Many people believe that by doing 100 abdominal exercises and a ton of crunches they will automatically get a flat stomach. The truth is, to lose belly fat you need much more than ab exercises. After all, if you have rock hard abs hidden behind belly fat all the abdominal exercises in the world won’t help.
The real way to flatten your stomach is to first get rid of excess body fat. In order to do this, you need much more than just your exercise mat for your ab exercises. You need to get out your walking shoes, take a look at the foods you eat, build lean muscle mass, reduce stress and last of all, get some sleep. Although these steps seem to be the last thing to help flatten your stomach, these are the best steps towards shedding excess weight and losing belly fat.
If you have already been doing crunches everyday, then you might be saying to yourself “I already exercise!” When I say exercise I’m not talking about toning your abs. The type of exercise you need has to get your blood pumping and the oxygen flowing. I’m talking about aerobics, also known as cardiovascular exercises. When doing aerobic exercises your body and muscles need oxygen. This oxygen is what helps you lose belly fat as fat needs oxygen to burn effectively. So aerobics are great for burning excess body fat and is just one step towards getting a flat stomach.
For maximum fat burn, try exercises that use the lower body like running, walking, jogging and cross country skiing. The reason these are better for burning fat is it uses the larger muscles in your body like the hips, quads and glutes. These larger muscles need more oxygen so you are able to burn more fat.
Even though aerobics are best for burning fat, don’t dismiss the benefits of building lean muscles with strength training. Strength training exercises are workouts that challenge and tone your muscles through resistance. These types of exercises include weight lifting, resistance band exercises, dumbbell exercises and even body weight exercises. Strength training helps build lean muscle mass. The more lean muscles you have the higher your metabolic rate. Your metabolic rate accounts for up to 60 to 70% of the total calories you burn in a day. The more calories you burn the more fat you burn which means you are losing belly fat.
So add strength training exercises to your weekly exercise routine. Don’t forget to include your abdominal exercises. After all, you want to tighten and tone your abs so you can show them off once you lose your unwanted fat.
Another important step to losing belly fat is eating the right foods. You want to have a healthy eating plan and select the right foods to help lose excess fat. By selecting the right foods and reducing your sugar intake and fat intake, you are not only helping to flatten your stomach but you are eating healthier and promoting weight loss. Experts say to eat smaller meals more often during the day. This helps to increase your metabolism and keep it going all day long. This means you are burning fat and calories during the day.
Becoming totally stress free is probably impossible for anyone, but reducing your stress can help you shed belly fat. Why? Well when we are stressed our body releases cortisol, the stress hormone. This stress hormone causes increases in appetite and fat production, and unfortunately, this excess fat usually ends up in our stomach.
Look for ways to reduce your stress in order to minimize the effects of the stress hormone. Exercise is one of the best ways to relieve stress and it helps burn calories and fat. However, we can’t always exercise at the time we feel the stress. Other ways to relieve stress is to go talk to a friend, rather it be to vent or just to catch up on things. This helps to get “it off your chest” or to focus on other things. Other methods include breathing exercises and relaxation therapy.
This step seems totally unrelated to losing weight and belly fat, but it does help. How it helps is your body needs to recuperate from the day before and sleep is what is needed to re-energize yourself. With a good night sleep you will wake up more refreshed, less stressed and more energized to tackle the new day’s activities. When you are well rested you are able to exercise harder and longer. This means you will burn more fat and calories. You will be more alert and sharp, meaning you will be able to make better decisions like your food selections.
Getting the proper sleep also helps regulate insulin and helps maintain proper blood glucose levels. Studies show that the lack of sleep can negatively impact your insulin production. This means you could have excess insulin in your body which leads to increased fat production. So be sure to get sleep and wake up well rested so that you can focus on burning fat and flattening your stomach.
Julie is the author and creator of Exercise 4 Weight Loss. Here you can find lots of tips, tools and more. Be sure to check out the fat burning exercises to help you lose belly fat.