When it comes to losing fat from your belly and hips, the best strategy comes down to a combination of clean dieting and an effective exercise regime.
Some of us carry more fat in certain areas than others. Can you do a secret diet or workout plan to target fat in just your belly and hips?
No. But can you do a diet and workout plan that removes fat from your entire body including your belly and hips? Yes.
How To Reduce Belly Fat And Hip Size
The most important thing to remember when trying to slim down your waist and hips is that you can’t directly target fat on one part of your body with a specific exercise or diet. However, with the right diet and exercise changes, you can reduce fat all over your body, reducing the fat in the “trouble spots” that you want to change and leaving you looking slim and spectacular. To reduce belly fat, try to run a caloric deficit of around 500 calories per day, and mix in regular cardio and strength training exercise.
The Fat Targeting Myth
You cannot target fat cells on your body. You can do thousands of abdominal crutches but this will not take away the belly fat. You can do thousands of squats and lunges across the gym floor but this will not take away fat from your hips. Spot reduction is not possible.
Fat is stored in adipose cells which are stored throughout your body. Some people have more adipose cells in their abdomen, hips, legs or even arms. In order to burn off fat, your body needs to be in a position to metabolize it.
There are three major food groups: protein, carbohydrates and fat.
Protein is used to build your muscle, carbohydrates are primarily used for energy, and fat can be used to metabolize other cell function.
The body’s go to source for energy is carbohydrate (sugars). When we run out of carbohydrates the body then uses fat for energy.
So when it comes to dieting, the overall goal is to reduce your calorie intake below what you burn this way your body mobilizes stored fat and converts it to usable energy.
When you do this you burn fat from all over your body which will expose your sexy hips and flat abs!
The Type of Fat You Want to Lose
There are two main types of fat.
Subcutaneous fat is directly underneath the skin, which is not necessarily hazardous to your health.
On the other hand, visceral fat is located in the abdomen and surrounding vital organs and may infiltrate the liver and other organs.
Visceral fat has been linked to bad cholesterol, hypertension, diabetes, heart disease and stroke. You cannot see visceral fat. So even though someone may look thin, if they have lots of visceral fat internally they are at increased health risks.
However, research has shown that typically those with lots of belly and hip fat also have a lot of visceral fat. Men with a waist over 40 inches, and women with waists over 35 inches have a high likelihood of increased visceral fat.
So if you want to decrease your health risks – and look great – your goal should be to start decreasing your calorie intake and exercise more.
The visceral fat is more metabolically active, so when you begin diet and exercise you are likely to lose the visceral fat first before the subcutaneous fat.
Do not get discouraged because although you may still have some belly fat showing when you look in the mirror, if the scale is decreasing you most likely lost visceral fat which is making you healthier. So continue the course and you will then burn the subcutaneous fat too!
The Most Effect Dieting Techniques to Lose Fat
When it comes to losing fat, I want you to think of diet and exercise in two ways.
Dieting is going to help you decrease your calories so the exercise can effectively strip the fat away. You cannot do one without the other.
In fact, I would advocate that the diet is the single most important thing. Think about it. If you burn 3,000 calories a day, and consume 1,500 calories, you are burning more than you ate. So you would begin to burn fat.
However, if you burned 3,000 calories a day, but binged eat at night and ended up consuming 4,500 calories a day, you would not lose fat. You would gain weight!
The easiest change is to eat fewer calories. But this is the hardest to do because of temptation to eat other foods.
Start by eating more frequent meals. Instead of 3 meals a day, eat 5-6 smaller meals. By using portion control and constantly eating every 2-3 hours, you are more likely to stay satiated and full, and less likely to eat foods you should not be eating when you get hungry.
Constantly providing your body with nutrients every 2-3 hours also keeps you sugar levels controlled so your hormones are balanced and less likely to store food as fat. Avoid eating fewer meals. As this will lead to hunger and binge eating.
You must determine how many calories you should eat a day. The nih Body Weight Planner is a great tool to assist you in determining your caloric intake needs given your exercise frequency and intensity.
You can also use it to help you determine how you can adjust your calorie intake based on your goal weight within a certain time frame. As a general rule, it is best to find your recommended calorie intake based on this calculator and then subtract 500 calories from your diet.
This way you can get on a deficit and start losing fat. Do not drop your calories too low. Women should eat no less than 1,200 calories and men should eat no less than 1,800 calories.
You need a minimum amount of calories to help your function and do metabolic activity and still have the energy needed to push through your workout. If you drop your calories too much you can go into a catabolic state and this leads to muscle breakdown, weakness and general fatigue and poor cognitive performance.
You also need to eat more fiber. Fiber will make you satiated and helps prevent cravings for sugar.
Most women should be eating 25g of fiber a day, and most men should be eating 35g of fiber a day. Eat foods rich in fiber like oatmeal, berries, and whole grain pasta or rice.
You should avoid any type of simple sugars, and opt for more complex carbohydrates for longer last energy. You should instead start eating superfoods like oatmeal, chicken, salmon, Greek yogurt, whole grain pasta, lean ground turkey, blueberries, grapefruit, and avocado.
In addition to eating these foods remember to drink about 8 glasses of 8 ounces of water a day to stay hydrated. The more hydrated you are the more likely you are to stay full and have less cravings for bad foods.
The Most Effect Exercise Techniques to Lose Fat
When it comes to stripping away the fat you want to use exercises that incorporate as many muscles as possible and train at a high intensity.
Compound exercises are movements that use multiple muscle groups. For example, the squat is a compound movement that trains your butt, hips, and thighs and even some of your lower back and abdomen.
On the other hand, isolation exercises such as a leg extension only will train your quadriceps (the front part of your thigh). Furthermore, you want to use High Interval Intensity Training (hiit) to burn more fat.
hiit will burn more calories and keep your metabolism higher throughout the day than doing moderate intensity aerobic exercises.
Here is a great hiit exercise routine for you to do three to four times a week. You will do these exercises in sequential order with each exercise going on for 30 seconds.
For example, you will do as many jump squats as you can over 30 seconds, then you will immediately go into switch lunges and do as many as you can for 30 seconds. Once that is complete go to the next exercise.
You will repeat all these exercises in order with no rest until you complete this circuit. After you complete the cycle of exercises A-J then take a 1 minute rest. Then repeat the cycle. Aim to do this hiit exercise program cycle 4-6 times for a calorie burning workout.
A. Jump Squats
F. Jumping Jacks
G. Bicep curls
H. Abdominal crunches
Click on the links above to see how these exercises can be done at home with your bodyweight or a simple set of dumbbells or pullup bar.
In time with a consistent diet, and effective hiit workout you will burn fat and get fit. Be patient with the process and over time you will lose belly and hip fat.
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, med fit, 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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