com

      Reference

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