Love handles, mum pooch, muffin top…..there are plenty of (less desirable) nicknames to describe excess belly fat.
The reality is we cannot spot reduce fat from our bodies. If you want to reduce fat from a certain area, you must lose it from all over. As we age, losing weight can get tougher as our metabolism slows and the amount of food in-take we require lessons. Accepting the loose skin (from pregnancy) to thread veins and cellulite, is all part of accepting and celebrating our amazing bodies. BUT we can look to loose extra weight not only to better our health but also to help us look and feel more confident. Reducing belly fat and building, sculpting and toning muscles requires some adaptations to both your workouts and your diet.
Have a read of these 5 tips:
1. HIIT workouts
As we all know, cardio is a big part of the weight loss equation. If running is not for you, don’t panic, HIIT workouts are a brilliant way to burn fat, increase your metabolism, strengthen your muscles and improve your stamina. HIIT workouts torch calories faster than most other workouts and are very effective in working the bodies aerobic and anaerobic energy systems. You should aim to fit in 1 – 2 intense HIIT sessions a week. Alongside this aim to get some lower intense cardio, walking, swimming, low impact Pilates etc added to your schedule for a good balance.
Try a niix SWEAT workout HERE
2. Abdominal strengthening workouts
While you cannot spot reduce fat, you can absolutely work to strengthen and tone core muscles. To target your belly muscles you need to work ALL of your abdominals. This includes the transverse abdominals and the obliques (your side ab muscles) along with connecting and challenging your pelvic floor. Pilates focused ab and core workouts are brilliant for targeting and strengthening these smaller muscles.
Try a niix LOWER ABS workout HERE
3. Create a calorie deficit
Put simply the energy you consume (i.e. food) must be LESS THAN the energy you exert (through movement and exercise) to create a calorie deficit. While everyone is different, a standard protocol is to create a calorie deficit of 300-500 calories a day to lose weight. To reduce your energy in, you simply need to consume less calories and to increase your energy out you need to burn more calories. The sensible and safe approach is to focus on a combination of both. For more information on creating a calorie deficit have a read here
4. Limit sugars and refined carbs
It is what we all know but do not necessarily want to hear! Limiting sugar or better yet, eliminating added sugar from your diet can significantly improve your weight-loss area, particularly with regards to the belly area. It is true that you cannot out train a bad diet! Processed and refined foods create a vicious cycle. When we fuel our body with sweets, biscuits, crisps etc we actually increase our hunger and desire for sugar further. This only results in blood sugar spikes causing our energy levels to crash and leave us wanting more. In addition to sugar and refined carbs, alcohol also contributes to weight gain. Like all things we need to be really mindful with these food groups and aim to eat and drink them very much in moderation.
Such an important one and more importantly such an easy one to implement! Water has so many benefits and it can actually reduce our hunger levels. So often when we think we are hungry we might actually be dehydrated. Aim for 2.5 litres of water a day at the very least and you will be amazed at the benefits!