The extra confidence in having a flat belly is in most people’s wishlist. Why not make this dream come true? The Fit Loco is here to share with you some work out for abs & complementing meal diets specifically for belly-fat reduction!
Belly-fat can become an issue not only because it does not look pleasing aesthetically; Too much excess weight around your waistline might not only prove to be difficult to shop for clothes. It has been scientifically proven that fats in the abdominal area might also be linked to the risk of diabetes and heart diseases. We’re not saying you need to have a washboard tummy or 6 packs – but it is important to watch out for signs of health issues linked to excess belly-fat.
Belly-fat is measured by the circumference around your waist with a measuring tape. Anything above 40 inches (102 cm) in men and 35 inches (88 cm) in women is known as abdominal obesity. This does not mean you are ‘fat’ or overweight in your overall bodyweight. It might just mean there is an issue of the lack of proportion to your body!
Fortunately, The Fit Loco would like to share a few proven strategies that have been known to target the fat in the belly area more than other areas of the body. First, let us take a look at an abs workout video (on the right) that you can practice at home or at the gym.
Follow these steps daily and faithfully and you’ll be sure to see the results in a week to a month!
These workouts are great as they do not require any equipment! For more workout videos, check our Sergey’s Instagram page: @sergeyskorupa.
You’ve also all heard this before; “Abs are made in the Kitchen.” – And it is true and scientifically proven! While working out is important, what you consume into your body is also a major playing factor in belly-fat.
Here are some simple and useful tips to follow…
1. Cut out Sweetened & Sugary Drinks from your daily diet
Sugar, in all forms, is a simple carbohydrate that the body converts into glucose and uses for energy. However, we have to be educated on the difference between ‘Natural Sugar’ and ‘Added Sugar’.
Natural sugars are named as such simply because they occur naturally in a particular food, such as Fruits and Vegetables. This type of sugar in moderate amounts can prove to be beneficial to our body.
However, added sugars are not only heavily processed, it exceeds the amount that your body requires. It can prove to be harmful to your metabolic health. There is a big difference between these two types of sugars is in the number of calories you consume. Sugar is half glucose, half fructose, and fructose can only be metabolized by the liver in significant amounts; consuming too much added sugar can overload with fructose and is forced to turn it into fat.
Our advice is to take a look a food labels at supermarkets before you purchase a particular type of grocery. Always look for the natural option, rather than processed foods.
2. Eat plenty of soluble fiber
Soluble fiber absorbs water and forms a gel during digestion. This that helps slow down food as it passes through your digestive system; nutritions from food can then be slowly absorbed and distributed evenly throughout your body, rather than it being converted to fats in your belly area. Studies have also shown that this type of fiber promotes weight loss by helping you feel full, so you naturally eat less. It may also decrease the number of calories your body absorbs from food. This in turn can help individuals who want to lose belly-fat.
An observational study in over 1,100 adults found that for every 10-gram increase in soluble fiber intake, belly-fat gain decreased by 3.7% over a 5-year period. Foods that are high in soluble fiber include: Flax noodles, Shirataki noodles, Brussel Sprouts, Avocados, Blackberries, Legumes, Black beans, Lima Beans, Sweet potatoes, Brocolli, Turnips, Pears, Figs, Kidney beans, Apricots, Nectarines, Flaxseeds, Apple, Guava, Oats, Hazelnuts, Sunflower seeds, Barley… And the list goes on.
By adding soluble fiber in your diet, you can not only reduce fat in the tummy area, it is also great for your gut and overall health, reducing your risk of heart disease by lowering “bad” LDL cholesterol and helping you balance your blood sugar levels.
If you want to increase your soluble fiber intake, it’s often best to start slowly and build it up gradually.
3. Replace large carbohydrates with a high-protein diet
Eating more protein is a long-term strategy to reduce body fat and is an extremely important nutrient for weight management. High protein intake increases the release of the fullness hormone PYY, which decreases appetite and promotes fullness. It has also been shown to reduce cravings by 60%, boost metabolism by 80–100 calories per day and help you eat up to 441 fewer calories per day.
Carbohydrates on the other hand are low in fiber and digested quickly, it can also cause mood swings in blood levels. Not only that, the lack of exercise and a high-carb intake can also cause your body to convert them into fats and stored particularly in the abdominal area. While some carbohydrates is good, be sure to choose ‘good carbohydrates’ rather than refined carbs. In the famous Framingham Heart Study, people with the highest consumption of whole grains were 17% less likely to have excess abdominal fat than those who consumed diets high in refined grains
By replacing carbohydrates with a high protein diet, it not only allows your body to get the necessary calorie intake your body needs, it also specifically targets weight loss in the belly area. Low-carb diets also lead to quick reductions in water weight, which gives people near instant results. A difference on the scale is often seen within 1–2 days.
Good protein sources come from: Meats, Fish, Eggs, Dairy, Whey protein, Beans. If you’re a vegetarian or vegan, fret not, there are also protein diets to increase your protein intake. Check out this article.
4. Replace cooking fats with healthier oils
The most commonly used cooking oil is the Canola Oil. Although it is a type of vegetable oil and is safe to consume at moderate levels, it is a highly processed type of oil and contains transfat.
Trasnfat is considered the worst type of fat you can eat. Unlike other dietary fats, trans fat — also called trans-fatty acids — raises your “bad” cholesterol and also lowers your “good” cholesterol. Most transfat is formed through an industrial process that adds hydrogen to vegetable oil, which causes the oil to become solid at room temperature. This partially hydrogenated oil is less likely to spoil, so foods made with it have a longer shelf life. It has been studied that the high consumption of transfat can cause obesity and particularly increase unnecessary amounts of fats in the belly area.
We recommend changing this type of cooking oil with healthier oils such as Extra Virgin Olive Oil or Coconut oil to trim fat in the abdominal area.
Extra Virgin Olive oil is the natural oils extracted from olives and is high in monosaturated fat; about 73%. It can help reduce bad cholesterol levels in your blood which can lower your risk of heart disease and stroke. They also provide nutrients to help develop and maintain your body’s cells. It also contains large amounts of antioxidants & anti-inflammatory properties. Research has shown that Olive oils are a healthier choice and it has not been associated with obesity or belly-fat.
Another healthier choice is Coconut oils. Studies show that the medium-chain fats in coconut oil may boost metabolism and decrease the amount of fat you store in response to high calorie intake. However, do take this in moderate amounts as coconut oil is high in calories. Instead of adding extra fat to your diet, replace some of the fats you’re already eating with coconut oil.
5. Add fatty fish to your diet
Fatty fish, unlike other fatty meats, it is not high in saturated fats; which makes it a healthier choice as compared to many red meats. Some recommended fatty fishes are: Salmon, Herring, Sardines, Mackerel, Anchovies. They’re rich in high quality protein and omega-3 fats that protect you from disease. Moreover, evidence suggests that these omega-3 fats may also help reduce visceral fat.
Studies in adults and children with fatty liver disease show that fish oil supplements can significantly reduce liver and abdominal fat.
Fishes that are high in omega-3 fats are also proven to improve circulation of blood and help slow down plague buildup in your arteries and lower types of fats in your blood. Hence, to target abdominal fat, try to replace red meats that are high in saturated fat with fatty fish or simply add fatty fishes to your diet.
6. Add apple cidar vinegar to your diet
We have all heard that Apple cidar vinegar has been a popular home remedy and tonic to many health complaints. For many centuries, people have used it for cooking and medicine. It has antimicrobial and antioxidant effects; helping in skin health, reducing cholestrol, lowering blood sugar levels and improving symptoms of diebetes. Besides that, it is also said to reduce belly-fat in the abdominal area! How?
Apple cider vinegar is made in a two-step fermentation process. Firstly, the apples are cut or crushed. They are then combined with yeast to convert their sugar into alcohol. Next, bacteria is added to ferment the alcohol into acetic acid. Acetic acid is the main active component of apple cider vinegar; also known as ethanoic acid. In layman terms, this acid is also known as vinegar.
Acetic acid is a short-chain fatty acid that dissolves into acetate and hydrogen in your body. It promotes your metabolism rates; it helps to burn fat resulting in less buildup of body fat. Moreover, an adequate consumption increases in the enzyme AMPK, which boosts fat burning and decreases fat and sugar production in the liver. This acid also reduced belly-fat storage and liver fat.
In summary, adding 1 or 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar to your diet can not only help you lose weight in the abdominal area; it can also reduce your body fat percentage and decreasing your blood triglycerides.
7. Eat Probiotic foods or supplements
Probiotics foods contain different types of bacteria that play a role in weight regulation and that having the right balance can help with weight loss, including loss of belly-fat. Probiotics are present in both supplements and fermented foods.
There are hundreds and hundreds of microorganisms that are in our digestive systems. Majority of this bacteria is friendly and produce vital nutrients such as Vitamin B and K. These help us to break down fiber that the body cannot digest. Probiotics help synthesize these bacterias that improve gut health and in turn leading to weight regulation.
Probiotics also contain bacteria strains of the Lactobacillus family that can help you lose weight and belly-fat. In one study, eating yogurt with Lactobacillus fermentum or Lactobacillus amylovorus reduced body fat by 3–4% over a 6-week period. During a 3-month study period, the women taking the probiotics lost 50% more weight compared to the group taking a dummy pill (placebo). They also continued to lose weight during the weight maintenance phase of the study.
Try incorporating foods that contain Probiotic such as Yoghurt, Kefir, Sauerkraut, Kimchi, Tempeh, Miso, Kombucha, Pickles, Traditional Buttermilk, Natto, etc. If these are unavailable, you can also go to health or pharmacy stores to get probiotic supplements in tablet form.
8. Drink Green Tea
Green tea is an exceptionally healthy drink especially when drunk warm. It can reduce the risk of cancer and heart diseases. Furthermore, green tea benefits the whole body as it contains catechins; antioxidants, epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), that can help reduce belly-fat. If you sip green tea before a workout, these compounds can also increase your fat burn during exercise.
Green tea also contains caffeine that can boost metabolism rates that results in a quicker burning of fats in your body. Having this beverage warm helps enzymes in the stomach to work in its optimal temperature hence improving digestion and therefore burning abdominal fat.
We recommend to drink a cup of green tea in the morning or before bed or before your workout to have the best benefits of belly-fat reduction. And don’t forget to add a squeeze of lemon to maximise effects!
Other things you can do to accelerate this process is to:
- Try intermittent fasting
- Exercise regularly
- Get plenty of restful sleep (minimum 8 hours a night)
- Do light weight training
- Do aerobic or cardio exercises
- Reducing stress levels with the right mindset (Read our other article on ‘Setting the right mindset: from waking up to sleeping’ here)
Follow these tips above religiously and combine fitness activities with your diet and we promise that you will see noticeable belly-fat loss in a month!
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