We all love a toned abdomen but most times we are not ready to put in the work to achieve it. First, let’s look at some ways people gain belly fat.
We continuously indulge in chocolate, processed food and lots of baked goods that increase fat in and around our stomach.
There are two kinds of fat that surround the abdomen, they include subcutaneous fat and visceral fat.
The subcutaneous fat is the layer of fat below the skin. On the other hand, visceral fat is a dangerous kind of fat, it surrounds organs of the body and inhibits them from functioning properly.
Visceral fat is a very unhealthy fat, it can lead to several health challenges such as type 2 diabetes and other heart-related diseases.
In order to protect ourselves against the deposition of this fat around our bellies, it is very important that we engage in exercises that would help to burn or lose this fat.
There are several publications about spot reduction exercises however research has shown that there is absolutely nothing like spot reduction.
In order to lose belly fat, you must be willing to engage in different strength, core and cardio exercises as this will help to lose the fat surrounding the abdomen.
It’s really important that we watch what we eat and drink in order to avoid the visceral fat but if we already have the protruding stomach it’s about time we put on our gym clothes and shoes and begin to work off those fats away from our bodies.
What causes belly fat
Belly fat especially visceral fat which surrounds our organs is very dangerous as it can lead to certain health problems like stroke, diabetes, heart issues, liver problems and many other life threatening problems.
Lots of factors including unsuspecting things can lead to belly include:
I know you are shocked but this is really true, if you stress a lot with little or no rest you are bound to develop belly fat.
Stress triggers the release of a hormone by the adrenal gland, this hormone is known as the cortisol (stress hormone).
Stress drives most people to emotional eating which most times consists of unhealthy food, junks and drinks.
Excess release of the stress hormone prevents the extra fat consumed from been deposited into the body rather it stores this extra fat in the belly.
Trans fat is the most unhealthy fat to eat, they support weight gain and increase the level of belly fat.
They are mostly found in baked food such as cakes, soda and other sugary sweetened food. Unlike healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids, trans fat is not a good choice for the body.
An inactive lifestyle will definitely lead to weight gain. To lose fat (including belly fat) you must be willing to lose more calories than you take in.
A person who does not engage in any activity rather sit down doing nothing but eating and sleeping might likely burn no calories leading to a large deposition of fat around the body including the belly.
Lack of sleep
Research has linked a bad sleeping lifestyle (inability to sleep or sleeping for less than 5 hours) to an increase in weight gain.
Most people who suffer from sleeping disorders engage in overeating which leads to an increase in belly fat and generalized weight gain.
Unhealthy eating has become popular in the world as so many people prefer to eat from restaurants or engage in eating processed food as they believe that it saves time and stress of cooking.
Most of these processed and restaurant food are rich in calories and they contain lots of sugar. To lose belly fat you must be willing to engage in healthy eating, eat more of fiber and protein as this has a high satiety rate.
Excessive alcohol consumption
Alcohol taken moderately can offer certain health benefits such as lower the risk of heart diseases but when excessively consumed it leads to an increase in belly fat.
The extra quantity of alcohol consumed is stored as fat in the belly therefore increasing the amount of visceral fat surrounding the internal organ. see our list of beer with low calories
Lack of exercise
Most people do not engage in any form of exercise, they eat all kind of unhealthy fatty food but nothing to actually burn off the number of calories they have consumed.
This will definitely lead to weight all over the body and of course in the belly.
10 Exercises to lose belly fat
To effectively lose belly fat, one must be willing to engage in a series of cardio, strength, and core exercises. Exercises that target different muscles in the body are also a good choice for burning belly fat.
A very popular exercise in the fitness world, it is highly engaged in because it targets many muscles in the body including the triceps, quadriceps, chest, shoulders and the back.
A burpee is an exercise that begins with a pushup, followed by a jump then back to a pushup. It is an explosive movement exercise packed with quick movements that require strength, resilience and focus in order to fully achieve the form.
Burpees are really effective in burning fat from the body (including belly fat). This is definitely an exercise you should engage in when you decide to lose that belly fat.
How to perform a burpee
Stand erect with your hands by your sides then lower yourself into a squat position and put your hands in front of you.
Push your feet backward and lower yourself to a plank position with your arms fully extended.
Lower yourself till your chest touches the ground (I.e perform a pushup) then lift yourself up, bring your feet forward and lift yourself up into a jump.
Return to the starting position and repeat the process again.
Running or Brisk walking
Running? How does that even help to lose belly fat?
Running or brisk walking is a cardiovascular exercise that helps to burn calories when we work out our body uses glycogen as energy but after 15-20 minutes of intense HIIT (high intensity interval exercise) exercise the glycogen level is depleted and the body begins to burn the visceral fat as energy.
Running is also a generalized full-body workout that helps to strengthen the muscles of the lower body including the quadriceps, glutes and hamstrings. As a cardio exercise, it also helps to strengthen the heart.
How to begin your running routine
Get a good pair of shoes
Start running, begin at a stable pace
Increase your intensity and speed.
Mountain climber is a great full-body workout, it helps to build and strengthen the muscles of the arms and shoulders.
This exercise also works your belly, it helps to burn calories from your body and also burn visceral fat.
During this exercise, the core is highly engaged especially when the one knee is brought forward towards the chest. The strength to stabilize and balance the core is wholly dependent on the core muscles.
You can choose to increase or decrease your pace (Hiit) in order to speed up the heart rate.
How to perform mountain climber
Begin with a plank position make sure your arms are fully extended with your palms flat on the floor and directly underneath your shoulders.
Bring your right knee to your chest then place it back in the plank position, repeat the position with the left knee and continue alternating your legs.
This exercise targets the muscles of the abdomen including the obliques. It effectively works the core muscles and strengthens them.
The Russian twist basically involves turning your upper body (torso) from one side to the other while making sure that your lower body is steadied on the floor with your feet off the ground.
How to perform the Russian twist
Sit down on the floor or on a mat make sure your back is straight, bend your knees and lift your feet off the ground.
Lean backward slowly forming a 45 degree with your torso and your knees. Extend your hands a few distances away from your chest, you can hold a medicine ball.
Slowly turn your torso to the left and then to the right, try to engage your abdominal muscles, you are moving with help of your chest, not hands.
With each turn ensure that you squeeze the oblique muscles during each turn.
This exercise does not require a bicycle for its execution, it is basically a replication of the bicycle movement (you move your legs in a cycling motion as if you are riding a bicycle).
This exercise targets the core, muscles of the thigh, and legs. It helps to build the muscles and also improves muscle endurance and stability.
How to perform a bicycle exercise
Make sure you lie on a mat to help reduce friction between you and the floor, it also serves as a barrier from the hardness of the floor.
Lie on a mat with your hands on either side or behind or you can use it to support your head. Lift your legs from the ground and bend your knees in a 90 degree.
Move your like in a cycling motion (I.e bring your left leg up to your chest while you keep your right leg in a straight line). Alternate this movement between both legs for 10-12 types.
Planks are basically a very good form of exercise that targets the abdomen, there are different kinds of planks ranging from the side plank to plank walk and other different variations.
The forearm plank is the most basic type of plank, it has the same format (positioning) as a pushup.
The plank exercise targets the core, the muscles of the shoulders, arms and glutes.
How to perform a forearm plank
Begin in a pushup position with your elbow directly underneath your shoulders, ensure that there is a shoulder-width distance between your arms.
If your form is accurate, your weight should be supported by your toes and forearm. As a beginner, you should hold this position for 30 seconds you can increase your time as you advance.
Flutter kick is a great exercise that targets the core, it helps to lose belly fat and strengthen the core.
This is a cardio exercise that helps to boost muscle endurance and stability. An accurate form will be felt in the lower abdomen (i.e. a burning or shivering sensation will be felt).
How to perform a flutter kick
Lie on a mat with your back to the floor extend your legs in front of you and put your legs together with your feet pointing upwards.
Lift your legs off the ground and slowly move your feet up and down. Increase your intensity and interval as you progress.
There are different variations to this basic form of crunches, this exercise requires strength and stability.
Crunches help to work out those flaps by the side, they target the side muscles and help to reduce belly fat. This exercise also targets the transverse abdominal which is a muscle situated deeply in the stomach.
Muscles of the back are also strengthened during the crunch exercise.
How to perform a basic crunch
Lie on your back on a mat, place your feet on the floor your knees should be bent. Put your hands behind your head for support.
Lift your upper body (shoulders, back, head) off the ground and hold the position for a while before returning to the starting position, repeat the process again.
HIIT exercises are high intensity interval exercises, it is a full-body workout that helps to strengthen the muscles of the body as well as the heart.
The exercise helps to burn off calories and fat from the body including belly fat. The exercise includes running, brisk walking, swimming, cycling.
Increasing your pace and intensity within short intervals is the most important fact about the high intensity interval training.
This is a great exercise that helps to boosts flexibility by stretching out muscles in the body.
Lunges are also a great way to burn belly fat, they target the core and the glutes muscles. There are variations to this exercise (lunge with front kick), identify the perfect variation for you and engage in it.
Do you have belly fat, does your abdomen look flappy? Not to worry there’s a solution.
It is important that you engage in exercises that help you lose this belly fat as it can be very detrimental to your health.
If you have other workouts that helps to lose fat, write them down in the comment section.