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Friday, April 27, 2007

How to Get Rid of Belly Fat

What is that thing that’s been growing around your mid-section 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 fat at builds up around our stomachs, is it any wonder why it’s become a national obsession? But don’t misperceive our obsession with fat as 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 we get sick and can’t eat. Personally, I like the little tummy I have, and I’d rather it stay that way—little.

So, I’ve started working out. Evidence is starting to prove the theory that lifting weights (anaerobic exercise, or weight training) and using the Stair Master (aerobic exercise) will help you get rid of that extra weight around your midsection.

A healthy diet is also a good idea for weight loss and how to get rid of belly fat. So, I’ve summarized here a list of things you should take into consideration if you’re serious about losing that tummy:

Reducing the amount 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 less calories than you 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.

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 is bad for a number of reasons. The most obvious reason is the caloric content of beer. The less obvious reasons are the inflammation of the pancreas and liver, and the bloating that often accompany the over-consumption of alcoholic beverages; this includes alcohol mixed with sweet, sugary liquids like soda.

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 Stair Master.

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.

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 Natasha and I were in Europe, we ate our fair share of delicacies, but we didn’t gain a single pound—in fact, we actually lost weight—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 mentioned in section four, 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.

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.

Have a great day and God bless!

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