As a personal trainer, I meet people of all shapes and sizes. Before beginning a training routine with any of my clients, I always sit down and speak with them first. One of the many questions that I ask is, “What would you most like to improve about yourself?” An overwhelming majority point to their abdominal region. Now, an extremely common misconception is that you must perform hours of abdominal exercises to earn a 6-pack. While core training is an integral part of shedding belly fat, it is certainly not the only method to be used. The best ways to burn belly fat, may actually surprise you.
A large portion of these tips have little to do with exercise, and everything to do with your diet! It’s worth noting that no two people are completely alike. We all hold our weight in different ways. Some people carry excess weight on their hips, while others carry it in their abdominal region. It would be wrong to say that there is one way for everyone to shed excess belly fat. In fact, the best ways to burn belly fat come from a combination of the following tips.
The 7 Best Ways to Burn Belly Fat
1. Eat More Soluble Fiber
Studies have shown that consuming more soluble fiber, not only slows digestion (keeping you fuller, longer), but also may have an effect on calorie absorption. The bottom line is, eating more fiber will keep you from gaining weight and very possibly help you to lose some weight, as well. A few examples of foods high in soluble fiber are peas, lentils, beans, berries, broccoli, and avocado.
Check out these 31 High-Fiber Foods.
2. Up Your Protein Intake
Eating a large amount of protein will leave you feeling full, thus decreasing your appetite. Protein also has the unique ability to boost metabolism by helping maintain and even build muscle mass. There has been some correlation between high protein diets and a reduction in belly fat. The best way to ensure you are getting enough protein is to eat a little at every meal. A general rule of thumb for high protein intake is to get around 1 gram of protein for every pound of bodyweight. For example, a 130 pound person would aim to get 130 grams of protein each day. Excellent sources of protein come from lean meats, eggs, nuts, etc.
Try our 10-Day Complete High-Protein, Low-Carb Meal Plan!
3. Limit Your Sugar Intake
It’s no surprise that there is a link between sugar intake and increased abdominal fat. In fact, this is one of the best ways to burn belly fat. Along with furthering obesity, sugar has also been linked to chronic diseases such as Type 2 Diabetes and heart disease. According to the AHA, women should consume no more than 25 grams of sugar per day, while men should stay under 38 grams, daily. Keep in mind that eating sugary foods will increase your cravings. This can lead to snacking, which can cause you to gain weight.
Do you have a sweet tooth? Try one of these 12 Healthy Desserts Under 150 Calories!
4. Ease Off the Alcohol
If you enjoy the occasional cocktail, have no fear! We’re not telling you that you need to cut it out completely. Studies have shown that the occasional drink has little to no effect on belly fat. You run into issues, however, when you consume alcohol in abundance. Not only is there a direct correlation between alcohol and truncal obesity, but consuming alcohol puts you at risk of making unhealthy choices (as far as your diet is concerned). If you’re going to have a drink or two, leave the snacks in the pantry.
Related: Happy Hour and Your Waistline.
5. Avoid Trans Fats
Luckily, most foods these days are void of these pesky fats, however you can still find them in margarine, spreads, and some processed foods. Trans Fats have been linked to chronic diseases, including obesity. A 6-year study was performed on a group of monkeys to prove the effects that trans fats can have on abdominal obesity. All of the monkeys were fed the same amount of calories per day, however, half of them consumed trans fats while the others were given monounsaturated (good) fats. At the end of the study, the monkeys that consumed trans fats had a whopping 33% increase in abdominal fat.
Check out: The Good, The Bad, The Fat We Need to Eat.
6. Exercise More, Stress Less
Aerobic exercise is a key component when it comes to shedding excess belly fat. Honestly, it doesn’t matter as much whether you perform steady state cardio or HIIT, what’s more important is the amount of time spent doing it. The AHA recommends completing 150 minutes of moderate intensity cardio, or 75 minutes of HIIT, weekly. Aerobic exercise has been shown to decrease stress, as well. Stress raises cortisol levels which can make you hold on to belly fat. You MUST perform cardiovascular exercises to maintain heart health and slim your waist!
Incorporate one (or all) of these popular workouts into your routine:
7. Integrate Resistance Training
Resistance training, also known as strength training, can yield significant fat loss results when combined with proper diet and cardiovascular exercise. A study of overweight teenagers showed that a combination of cardio and weight lifting led to the greatest decrease in abdominal fat. Lifting weights will help you maintain the muscle mass that you already have, as well as add to it. The more muscle mass that you have, the faster your metabolism will be. This means that you’ll burn more calories throughout the day, whether you’re exercising or at rest. It’s important to note that your resistance training should not just be core-focused. For best results, you must perform total-body resistance training. Keep in mind that building muscle mass will not make you look ‘bulky’. In terms of volume, 1 pound of muscle is much smaller than 1 pound of fat because it is much more dense. Building muscle and reducing fat will make you look trim and slim!
Try one of these strength-training routines:
Incorporating just one or two of these methods into your lifestyle, unfortunately, will not be enough to see any real progress. The BEST ways to burn belly fat are to incorporate ALL 7 of these tips into your daily routine.
What do you think? Are you ready to shed that belly fat once and for all? Do you have a favorite tip that we left out? Let us know in the comment section!