Body fat is unattractive, makes clothes feel tighter, lowers your self-esteem and harms your health. If you see fat on your waist you are looking at subcutaneous fat, which is the fat under your skin.
However, inside your body, you have fat that surrounds your organs called “visceral fat.” Unfortunately, visceral fat increases your risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke, and diabetes and shortens your life expectancy .
When we workout and diet we simultaneously lose both types of fat, but more importantly, we also reduce our visceral fat which decreases our overall cardiometabolic health risks .
Please be aware, as I have mentioned in dozens of articles, that you cannot “target” fat cells. No matter what that infomercial “claims,” even if you do a thousand abdominal crutches on their “magical machine” you will not target belly fat.
Despite the “claims” from that new leg press machine you see online, even if you do thousands of leg presses you will not spot reduce fat from your hips and glutes. Let me repeat this again: Fat spot reduction is not possible.
However, with the right attitude, diet and exercise plan you can lose fat – including belly fat. Here are the top 25 most effective tips to get leaner – backed up with medical research!
1. Eat More Protein
In my last article I explained how much protein you should consume. As a general guideline, most people can follow the rda recommendations of 0.8-1.3g of protein per kilogram of body weight per day to achieve their weight loss goals.
However, if you are more active with weightlifting and aerobic activity, it may be best to consume as much as 1.5g of protein per kilogram of bodyweight a day.
Strive to eat lean sources of protein like chicken breast, beans, seafood. If you are a vegan then you must read about these power protein vegan foods!
2. Eat Low Carbs
At the end of the day, you need to burn more calories than you consume to burn fat. Even if you cut the fat, if you are consuming too many carbohydrates then your body will first burn the carbohydrates you ate before burning the fat.
There are a variety of low carb diets out there, but the key is to eat in moderation, whether that it be less than 150g a day or as few as 50g a day.
Ultimately, a low carb diet will get you leaner and remove that annoying fat and reduce your cardiovascular risk .
3. Lift Weights (Heavy Weights!)
Not only will you build more muscle mass, but this enhances your metabolism and burns more calories throughout the day since you have more muscle.
Research shows that compound exercises using large muscle groups (squat, bench press, deadlift, Olympic lifting) burn more energy–both during and after training–than exercises that involve smaller ones .
If you want to try these technical lifts be sure to reach out to a certified personal trainer to assist you to avoid injury.
4. Drink More Water
Water, rather than low calorie sweeten beverage, has been also been shown to be more effective for weight loss .
It is recommended that males drink 13 glasses of water, and females drink 9 glasses of water .
5. Intermittent Fasting
The basics of intermittent fasting (if) are that you fast (no food intake) for a period of time, which can vary from skipping some meals, or fasting for an entire day multiple times a week.
You do not necessarily limit the food intake, rather you limit when you eat them. Recently, I published an article that goes into extreme detail on the methods and benefits of if.
Interestingly, when if is combined with weight lifting it helped retain more muscle while burning fat than in a calorie-restriction diet [35, 36]. if has been linked to reduce the risk of coronary artery disease and diabetes [37, 38].
6. Do More Cardio
7. Eat More Fiber
Fiber also reduces your risk of diabetes, diverticular disease, and constipation [44, 45, 46, 47]. When you eat more fiber you feel fuller and this decreases your appetite so you are less likely to overeat.
The Institute of Medicine recommends that men younger than 50 get 38g of fiber a day and men over the age of 50 get 30g of fiber a day; and that women younger than 50 get 25g of fiber a day, and women over age 50 get 21g of fiber a day [48, 49].
According to the Harvard School of Public Health, the healthiest sources of high fiber foods include grain foods, fresh fruits and vegetables, legumes, and nuts .
8. Whey Protein
Each scoop of whey contains approximately 25g of lean protein which can be made into a delicious smoothie.
9. New Workout Routine
End the monotony of your routine by trying a new workout. If you want to gain pure strength, I recommend the 5-3-1 program (which I swear by!).
Whatever program you decide on, stick to it for a few months and see how your body changes.
10. Join a Gym or Class
When you spend money on something you will be more likely to use it.
Aim to find a gym that is in close proximity to you that offers all the equipment you want, but also has classes for you to try so you can do different exercises to keep you motivated.
11. Get a Training Partner
I attribute my success in competitive bodybuilding and powerlifting largely to the supportive, encouraging and inspiring training partners that I have had.
Not only did they push me on every spectrum in the gym, but they held me accountable to my diet and to being consistent to show up every day ready to push myself. I can’t even count how many times I had a buddy call me and say, “Let’s go! It’s leg day! And you’re going to crush it!”
Furthermore, having a training partner allows you to bond closer together and creates lifelong friendships. Although it was almost a decade ago, I still keep in close contact with my collegetraining partners – who continue to lift religiously – despite their busy lives as physicians, surgeons, political consultants, government employeesor bankers!
Building good habits early in your life will lead to positive lifestyle changes.
12. Set a new Goal for Each Workout
Do you ever find yourself going to the gym without a purpose? Do you find yourself just “going through the motions?” Stop that!
You need to set attainable and appropriate reasonable goals for each and every workout. If you plan to squat 100lbs, then write it out the night before. Visualize it. Be S.M.A.R.T!
Prepare yourself for it. Warm up and focus on that goal. Then do it! If you do not set a new goal each workout you will find that you will get complacent and your weight loss will stall. Try these 7 tips for gym goal setting.
13. Avoid Trans-Fats
Trans-fat are processed food that is “partially hydrogenated oil” that is generally added to food to give it more desirable taste and texture.
It is often used to deep fry foods and can affect your health by raising your cholesterol, increasing your risk of heart disease, diabetes and stroke [56, 57, 58]. Increased consumption of trans-fat is also correlated to weight gain [59, 60, 61].
According to the Cleveland Clinic, trans-fat are commonly found in cookies, cakes, margarine, breakfast sandwiches, candy, doughnuts, fried foods and pizza .
14. Drink Alcohol Sparingly
One serving of beer is 150-200 calories which adds up on weekends when people tend to binge drink.
15. Avoid Sugary Drinks
16. Avoid Fruit Juice
What? But isn’t fruit good for you?
If you drink it you may end up consuming 300-400 calories. Instead eat it raw as this will also release hormones to tell your body that you are satiated from the fruit and this will stop you from overeating as well.
17. Sleep More
18. Exercise Log
It is hard to remember how much you lifted each day for a specific exercise. However, when you keep track of your workout with an exercise journal log, it allows you to gradually increase the repetitions or weight for each exercise.
It also allows you to plan your workout for each day based on how you did on the gym that particular day.
19. Reduce Your Stress
Try to reduce stress in your life through meditation, nurturing your personal and spiritual relationships, and keeping a work-life balance. Try these 10 proven ways to reduce stress in your life.
20. Food Log
You must know how many calories you need to consume a day. This sets your limit for each day which will guide your progress.
I highly recommended using the National Institute of Health Body Weight Planner, since this calculator takes into account a variety of factors that affect your recommended caloric intake for weight loss such as your gender, age, current weight and height, and activity level.
21. Hire a Personal Trainer
It can get confusing calorie and overwhelming walking into a gym when you do not know how to begin.
While working out with a friend is helpful, it may be best to get an expert opinion through those that are certified personal trainers.
Shop around for a personal trainer. The right fit will make or break your success. You want a personal trainer that is in shape, knowledgeable, supportive and encouraging.
If you are concerned about the cost, try to join with a spouse or friend to get a discount.
22. High Intensity Interval Training (hiit)
This unique training method raises your metabolism during and after the workout to help you burn fat long after you are done working out.
23. Push Yourself
You will never get the results you want unless you push yourself. You do not need to kill yourself. But you need to work up a sweat and feel spent after each workout.
Think about it. If you show up and “go through the motions” you will never achieve the results you want. If you did 10 reps of 15lb curls on that last set and it felt easy, then go for 12-15 reps on your next set.
24. Eat Fish Each Week
Salmon is rich in protein and omega-3 fatty acids, and will help maintain eyesight, replenish skin, keep joints and bones strong, reduce your cardiovascular risk, and contribute to weight loss [90, 91, 92, 93, 94, 95].
Aim for one serving a week to get those benefits.
25. Stay Resilient
You will have good days where you have phenomenal workouts and stick to your diet perfectly. And you will have days that you may binge eat, drink too much alcohol, or skip the gym.
It happens. You are human. Do not beat yourself up. You need to regroup and get your focus back.
Remember, being healthy is not simply a number that you want to see on the scale in a few weeks from now. No. Being healthy is a lifestyle. With a disciplined and positive attitude you will achieve the results you want for the rest of your life!
The Best Tips To Lose Belly Fat
- Eat more protein
- Eat low carbs
- Lift weights (heavy weights!)
- Drink more water
- Intermittent fasting
- Do more cardio
- Eat more fiber
- Whey protein
- New workout routine
- Join a gym or class
- Get a training partner
- Set a new goal for each workout
- Avoid trans-fats
- Drink alcohol sparingly
- Avoid sugary drinks
- Avoid fruit juice
- Sleep more
- Exercise log
- Reduce your stress
- Food log
- Hire a personal trainer
- High intensity interval training (hiit)
- Push yourself
- Eat fish each week
- Stay resilient
Rajiv M Mallipudi, md, mhs is an internal medicine resident physician, personal trainer, athlete and author. He has over a decade of personal training experience and helped hundreds of clients of all levels achieve their weight loss and fitness goals. This inspired him to work as a clinical researcher at the nationally recognized Johns Hopkins Hospital Weight Management Center. During medical school he and his classmates created the health and wellness organization, medfit, which provided personal training and nutrition counseling to the medical student body. In his spare time, Dr. Mallipudi enjoys playing ice hockey, dancing, and training for his next bodybuilding and powerlifting competitions. Dr. Mallipudi serves as a contributing writer for the Diet and Fitness sections.
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