18 Nov , 16

What NOT to do when trying to Lose Belly Fat

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When we talk about “healthy weight loss” and belly fat, we’re not just talking about dropping a few pounds. You can be close to a “normal” weight but still be wildly unhealthy. The true measure of your fitness has nothing to do with the number on your scale. It has much more to do with hormonal health, functionality of energy systems and it’s all tied to your body fat percentage.

Remember that too much body fat is the primary contributor to diabetes, metabolic disorders, heart disease, and a whole mess of health problems. If you’re truly going to be healthy, you need to not just lose weight, but FAT! Getting your body fat percentage to a “normal” amount is far more important than just weighing a few pounds less.

Good News: Dropping body fat = weight lost. You’ll still see weight loss, but it will be the healthy, effective, long-lasting sort!

A healthy diet is designed to not just eliminate weight, but body fat specifically. To see serious belly (and body) fat elimination, you need three basic elements:

  1. More exercise – this means either a bodyweight focused program like our Alpha System
  2. Timed calories – well timed automatically leads to less like in my Flat Belly Fix System
  3. Better balance of macro and micronutrients

Combine these three elements, and you’ve got a great chance at not just losing weight, but getting rid of that unwanted belly fat.

You may be thinking, “I’ve been watching my diet and doing more exercise, but I’m not getting rid of my belly fat. What’s going on? Why am I losing weight but not fat?”

Well, it’s very possible you’re doing something that’s slowing or stopping your fat burning. Below, we have a list of the things you want to AVOID when trying to lose belly fat. See if you’re doing any of them, then cut it out!

Drinking Booze

Sad to say it, but frequent and consistent boozing is the first thing that’s going to have to go!

First off, alcohol is nothing more than sugar and empty calories. Even low-calorie alcohols like vodka provide ZERO nutritional value. To top it off, they also slow down your digestion, as your body is trying to metabolize the alcohol before it poisons your body. (Yes, alcohol poisoning is why you feel tipsy or drunk!)

But alcohol affects your body in a surprising number of ways [1]:

  • It triggers your desire for food, and stimulates the “reward” feelings you get when you eat a lot of food.
  • It reduces your motivation to limit both alcohol and food, increasing your risk of excesses.
  • It stimulates your appetite and increases your hunger.
  • It stops your body from feeling satiated after eating or drinking, which means you end up eating more food before your brain registers that you’ve had enough.
  • It may increase your waist circumference and waist-hip ratio.

As you can see, alcohol is an enemy in the war on belly fat. It’s going to make it harder to lose weight but easier to GAIN weight. If you’re smart, you’ll cut out the alcohol for a few months. The results will be noticeable!

[1] http://www.iard.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/HR-Obesity1.pdf

Too Much Cardio

Cardiovascular endurance is a vital component of fitness, and it’s important that you spend time training your heart, lungs, and circulatory system to deliver oxygen and nutrients to your body when you exercise. The work capacity of your cardio system and the peripheral benefits to your capillaries and the mitochondrial adaptations are important.

Cardio is also excellent for fat burning. It puts your body in an aerobic state, which means it burns both oxygen and fatty acids to produce energy. For long-term fat loss (and especially around your belly), you’d do well to incorporate some form of cardio into your workout.

But don’t make the mistakes of OVERDOING the cardio!

Cardio activates fat, but your body doesn’t like using up its fat reserves. It prefers to use stored muscle tissue for energy rather than fat. If you ONLY do cardio, there’s nothing to stop the catabolism (breakdown) of your muscle tissue. To be honest the hormonal interaction is very complex and it bores people to death, so this is a very simplified view of the process.  Too much cardio, and I mean excessive, can lead to what we like to call being “skinny fat”: you lose weight, but the loss of muscle means you still have a higher BMI than is healthy.

To see serious weight loss, resistance training is your best friend. Resistance training burns a lot more calories than cardio, and it burns energy from all your muscles. It also signals to your body that you can’t spare the muscle tissue, forcing it to activate the stored fat when you do the cardio training. By keeping up with regular weightlifting, you protect your muscle mass and encourage better fat-burning.

Bonus: Kick it up a notch with HIIT! High Intensity Interval Training (or HIIT) is the best option for those who want better results from their cardio workouts. The exercise builds muscle, pushes your cardiovascular system to its limits, and blasts through energy (including fat). It’s a beautiful combination of resistance training and cardio that can deliver serious belly fat burning. This is the training style used for the cardio portion in the Alpha System during the non-strength training components of the plan

Overconsumption of Carbs

There was a time when fat was demonized, and carbs were seen as the “healthier” choice. Thankfully, those days are long gone!

Dozens of studies [2] in the last decade have proven that your body needs fat in order to burn fat, but it doesn’t need carbs to produce energy. In fact, carbs can cause a spike in your blood sugar that ultimate reduce energy levels. The result of eating too much carbs is far worse than a high-fat diet.

What makes carbs even worse is that so many of them are “empty”. Empty carbs are highly processed, artificial, refined, and contain very little nutritional value. They add a lot of calories to your diet, but without providing any useful vitamins or minerals. Worst of all, they cause internal inflammation that can reduce energy output, prevent belly fat burning, and slow your metabolism.

To see serious belly fat loss, it is important to follow a structured plan that definitively outlines key meal timing and optimizes your body’s hormonal response to maximize the loss of any excess fat. Don’t completely eliminate them from your diet, but consume as few carbs as possible. Always eat complex carbs–natural carbs like whole grains, legumes, fruits, and veggies that contain fiber, minerals, and vitamins—and ABSOLUTELY cut out any carbs that are refined, processed, or high in sugar. You’ll see a very noticeable difference in your weight and FAT loss when you limit your carb intake.

Warning: A low-carb diet can lead to mood swings, irritability, and cravings. Your body takes a while to get over its dependence on carbs. Try to make the transition to a low- or no-carb diet gradual so you can get used to it.

[2] https://authoritynutrition.com/23-studies-on-low-carb-and-low-fat-diets/

Trying to “Spot Reduce” Belly Fat

There are so many internet articles that promise to “Tighten that belly” or “burn that gut” by encouraging you to do exercises focused only on the body parts you want to slim down.

BIG MISTAKE! There is no way to “spot reduce” though exercise, or get rid of fat only on a certain body part. If you want to get rid of belly fat, you have to get rid of fat all over your body, but often times belly fat is the first area that your body sheds it from.

There aren’t enough ab exercises in the world to that will show off  a flat, rock-hard six pack when you’ve got too much fat on your arms, legs, and gut. Getting rid of fat in just one place means you will get rid of it in a lot of other places too.

Don’t get me wrong: doing hollow rock holds, bracing and other abs workouts is a good idea. Working the abs muscles will encourage your body to activate the nearest source of fat: your gut. However, just doing the SpecForce Abs exercises alone isn’t going to burn all the belly fat. A far faster way to burn fat from all over your body is by doing full-body workouts that hit every muscle. The larger muscle groups (legs, back, and chest) burn more calories and fat than the smaller muscles (abs, arms, calves). To see superior results, work your WHOLE body…which in you end up doing in SpecForce Abs which is why it has been regarded as The TOP Abs training program available.

Skipping Sleep

If your goal is weight loss, you’re probably planning ways you can fit in more exercise and activity, even if it means cutting back on sleep. After all, with your busy schedule, the only time you can fit in a workout is before work, so it’s worth it to sleep a bit less, right?

WRONG!

A 2010 study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine [3] bore the title: “Insufficient sleep undermines dietary efforts to reduce adiposity”. It doesn’t get clearer than that!

In the study, women who slept 5.5 hours per night lost 55% LESS weight than women who slept 8.5 hours per night. Not only that, but they lost 60% more fat-free body mass (lean muscle), they were hungrier, burned less fat during their day, and their brains didn’t respond as well to caloric restriction.

Simply put: less sleep = more belly fat.

If you’re not seeing the weight loss results you want, you may be cutting back on your sleep TOO MUCH. 30-60 minutes less sleep per night may not seem like a lot, but it can be if you’re already on the low end of the “healthy amount of sleep” spectrum.

How much sleep do you need? According to the Sleep journal [4], people who slept less than 7 hours per night had a higher risk of obesity than those who slept 7-9 hours. If getting up a bit earlier to work out means you’re getting less than 7 hours a night, it’s time to look at your schedule and see how you can shift it around to get more sleep. That sleep is vital for your belly fat loss efforts!

[3] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2951287/
[4] http://www.journalsleep.org/articles/281017.pdf

Stressing Out

We all know that stress is a bad thing, one we need to try to control in our lives. Easier said than done, right?

Well, here’s an incentive for you: less stress = better belly fat-burning.

According to psychologists [5], stress increases your risk of overeating, but it also triggers inflammatory chemicals that slows down the activation of the fatty acids stored around your body (ergo, in your beer gut). Cortisol, the hormone released when you are stressed, makes it harder to stick with healthy eating habits. It increases the risk of cravings and emotional eating.

If you want to make that belly fat-burning a bit easier, try to limit the amount of stress in your life. This is always a hard one to put into action, but it’s worth a try. Reducing stress prevents the release of cortisol, meaning there’s less inflammatory response, fewer cravings, and less chance of your cheating on your diet!

[5] https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-mindful-self-express/201308/why-we-gain-weight-when-we-re-stressed-and-how-not

Pushing Too Hard

Yes, there is such a thing as “too much dieting and working out”!

If you cut back too much on your food, you’re going to cause your body to go into a low-energy state. That means there is less energy available to your body, so less fat is burned when you work out. A too-low calorie diet leads to “starvation mode”, which can slow or even stop your efforts to burn fat.

Too much exercise can be just as bad. Excessive exercise can lead to muscle and tissue injuries. It can also cause you to lose motivation, which may make it more difficult for you to keep up with your exercise efforts. When your workout is tough, your diet seems a lot tougher as well. That’s when you’re most likely to stop dieting because “it’s too hard”.

There’s no reason you can’t push yourself, but don’t be a relentless taskmaster. Don’t get discouraged if you don’t see weight loss results right away. Stop punishing yourself for the occasional slip-up. Your diet and workout program should be a HAPPY part of your life, not the part you suffer through. If you’re going to see results, you have to commit long-term to healthy eating and daily exercise. Push too hard or expect weight loss too quickly, and you’ll lose your motivation.

Todd

Todd Lamb is one world's most trusted sources of Health and Fitness information and programming. He has dedicated his life to the service of others having served as a member of the Royal Canadian Regiment in the Special Service Force and as 17 year veteran Police Officer with 10 years on SWAT and 4 as a Team Leader. Todd is dedicated to transforming the lives of 1,000,000 men through honest science based information backed up with years of practical experience in Tactical Operations. Todd is a Best Selling Author of multiple best selling fitness programs and the book STAND APART

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