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.
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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.
Basically, the body burns energy in the following order:
- Carbohydrate (from food and stored glycogen)
- Fat (from food and body fat)
- 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.
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.
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.
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).
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. On the contrary, a serving of unsweetened soy milk only contains about 3 grams of carbs.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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  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.
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
There are several elements of HIIT workouts, as well as several approaches to them. Here are just a couple of things to keep in mind.
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
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
- How To Lose Belly Fat Effectively And Healthily
- The 5 Best Scientifically Proven Ways to Lose Belly Fat
- Why People Often Fail To Lose Belly Fat
Featured photo credit: Jonathan Borba via unsplash.com
|||^||Harvard T.H. Chan: Sugary Drinks|
|||^||Fat Secret: Carbs in French Fries|
|||^||Nutrition Data: Milk, whole|
|||^||Everyday Health: All About Soy Milk: Nutrition, Benefits, Risks, and How It Compares With Other Milks|
|||^||Metabolism: Clinical and Experimental: Impact of exercise intensity on body fatness and skeletal muscle metabolism|
|||^||International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health: The Effects of High-Intensity Interval Training vs. Moderate-Intensity Continuous Training on Heart Rate Variability in Physically Inactive Adults|
|||^||Adaptiv: How to Tackle HIIT Workouts as a Beginner|