If you are like many people, you really do want to live a healthy lifestyle. While weight loss should not be your only goal when it comes to your health, getting rid of excess weight, particularly belly fat, can help you reach your goal of living a healthier lifestyle. Those who have excess belly fat are at greater risk for things such as diabetes, heart disease, and cancers, including colon, esophagus, and pancreatic cancer.
Women whose waists measure 35 inches (90 cm) or more or men whose waists are 40 inches (101.5 cm) or more are at greater risk for these diseases. Whether you fall into this category or you just want to get rid of some excess belly fat, there are several things you can do to eliminate belly fat.
Watch What You Drink
Sugary drinks add to your belly fat. They also increase your risk of heart disease and diabetes. According to a study done by the American Heart Association, those who consume at least one sugary drink per day had 27 percent more belly fat than those who drank healthier beverages. While this does not mean sugary drinks have to be completely eliminated from your diet, reducing the number of sugary drinks you consume will help. Replace your sugary drinks with water and low-fat milk, which are far healthier for you.
Add in Protein
Make sure you get enough protein in your diet. Roughly 25 to 30 percent of the calories in protein are burned during digestion. This is compared to six to eight percent of the calories in carbohydrates. Plus, protein helps to keep you full longer, thereby helping you to not overeat. Protein also helps build muscles and improves your strength.
While you can get protein from meats, there are other great sources of protein. Other great sources of protein include peas, sunflower seeds, beans, tofu, spinach, and nuts, including nut butters. Avoid the nut butters with hydrogenated oils or added sugars, though. Low-fat milk products including milk, yogurt, and cottage cheese, are also great sources of protein. Protein shakes can also be an added source of protein in your diet.
Work Your Abs
Perhaps one of the best ways to get rid of belly fat is to do the right exercises. While any exercising is good, targeting the right muscles will help you to take off the extra weight around your middle. While many people do crunches to try to take off belly fat, you will have more success doing certain compound exercises that stimulate the core as well as increase your metabolism. Speak to one of our trainers for more advice.
One exercise we like to use with client for abs is a side planks. Lie on your left side with your elbows beneath your shoulders and your legs lying straight on top of each other. Place your right hand on your right hip, along your right side, or somewhere else where it can rest comfortably. Brace your abs while lifting your hips off the ground until you are balancing on your left forearm and the side of your left foot, forming a diagonal line. Hold this for about 30 seconds. If you cannot hold that long, work up to it. Switch to the other side, doing the same exercise.
Another great exercise for some of the core muscles is the lunge twists. If you have done lunges before, lunge twists are a simple addition to the workout. With both elbows bent at a 90 degree angle, lunge forward with your right leg. Twist your arms and torso to the right. Rotate back to a center position. Step back with your right leg to a neutral position. Repeat with the left leg and twisting to the left. Do a set of 16 or so, alternating between the right and left sides.
Jump lunges can be another great workout for increasing your heart rate that can contribute to burning more belly fat. With both arms raised straight above your head, lunge forward with your right leg, bending both knees 90 degrees. Jump straight up, switching legs in the air. You should land with your left leg in front. Because these are going to be more tiring than lunge twists, you may want to start with a slightly lower number or reps, or you may want to take a short break between reps.
These are just a sampling of great exercises that target belly fat. While these exercises will get you started on eliminating belly fat, you may want to mix things up even more and add in other exercises. Finding the exercises that work best for you will give you your desired results sooner.
Get Enough Sleep
Another essential part of getting rid of belly fat is getting enough sleep. Seven to eight hours of sleep will help keep your metabolism at a healthy level. This will help you burn fat better. Of course, the quality of your sleep is also important. A comfortable mattress, blinds that block out the sun, and even earplugs may help you sleep better.
If you would like to learn more about getting rid of excess belly fat and living a healthier lifestyle, or if you need help starting an exercise program, contact us.
Please let us know any questions or comments you have here and our expert personal trainers will answer them for you.