6 Ways to Shrink Your Belly (And 5 Don’t Include Exercise)
We have some good news for all those who are worried about their belly fat — you can get rid of it pretty easily, without doing any crunches at all! Actually, a recent research has shown that even if you do abdominal exercises alone five days a week for six weeks, you will not get the results you desire nor lose the fat stores.
You are probably not aware of this, but fructose largely affects your weight loss goals. It hides in many processed foods and drinks, so avoiding it is almost impossible, unless you decide to make some changes in your dietary habits. What should you do? It is simple.
Avoid any processed foods and focus on whole organic foods, preferably grown by a local farmer; cook at home, and that will sure ease your weight loss process and also improve your health.
In an article for the Forbes Magazine, Jennifer Cohen explained that you shoud focus on some useful strategies that burn up cortisol. Cortisol is a hormone that depletes lean muscle and holds on to belly fat.
You can greatly support this process by reducing the stress in your everyday life, because stress is known to increase cortisol levels. Cohen also suggested many other strategies that reduce the cortisol level, and we have covered some of them:
Key Strategy For Reducing Belly Fat
Jeniffer Cohen brought up some really good aspects. Sufficient sleep is one of the top priorities. It not only helps you to regulate cortisol levels, it also optimizes your circadian clock, which has a great impact on your metabolism and weight. A group of researchers from the University of Chicago found that respondents who slept for 8.5 hours lost about 55% more fat within two weeks than those who slept for 5.5 hours.
You will all agree on this: Diet is the master key. When followed by proper exercising programme, it can easily get you the body line you dream of.
Moreover, diet determines about 80% of your ability to reduce the fatty deposits, and the other 20 percent are determined by your healthy lifestyle habits, such as proper sleeping and stress reduction, and exercising. This means that even if you exercise regularly, the chances of getting a nice, and flat abs are quite slim if you still prefer eating sugar-loaded and processed junk food.
Defining your abs is almost impossible unless you reduce the body fat, and poor dietary habits make your body hold on to excess fat, despite all your physical effort. In her article, Cohen mentioned two dietary factors, which she claims to be the most important:
- Reduce or eliminate the sugar from your diet. This means you should avoid all forms of sugar and fructose, including both refined and “all-natural” forms, such as agave and honey, and also all grains, even the organic ones, because these easily break down to sugar.
- Increase the healthy fat in your diet, including healthy saturated fat and animal-based omega-3 fatty acids
For more detailed healthy suggestions, check this optimized Nutrition plan. It is a comprehensive, step-by-step guide that will help you improve your health and change your lifestyle habits, and make a healthier choices when it comes to your daily menu. Check the following chart:
Primary Dietary Offenders
Obesity is one of the top health problems in the world. It is widespread and out of control, which worries the health experts. Fructose, commonly contained in processed foods and drinks in the form of corn suryp is the primary cause of obesity. Check the top dietary offenders in this category:
This may come as a surprise to you, but many of the foods you consider to be healthy actually worsen your problem. These foods are part of the so-called “healthy” food list, but actually they are loaded with sugars and fructose:
The Best Fat-Burning Exercise
Once you make a few healthy dietary choices, let exercising do its magic on your body line. At this point you will be able to lose body fat even more easily. But, this could be achieved only by incorporating correct types of exercises.
High-intensity interval exercises — A short intense training protocol that enhances the muscle energy utilization. This is provided by its positive effect on the muscle fiber quality and ability to increase the muscle mass.
Muscles burn 3-5 times more energy than fatty tissues, so by gaining muscle mass you increase your metabolic rate, which leads to a more efficient calorie-burning process, even when you sleep at night. Furthermore, many studies have confirmed that short intense exercises with rest periods in between actually help you burn more fat than your regular training programme.
To be more precise, reduce the time you spend on exercising and you will lose more weight, because high-intensity interval trainings require only 20 minutes, 2-3 times a week. But be careful, anything longer than this may have negative effects!
Exercises That Target Your Abs
Ab exercises may not be that helpful in reducing your body fat, but they can still provide some important benefits. The muscles of your abdomen are part of the 29 core muscles, mostly located in the back, pelvis, and abdomen. This group of muscles ensures the movement throughout the whole body.
By strengthening this group of muscles you can protect and support your back, making your spine and the body in general less prone to injuries. This will also help you gain better balance and stability.
Building up your abs is like developing a corset that holds in your intestines. This stabilizes your spine, vertebrae and discs, which will amazingly reduce any back pain.
You will be also able to lift heavy objects, and perform all the movements required for the normal physical activities in your everyday life. Strong abdominal wall is crucial for the optimal body movement, and its importance increases as you get older.
Having a strong abdominal wall means getting a six-pack look, but only when you lose the belly fat. But, crunches and sit-ups are not the best choice when it comes to getting well-defined abdominals.
The effective training programme for the core muscles requires different stabilization, functional and traditional exercises. A study conducted by Petrofsky in 2007 involved this topic.
The experts researched the muscle activity that is generated by different types of abdominal exercises. And, guess what! The study showed that the conventional floor crunch produces the least amount of muscle activity, as recorded by the electromyography (EMG) machine.Of course, this does not mean that you should give up on traditional crunches, but let them be just a part of your core-strengthening routine.
Experts found the combination of these exercises to be amazingly efficient:
- Traditional exercises, including floor crunch with rotations. Second option — standing rotation accompanied with a light hand weight.
- Functional exercises, such as working on a stability ball.
- Stabilizing exercises — Lay on the floor and pull your stomach back toward your spine. Hold that position while breathing deeply.
- Extension exercises — Lay on your stomach and extend your arms above your head. Raise your arms and legs at the same time. Hold until you count to 5, or take 5 breaths, then slowly return to the original position.
Other sources linked in the Natural Cures Not Medicine’s article: