The number one question people ask me is how they can get rid of belly fat. To me, the simplest way to achieve this is by reducing (or totally avoiding) sugary foods and drinks and reducing starchy foods. If you eat the wrong foods, exercising 24 hours a day will not rectify it. When you eat properly and add both cardio and strength training exercises, you will be able to effectively lose and tone your belly.
Most people spend an incredible amount of time doing crunches and other abs exercises in the hope that it will flatten their belly. Unfortunately, this isn’t how it works. Crunches and other abs exercises do not burn fat. They build and strengthen the abdominal muscles and you end up with well-defined abs (six packs) under a blanket of fat. Your abs will only be revealed when you are careful about what you put in your mouth and this justifies the saying that “abs are made in the kitchen and revealed in the gym”.
So what should you eat? Eat more vegetables (the non-starchy kind e.g. greens, cucumbers, cabbage, cauliflower, okro, tomatoes, peppers etc.), good quality proteins (meat, chicken, fish, eggs etc.) and healthy fats (nuts, dairy, seeds, unprocessed oils, avocado etc). Eating starchy carbohydrates is okay but you must eat it in moderation. My suggestion is that you limit starchy carbohydrates to 1/4th of your plate. Avoid sugar like a plague. If you crave it, eat it once in a while and focus mostly on natural sugar – fruits and vegetables.
In addition to eating well, train in a smart way too. Doing only long slow duration cardio e.g. long distance running may not be the solution to getting a flat belly. Neither will doing thousands of crunches or planking for hours. Instead, concentrate on compound exercises that train many muscle groups at the same time. If you use the gym, it is a great idea to add weights to your workouts and don’t be afraid to lift heavy. Do squats, lunges, deadlifts, clean & press, kettle bell swings, pull ups, windmill etc. These are fat burning exercises and they will increase your metabolism and tone you up nicely. If you don’t have access to a gym, do bodyweight HIIT (high intensity interval training) and include exercises such as squats, lunges, burpees, mountain climbers, high knees, jumping jacks, plank (front & side), squat thrusts, inchworm, skipping etc. You don’t need the gym or fancy equipment for these latter set of exercises and they are as effective as the previous ones.
Again, as much as possible avoid alcohol and sugary drinks. Drink mostly water. It keeps you feeling full and aids fat burning. Don’t be too worried about eating late. So long as you are not overeating (eating more than your energy expenditure), you are fine. If you need to eat later than 7pm, eat proteins and non-starchy veggies. Proteins take a long time to digest so even when you are sleeping, your body will be burning off calories trying to digest what you’ve eaten.
Finally, remember that fat is not your enemy. Eating good fats can actually help you lose belly fat. How? By keeping you fuller for longer. This way you will find yourself eating less which is good. Apart from this, studies show that digesting fats consumes a lot of energy so it has a metabolic advantage. Cool right?
Hopefully you’ve learnt something new from this and you will achieve your flat belly in no time.
Uzo The Gym Addict is a certified personal trainer and Nutrition coach. She runs an exclusive online coaching program for Brides-To-Be who desperately need to get in shape to fit into their dream wedding dress.She also works with other individuals who need expert help and guidance to lose weight and/or transform their bodies.