You can do a gazillion crunches, but that extra padding around your mid-section doesn’t budge. Most of us know by now that spot reduction doesn’t work, so trying to blast the belly fat with unlimited crunches isn’t the answer. Ab exercises will strengthen your abdomen; however, you won’t be able to see that strong muscle under a layer of fat. So, how do you rid yourself of rolls? Here are three tips I share with all of my clients.
Keep up with cardio
Cardiovascular exercise done correctly will raise your heart rate and increase energy, which in turn burns calories. I say correctly, because you want your cardio workout to burn fat and not muscle. Strolling leisurely on the treadmill isn’t enough to burn fat, and running (or sprinting, which is anaerobic) at top speed for an hour will start to eat away your muscles.
In order to burn fat, you want to be in your aerobic zone, which can be easily calculated by subtracting your age from 220, then multiplying by 0.75 (or 75%). This number will give you an idea of where you should be aerobically to burn fat. Cardio sessions like this can be completed in 30 minutes. Adding HIIT (high-intensity interval training) a couple of times a week will also help for variety and fat burning.
Remember that form is important on cardio equipment, too — no hunching over or squeezing railings until your knuckles turn white! Stand up straight, use a light grip and breathe comfortably.
Eat clean & focus on fiber
An effective belly fat diet is a clean diet. You want to eat natural foods, like antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables and whole grains, as often as possible. Processed foods that contain too much salt, oil and refined sugar may often cause bloating and inflammation in the stomach while also hindering fat loss.
The key is to keep it simple! Include plenty of fiber-rich foods, such as legumes, beans, oat bran, chia seeds and flax seed (go for ground over whole), When adding fiber to your diet, be sure to start out gradually and work your way up to greater amounts to avoid GI issues and discomfort. And don’t forget the water! Staying hydrated will keep everything – toxins, waste and fats – moving through your body.
Say yes to supplements
Some supplements that support healthy weight maintenance, such as conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), may be worth a try. CLA, a naturally occurring fatty acid derived from safflower oil, is said to promote healthy weight in people who take it as part of a regular diet and exercise program.*
White kidney bean extract, found in supplements like Vitacost Carb Blocker can also help support healthy weight loss when combined with diet and exercise. Carb Blocker works to delay the digestion and absorption of carbohydrates, thus reducing the caloric impact of starchy foods.*
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.