How to lose belly fat, foods to avoid and exercises to do

How to lose belly fat, foods to avoid and exercises to do

When we gain weight, excess weight can be more evident in one part of the body than another: fat can deposit for example on the face, on the legs or on the hips, based on several variables, including our basic physical conformation.

If we can understand a little more about these variables we will also be able to decide how to act in the most effective way and which strategies to adopt: I already talked about it in this article.

If in most cases the greatest damage that is identified by people is on an aesthetic level and in self-perception, which must be addressed with due regard on a case-by-case basis, there is however a situation in which the problem directly concerns health and should not be underestimated: these are cases in which fat increases in the abdomen .

Abdominal fat in fact translates into an increase in waist circumference, which beyond certain values ​​represents an independent risk factor for many diseases, otherwise preventable.

So ” having a belly ” doesn’t just affect the way we dress, but also how long in our lives we will be healthy people!

But bellies aren’t all the same.

I already told you about the difference between visceral fat and that of the subcutaneous type.

The first is a deep fat that accumulates in the inner part of the abdomen and forms the typical bulky, taut and round belly.

The subcutaneous fat, on the other hand, is deposited in the layers under the skin, forming the classic “soft belly”.

Both are linked to being overweight or obese, but between the two we can argue that visceral fat is the most dangerous: it is positioned around the organs that regulate metabolism (such as the liver and pancreas) and interferes with the normal work done by these organs.

The subcutaneous fat instead is less connected with metabolic pathologies and we could therefore define it less serious for health, even if it is more difficult to eliminate because it is as if it were trapped and difficult usable.

Why abdominal fat is dangerous

There have been many studies on abdominal fat to understand how it affects people’s health.

We have seen how the abdominal circumference exerts a greater decisive action than weight alone: ​​an overweight person with well-distributed fat in the various body areas is less at risk than a person with the same weight but a greater abdominal circumference.

From the many statistical studies precise data have been established that can make the difference between well-being and the increased risk of cardiovascular disease, metabolic syndrome, dyslipidemia, type 2 diabetes and hypertension.

Based on the data provided by the World Health Organization, the cut-off values ​​, beyond which the risk is increased, are 80 cm for women and 94 cm for men ; the risk is even higher with a waist circumference greater than 88 cm for women and 102 cm for men.

Because abdominal fat forms and doesn’t go away

At the beginning of the article, I talked about physical conformation, or a particular tendency to gain weight in specific areas of the body.

The types of physical conformation are mainly two:

  • gynoid, in which the adipose mass, especially of the subcutaneous type, is concentrated in the lower part of the body such as buttocks and legs; it is also called “pear” and is typical of the female sex;
  • android , called instead “apple”, in which fat accumulates mainly in the abdominal, thoracic, dorsal and cervico-nuchal region, for the most part visceral and typical of the male sex .

The way in which fat accumulates is the result of the prevalent hormonal effect in our body and does not depend solely on sex: there are also men with gynoid morphotype and women with android morphotype .

Stress, incorrect eating habits and prolonged physical inactivity lead to weight gain in general but then specifically the health risk for each of us is extremely subjective.

What foods to avoid if you have too much abdominal fat

It is almost natural to think that in order to prevent body fat from increasing, you need to eliminate fat from your diet.

This is a somewhat outdated view of dietetics.

Undoubtedly fats must be limited, especially the saturated ones and trans fats , which we find above all in industrially processed foods, cured meats, snacks, snacks and ready meals .

But the number one enemy is actually sugar: many ignore the fact that excess sugars are transformed into fat in our bodies.

Sugar is the main energy resource that we have, but it is stored very little in the form of hepatic glycogen (i.e. in the liver) and muscles.

When these reserves are full (hepatic glycogen can reach a maximum of 80-100 g) and we do not produce physical efforts that require energy, the sugar that is introduced with the diet is transformed and stored in the form of lipids : this is our fat.

How to defeat him

Here are some things you can do to win the “war” with excess abdominal fat :

Improve your nutrition

Increase fiber , so that food passes more slowly in the digestive system, helps you feel full and eat less, promoting weight loss. Foods rich in fiber are vegetables and fruit as they are, legumes and cereals in their wholemeal version.

Eliminates trans fats , which are mainly linked to insulin resistance and abdominal fat gain. Trans fats are mainly present in industrially processed foods such as ready meals and snacks, try to avoid them.

Limit alcohol : its consumption increases the risk of accumulating excess fat around the waist.

Limit simple sugars and refined cereals : as already mentioned, an excess of sugar from the diet is then stored in our body in the form of fat. Sweets, sugary drinks, fruit juices, breads and pasta in non-wholegrain versions should be drastically reduced or eliminated.

Exercises to eliminate abdominal fat

In humans:

For men, eliminating abdominal fat is not just a question of aesthetics. I have already explained in the article How to beat abdominal fat the difference between visceral fat and subcutaneous fat. The first sneaks between the organs and is very dangerous because it behaves as an organ in its own right, capable of altering metabolic processes, with a significant effect on the quality of life and on the performance of the body.

The first exercise is the abdominal crunches, the most traditional : lying on your back, with your knees bent and your hips slightly apart. Keeping your hands behind your head, you need to lift your torso, also removing your shoulders from the floor, keeping your neck in the starting position (as if you were holding a tennis ball under your chin). You need to take a deep breath to keep your upper and lower abdominal muscles engaged.

This exercise improves posture and strengthens the lower back as well as developing the abdominal muscles. Start with sets of 10-12 reps. Don’t rest too long between sets.

A variation is the bicycle crunch. From the same supine position, raise your torso with your hands placed behind your neck. The effort must be made with the abdominals.

You have to simulate a pedal stroke with your legs and as you climb up you bend over on the side of the knee that you raised on your chest, so as to favor a more complete workout.

Also in this case you do not have to force your arms or neck, the position of the same must remain natural and the head in line with the neck and spine.

So you also avoid bad injuries and make your workout much more effective, as you work your abs. The movement must be natural and if you feel fatigue it means that you are working well. Same series set as above, to start.

Another popular exercise are push-ups (or plank): forward pushups on the forearm keeping the body parallel to the floor, while resting your elbows and toes.

You have to hold the position for as long as possible each time you lift, trying to extend the overall exercise to 5-10 minutes to start. You will struggle, but this exercise trains the whole body. A variant involves placing the palms of the hands and rising up by bending the elbows. Here too it is essential that, in the series of repetitions, keep the neck and back aligned.

If you work out at the gym, you can combine these exercises with work with weights, to support strength in the limbs and torso, also working on the abs. The squat with and without weights is also useful. A particularly useful exercise is the one with the press.

To top it off, an aerobic exercise like running or brisk walking will help you burn more fat, along with the basic diet phase. Always remember that:

  • there are no miracle diets that make you lose a lot of weight in a short time. If you want to develop the body you still need to have adequate nutrition. If you have too much abdominal fat you must first eliminate it, then you move on to the phase of actual muscle growth (which actually requires an increase in calorie intake for the same exercise, balancing the macronutrients).
  • Try to avoid sugar and packaged foods, alcohol and smoking. By avoiding sugars and junk food you should see immediate results, especially if your diet focuses on them.
  • Drink plenty of water essential for your muscles.
  • Rest and sleep without disturbance for at least 8 hours. The most important phase is always that of recovery.
  • Don’t overdo it and ask an expert for advice if you’ve never exercised before.

Exercises to lose belly for her:

As in the case of men, nutrition is essential for women . And crash diets don’t help because they aren’t sustainable over time. From an aesthetic point of view, the problem is equally felt, but it’s not just aesthetics that count.

In a healthy lifestyle, physical exercise should always be present, but if you want to tone the abdominal area I recommend doing these exercises:

Abdominals and push-ups as above, with intensity related to your fitness level. You can add variations such as abdominals with leg raises , starting on your back with your arms stretched along your torso and going up to form a 90 ° angle with the pelvis. Exercise to be done slowly, focusing on resistance.

For the lower abs you can perform the scissor, similar in starting position to the bicycle, but which “plays” on the suspension of the legs from the floor to create tension on the abs.

Finally, the sit-up which is perhaps the most famous abdominal exercise, particularly in the military, known for its difficulty. This involves locking your legs on the floor as you move your torso up to a sitting position. So either you use a bench (at the gym) or you can do it with the help of another person who locks your feet as you go up. It should be performed slowly, focusing on the precision of the effort, avoiding unloading it on the arms or neck.

Cardio training – such as running a little strenuous, jumping rope, treadmill, stationary bike or bicycle. An initial 30-40 minute session three times a week can start to give you results almost immediately. You have to increase the effort over time, otherwise you don’t consume enough calories and you don’t accelerate your metabolism.

Walking, running, cycling affects more muscle groups and therefore greater commitment from a cardiac point of view. It will also help eliminate the notorious visceral fat.

Intensity is king so this activity can be chosen at will: basketball, volleyball, dance classes, step or fitness give the same results.

A form of training based on a very high intensity is HIIT ( high intensity interval / intermittent training ) ie high intensity interval training. It is based on the concept of maximum effort for a window of time, followed by a pause and an immediate recovery (imagine a series of sprints interrupted by a pause of ten seconds and then restart).

You can do this in a variety of ways, including jumping rope, even by alternating a very fast walk with a slower one. The greater the effort and intensity, the greater the results.

The results are even better if you use weights, where you can, if you alternate cardio and resistance and if you correct your diet.

If you are looking for the definition it is clear that you will not be able to “see” any results in any way, as long as the accumulations of fat prevent the muscles from surfacing. But the road is almost obligatory.

If you are an athlete and you struggle to work well on your abs, you are probably making small mistakes that do not trigger the virtuous cycle, at the metabolic level, that allows fat loss and muscle growth.

Manage your stress

A good night’s rest, breathing exercises and meditation sessions could make a big difference in your life when it comes to managing the stress you face every day, don’t underestimate this.

As you can see from reading this article, not everything comes down to nutrition. But the first step is to check what you eat in relation to what you consume and the lifestyle you lead. Improving in one area brings you closer to the goal, but that’s not enough.

You have to look at your health, how you see your life, interpreting excess abdominal fat, which you can never get rid of, as an unmistakable symptom of something wrong.

You probably need more scientific information to understand how it works the mechanism of fat storage, what role sugars play and how you can help with training.

Watch the free video lesson ” The timing of nutrition ” to guide you!

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