How to get rid of lower belly fat
It doesn’t matter whether they are male or female, young or old, a huge percentage of my personal training clients come to see me because they want to lose belly fat. This might not necessarily be because they want abs they could wash their clothes on, especially as in this day and age they probably have a washing machine, it is simply because they need to lose a little bit of the podge after too many months over indulging.
For you girls, who love to describe yourselves as if you are fruit, having belly fat would mean you are apple shaped. For men, it usually means you are married with two kids and work in finance.
Belly fat has long been linked to the stress hormone cortisol. Cortisol is something that is necessary to the body; it’s the hormone that makes us run from a lion if we see it, unless you happen to be an idiotic dentist from The US of course. It’s the fight or flight hormone that makes us able to deal with stressful situations. It is elevated during bouts of intense exercise, which is another reason it can be useful to us, as it helps us train harder. So if cortisol is a good thing, how can it make us fat?
The problem begins, as these days, the modern day man or woman have to deal with long and prolonged levels of stress, as opposed to short bouts of stress. It’s not bad that we produce cortisol, it is a good thing, it’s that our cortisol levels are too chronically high and do not reduce, because we are under constant stress. Being late for work, tube strikes, your kids fighting each other, the food we eat, the lack of sleep we allow ourselves, can all play havoc with out levels of cortisol and because of this we can begin to accumulate fat around the mid section.
So what can we do about it? Here are my top tips to get rid of belly fat:
Short Bursts Of Exercise
As I said earlier, exercise can increase levels of cortisol, this is a good thing, however, if we are chronically stressed we want our exercise to be short and intense rather than long and prolonged. So what’s the answer? Ditch the long steady state runs and replace them high intensity interval training. This can be done in the form of sprints in the park, but at Body Solutions London, we have found that strong man (or strong woman training, dependant upon your gender) is more effective.
We have designed 30 minute training routines specifically designed to blast away belly fat. During our personal training sessions we get our clients to lift, push, pull, carry and throw a range of tools we have especially for the job, combine this with short rest periods and you have a sure fire way to blitz body fat.
The sessions are obviously more intense than a long slow run, but they are definitely a lot more fun and rewarding, with the added bonus that they only take 30 minutes, so can easily fit into your daily routine.
A simple “trick”, but something we can and should do more of is breathe properly. I know what you’re thinking; I’m (insert age) and have been breathing fairly effectively all my life. Well, maybe not. Enter diaphragmatic breathing. Diaphragmatic breathing is breathing that is performed by contracting the diaphragm, a muscle located between the chest and stomach cavities. This type of breathing is marked by expansion of the stomach as opposed to the chest. In numerous studies, diaphragmatic breathing has been shown to reduce stress levels within the body.
So how do you do it? Lie down in a dark room and practice breathing through your belly. The best way to do this is to pace your hands on top of your stomach and slowly inhale through your nose, trying to fill your stomach with air, then exhale through your mouth, allowing your stomach to slowly become flatter. Try to get to a point where by you can inhale and slowly fill your stomach with air over ten seconds and exhale and flatten the stomach over the same amount of time, so that each breath takes 20 seconds.
Get A Good Nights Sleep
When you’re tired you can produce more of a hormone called ghrelin, which in turn can lead to cravings for sugary food, which for obvious reasons are not ideal for a lean stomach.
Lack of sleep can also be a cause of increase levels of our friend cortisol. When cortisol is elevated we normally want to snack on sugary foods as a means to overcome these stressful periods. You can see a pattern here, but I’ll surmise for you, lack of sleep can often lead to us reaching for sugary snacks, which over time will play havoc with your waistline.
Eat Protein Throughout The Day
Skipping meals is a big no no when it comes to fat loss. By eating regular meals we are aiming to keep your metabolism burning and keep your blood sugar level stable. Skipping meals or having big gaps between them can lead to sugar cravings and end result in many of us reaching for something less than ideal nutritionally to stunt them.
Eating regularly throughout the day will allow you to keep our blood sugar level stable. Eating protein with each meal is great for this as not only will it help with maintaining that healthy blood sugar level we are after, protein is known to have a better satiety level, meaning we are full up for longer when we eat it. As a personal trainer, nutrition is an integral part of my service and I’ll help to create a nutrition plan especially for you.