We all know the saying ‘Abs are made in the kitchen’, but do we really believe it? The truth is, people work their ab muscles tirelessly and do endless sit ups in the hope that they will get the six pack that they desire so much. However, there is no way to specifically target and reduce fat anywhere on the body, so you can’t target bingo wings or thighs, in the same way you cannot target belly fat. The only way of reducing belly fat is by reducing your overall body fat percentage. This way you will gradually see it reduce on your arms, thighs, stomach – wherever your most problem areas are. Here are 10 top tips to reduce your overall body fat percentage and therefore reduce belly fat.
1. Strength Training
To burn fat and build muscle you need to strength train. This can be bodyweight training or training using weights in the gym, as long as there is some form of resistance. The main principle of strength training which a lot of people get wrong is that they do not progressively overload. This means increasing weights or reps as you get stronger. If you signed up to my newsletter you will have got my free straight training guide, which contains workouts, as well as nutritional advice. If you didn’t sign up, you can do so here – http://fitterhealthierhappier.com. Also, you can download my 8 week bodyweight workout here.
2. Interval Training
High intensity intervals are a great way to burn fat. They increase your metabolic rate, give you higher levels of fat oxidation (burning fat) and build muscle. You can do interval training on a treadmill, elliptical, rowing machine, indoor bike or even running outside. If you are unsure what interval training is or how to do it, download my interval training guides here.
3. LISS Workouts
Low intensity steady state cardio is also important for recovery and also for those people who are not able to do high intensity interval tracing. If you are less fit and have more fat on your body you may be unable to do sprints on a treadmill. Slow cardio on an incline treadmill for a good 30-40 minutes will also start the fat oxidisation process. For more information on what LISS cardio is and what you can do, look at my previous post here.
4. Progressive Overload Each Workout
To build muscles and make them stronger you need to stress them out at each work out. So ensuring you feel like you can’t do any more reps in each session will ensure you do this. Even if this isn’t part of your plan, if it feels too easy, its because it is and you are not pushing yourself enough. Make sure you have heavy enough weights, or do a few extra reps or perform more sets until you are struggling to finish the reps.
5. High Protein Diet
If you want to build muscle which in turn will burn fat then you need to eat enough protein. Muscles are built by protein so if you are not eating enough you will simply fail to build muscle which will in turn slow down your fat burning potential. Protein also burns more calories and curbs hunger, eating enough protein on a calorie deficient diet will help burn fat even more. For more information on macronutrients split and how to track them, look at my post here.
6. Drink More Water
You are probably bored of hearing this but it really is essential to building muscle. Your body is about 80% water which includes your muscles. It helps you feel full, flushes out your kidneys and transports nutrients so you digest food better. You should be drinking a minimum of 3 litres per day.
7. Be More Active
Make a conscious decision to be more active throughout your day. Walk to work or go for a walk during your break at work. Play with your kids, go biking, take hikes, swim. Live an active lifestyle where you are naturally burning more calories throughout your day.
8. Get Enough Fibre
Fibre helps you feel fuller and is also great for your digestive system. If you’re on a diet to burn fat, you need to make sure that you eat enough fibre, so aim for 25 to 40 grams of fibre per day. Make sure you eat lots of fruit and vegetables. Also, other good foods such as oatmeal and sweet potatoes are high in fibre.
9. Drink Black Coffee
Coffee is a great drink to help build muscle and burn fat. Coffee is also known to curb hunger. There’s also some evidence that drinking coffee before a workout can help make you stronger in the gym.
Try drinking a cup before you hit the gym and aim for 3 cups per day. You can add Stevia or Splenda to sweeten, and also cinnamon or coca powder for more flavour.
10. Creatine to Get Lean
Creatine works as a fuel source. Your body uses glycogen (stored glucose, mainly from carbs) to fuel aerobic activities. When you perform anaerobic activity like weight lifting, jumping, sprinting, etc. your body uses a substance called adenosine triphosphate (ATP). Your body stores way more glucose than it does ATP, so supplementing with creatine has been proven effective to help you get stronger and lift more weight in the gym because it helps your body produce more ATP. Buy a good quality creatine and take it post-workout.