Losing weight from any part of your body can be hard, as many of us know all too well. But the good news is, shedding belly fat can be a tiny bit easier than slimming down your hips, thighs, or other parts of your body.
How? Well, women tend to store more temporary fat in their bellies and those fat stores are gained and lost often meaning that belly fat comes off easier in the sense that it comes off first. That doesn't mean you do not struggle with stubborn belly fat that simply refuses to shift, especially that last bit standing between you and a flat stomach.
Furthermore, just because belly fat comes off a bit more easily doesn’t make it less dangerous. Belly fat is unfortunately the most dangerous location to store fat because it's known as visceral fat, or the deep abdominal fat that surrounds your organs. That means it’s more likely to raise the amount of fat in your blood (known as blood lipid levels) and increase your blood sugar levels, which as a result raises your risk of heart disease and diabetes.
So if you want to lose that extra layer of tummy, it’s going to require more than a few sit-ups. It’s got to be more losing fat as a whole and making sure it stays off.
Here are 5 tips that will help you on the road to a flat stomach!
1. Train in a fasted state
If you’ve ever looked for advice on how to lose fat faster and especially stubborn hip, belly, and thigh fat you’ve probably read about exercising on an empty stomach. According to research, training on an empty stomach is a simple but powerful way to increase the amount of fat your body burns while you work out.
Firstly, you need to understand is that it’s not enough to simply have a stomach that feels “empty.” This guarantees nothing in the way of accelerated fat loss. What can help you lose fat faster, however, is training in a “fasted” state, which has to do with the levels of various hormones that affect fat loss, not how empty or full your stomach is.
When you eat food, your body’s insulin levels rise, and it begins breaking down, absorbing, and using and storing the nutrients you’ve just fed it. This is known as a “fed” state, and it can last anywhere from 2 to 6 hours depending on how much and what you ate.
Eventually, your body finishes processing the food, and insulin levels drop to a low, stable baseline level, where they remain until you eat food again. This is known as a “fasted” state.
Exercising when your insulin levels are elevated and your body is still processing your last meal and insulin levels are high is fed training, and exercising when your body has finished and insulin is low is fasted training. Research has proven that exercising whilst in a fasted state offers many more incredible fat loss benefits.
It also proves that blood flow in the abdominal region is increased when you’re in a fasted state, which helps you burn the 'stubborn' fat in this region. This is why many people credit intermittent fasting alongside diet and exercise as the most effective way to lost weight fast.
2. Alcohol is the enemy
Whilst enjoying the off cocktail over the weekend is fine, if you find yourself waking up to bad headaches, feeling sluggish and not so good then maybe it's time to cut back on the alcohol altogether.
Heavy drinking is one of the most common and sneakiest causes of obesity and if you’re serious about your weight and getting rid of that stubborn belly fat, you should consider cutting back or giving up drinking altogether. Once you reach your goal, there’s nothing stopping you from having some wine on special occasions but regular and binge drinking is a huge no no if you want to get those washboard abs.
3. Do high intensity interval cardio (HIIT)
High-intensity interval training, or HIIT for short, is a method of exercising where you alternate between periods of high intensity and low-intensity recovery. During your high-intensity bouts, push yourself almost as hard as you can, and during your low-intensity periods, try to regulate your breathing in preparation for the next sprint.
Studies show that 17 to 27 minutes of high-intensity interval training resulted in more fat loss than 60 minutes of traditional bodybuilder cardio. So if your goal is to burn as much fat in as little time as possible, then HIIT is the way to go.
HIIT increases your metabolic rate for up to 24 hours, improves insulin sensitivity in the muscles, which helps your body better absorb and use the food you eat (rather than s tore it as fat), and increases your muscles’ ability to burn fat for energy.
Furthermore, HIIT workouts don’t have to be longer than 20 to 25 minutes to be effective, and shorter cardio sessions allow you to keep muscle tone and save your strength.
4. Stop late-night snacking
Everyone knows that eating late is a big no-no but what with our busy lifestyles and even working late, sometimes it’s unavoidable. However, ensuring that you eat before 8pm might just be the secret to losing weight.
At night, the body’s metabolism slows down so undigested calories get stored as fat. Bingeing on food at night can interfere with your sleep, leading to increased stress levels, fatigue and in turn, less motivation to workout.
5. No more soft drinks!
We all know soft drinks are bad but with all the diet alternatives available on the market, you may be tricked into thinking you can drink them and still lose weight. Sugar beverages are among the most fattening products on earth. Most soft drinks contain the equivalent of 10 teaspoons of sugar, which causes a huge insulin spike in the body followed by a drop in insulin levels soon after, leaving you craving more sugar.
Even the sugar-free alternatives contain aspartame which is a substitute for sugar, and it can actually be more harmful than sugar. It has been linked to almost a hundred different health problems, including seizures, multiple sclerosis, brain tumors, diabetes, and emotional disorders. Diet sodas also increase the risk of metabolic syndrome, which causes belly fat, high blood sugar, and raised cholesterol.
If you really want to blast that belly then do away with all types of soft drinks, for good.