It’s called many things, beer belly, paunch, love handles to name a few but belly fat is an embarrassment for many people of both sexes.
The stomach is a primary storage area for fat and is one of the last places the body will give up it fat stores and this is one of the main reasons why it is so difficult to get rid of it.
The problem is that there are a lot of myths surrounding the removal of belly fat from the ridiculous to the sublime. Unfortunately most of the claims are made up by marketing men trying to convince you that their latest fat busting apparatus is the one that will give you the chiselled six pack in a few days with very little effort. Remember if its sounds to good to be true it probably is.
So lets once and for all separate fact from fiction.
Sits ups will burn fat from your stomach
No amount of sit-ups will burn fat from your stomach. What sit-ups do is build and tone the muscles of the stomach but they will not remove any underlying fat. So you may eventually have quite defined abdominal muscles but the will be invisible if you do not get rid of the fat.
Skipping meals will reduce belly fat.
Skipping a meal will certainly lower calorie intake and may result in weight loss but it will not spot reduce the belly. The weight loss will be overall and as the belly is the main fat store it will probably have little effect on it. Skipping meals also has another important downside. It can hinder the bodies fat burning mechanism – the metabolism, slowing it down. A slow metabolism results in a slower burning of calories, just the opposite of what you want to achieve.
So what is the answer?
Well it’s a combination of things and below will give you a number of tips to make the journey a little less confusing.
Do not expect to see results in just a few days. Belly fat is difficult to remove so plan a sensible weight loss and exercise programme over a period of at least 8 weeks.
Yes you will need to follow a calorie controlled diet and exercise. Unfortunately there is no other way – but it works.
You will need to do aerobic exercise. This is exercise that raises the heart rate and makes you slightly breathless. This form of exercise really does burn’s calories.
To achieve faster results combine your aerobic exercise with weight training. Weight training builds muscle and muscle is an extremely active tissue and not only burns calories efficiently but will also increase your metabolic rate resulting in even faster calorie burn.
Still do your sit ups. But learn how to do sit ups properly. You need to concentrate on just you abdominal muscles. Too many people do them wrong and instead of targeting the stomach muscles end up using their back, shoulder and neck muscles to achieve their sit up, this can lead to injury. Talk to a personal trainer or a gym instructor and if this is not possible there are now a number of books that will show you a range of safe abdominal exercises.
Try exercising in the morning on an empty stomach for a more effective calorie burn. A study conducted in Sweden a few years ago concluded that exercise in the morning before eating burns nearly three and a half times more fat than exercising in the evening. That is because you are using stored fat from the previous day. However not everyone can exercise in the morning so exercising at any time is still far better than not exercising at all.
Watch you alcohol intake. It’s not called a beer belly for nothing.
So you see there is no magic formula. Belly fat is fat and the only way you will get rid of it is the same as a getting rid of fat anywhere else by exercising and watching you diet. Do not be fooled by amazing claims on products advertised in Sunday newspapers or on shopping channels and don’t expect results immediately. If you start of with this clear vision you will be able to maintain your motivation and the results will follow.