So your mid-section has grown since you started college…is it a beer belly? Is it belly fat? Is it tummy fat? Is it a gut or a beer gut? There are so many names for the build up around our stomachs, is it any wonder why it’s become a national obsession? But don’t perceive our obsession with fat as a war on fat. A little body fat is actually good for you. It keeps you warm and helps your body maintain a sufficient core temperature and nutrients when you get sick or can’t eat. However, some folks still want to get rid of belly fat.
Personally, I like the little tummy I have, but I’d rather it stay that way — little. So I’ve started working out. Evidence is starting to prove the theory that my routine of lifting weights (anaerobic exercise, or weight training) and using the StairMaster (aerobic exercise) will help get rid of that extra weight around the midsection. A healthy diet is also a good idea. I’ve summarized here a list of things you should take into consideration if you’re serious about losing that tummy.
About Losing Weight
You know, I hate writing about weight loss because the answers have been pounded into our thick heads by science and the medical profession for the past few decades. But, in case you missed the memo, here’s what they said: Stop eating junk food and take a walk once in a while.
If you can increase the workouts, great. But start with something – anything – to get your body moving. Keep in mind, you can’t “spot-burn” fat, so you need to burn fat over your entire body in order to see a reduction in your belly fat. We give this same advice in our back fat article.
Best Ways to Lose Belly Fat
Reduce calorie intake
Reducing the number of calories you consume is the most effective way to get rid of belly fat. Really, when it comes down to it, losing any kind of fat, no matter where it is on your body, requires you to consume fewer calories than your body needs. This lack of calories will set into motion the processing of excess body fat to make up for the lack of calories. But don’t go all crazy about it. Starving your body of calories is only good to a certain extent; after a point you begin to do damage to important things, like your central nervous system.
Drink less beer
There’s a reason they call it a “beer belly,” and drinking less beer, or quitting drinking altogether, will help you lose belly fat. No matter who (or how good looking) the drinker is, beer — and alcohol in general — is bad for a number of reasons. The most obvious reason is the caloric content of alcohol. The less obvious reasons are the bloating and inflammation of the pancreas and liver that often accompany the over-consumption of alcoholic beverages; this includes alcohol mixed with sweet, sugary liquids like soda.
Eat less sugar
Consuming less food loaded with sugar will help you to lose tummy fat. Sugar is a big one. The sugar found in junk food and soda is the kind of sugar that burns quickly, unlike those sugars found in fruits and vegetables, which burn more slowly. If your body is processing sugar to create energy, and you’re not using any energy, those sugars will be converted into fat for later use. If you’re going to enjoy sweets, enjoy them right before you use the StairMaster.
There’s nothing wrong with strengthening your abdominal muscles, but it won’t get rid of belly fat like magic. You may want to consider not only working out your abs, but also working out your shoulders, pectorals, back, and arms to help create a more shapely “V” figure, which will help reduce the appearance of your belly. Keep this in mind: bulking up your muscles requires fewer reps (about 8) and fewer sets with greater weight. Building leaner muscle requires more reps, more sets, and less weight — and more muscle pain.
Get daily exercise
Daily exercise and walking will definitely get rid of belly fat. Going for a walk after a big meal or enjoying a dessert is never a bad idea. When I and an ex of mine were in Europe, we ate our fair share of delicacies, but we didn’t gain a single pound — in fact, we lost quite a bit of body fat — because we walked everywhere. We walked from the train station to our hotel, and from our hotel to the restaurant, and from the restaurant to the museums, and from the museums to the . . . well, you get my point.
Belly Fat-Burning Exercises
As I’ve already mentioned, there isn’t really an exercise that will get rid of your belly. Certainly, exercising your abdominal muscles is a good idea, because building any kind of lean muscle will improve your body’s ability to process calories more efficiently. The more muscle you have, the more calories you body needs to maintain those muscles. If you keep your caloric intake to a minimum, then your body will start to use the fat on your body for energy, thus reducing the amount of fat hanging from your belly. And strengthening your abdominal muscles will have two effects: first, it helps you build muscles that will help you burn more calories during the course of the day, and second, larger abdominal muscles tend to stretch the skin around them, tightening your belly and reducing the amount of belly that sags over your waist line, which might also help you avoid stretch marks.
But here’s the catch: only working your abdominal muscles isn’t going to do much for you. You should definitely consider joining a gym and working on a weight lifting routine that works as many of your muscle groups as possible, and a daily aerobic routine to help you burn the fat you already have. If you’re not sure where to start with the aerobic exercise, Amazon sells quite a few videos to help out, some even free on Prime.
Natural Weight Loss Supplements
We wouldn’t recommend any weight loss supplements, because they often contain substances that haven’t been approved by the FDA, or worse, substances that only increase your metabolism — just like a bad meth habit. It simply doesn’t make sense to risk the health problems associated with dramatically increasing or decreasing your body’s natural metabolic rate. However, there are some foods that can help fill you up.
Green tea won’t make you pee out all of your body fat in a day, but there is a heap of evidence to show that regular consumption of green tea helps your body process and thus reduce body fat over time. It also helps with a number of other bodily functions and it is considered to be one of the healthiest teas to drink because of the number of antioxidants found in it. We recommend Tazo Green Tea (link to Amazon).
Coffee, as it turns out, is actually good for you if you’re trying to lose a little belly fat. Caffeine has been shown to help your body mobilize fats as a source of energy. However, those same studies also show that there’s a point of limited returns. The more coffee you drink, the less effective the caffeine becomes. So limit your caffeine intake to the days you plan on doing extended cardio workouts.