If you want to know how to lose belly fat, the first lesson you need to learn is that doing crunches isn’t the only thing that will get you there. In fact, whether it is crunches, planks, leg throws or the boat pose, if you haven’t seen effective results yet, you’re most likely never to see them. Chris Piegza, training manager at Manhattan’s David Barton Gym Limelight told GQ that while ‘these exercises can strengthen your abs muscles, those muscles will still be hidden under a cover of chub.’ So, it’s time you move on to some real exercises to help you lose that belly fat for good. These expert-approved exercises that take a total-body approach will tell you how to lose belly fat:
1. Give cardio a break and switch to strength training to lose weight
Cardio is the easiest answer to how to lose belly fat. But as celebrity trainer Nick Hounslow, who appears on E!’s upcoming reality fitness show Hollywood Cycle told GQ that ‘even though fat mass can be shrunk by cardio it also burns away both muscle and fat, leaving you skinny but soft’. Then there are the researchers at Harvard School of Public Health who followed 10,500 healthy men over 12 years and concluded that men who spent 20 minutes a day weight training had a smaller increase in abdominal fat as compared to men who performed aerobic exercises for the same amount of time in a day.
2. How to lose belly fat by making compound exercises your routine
This is what we mean by a total-body approach where you’ve got to work your entire body to burn fat. Strength-training will help you do just that, (while burning fat and not muscle) but compound exercises such as squats, deadlifts and bench presses require moving multiple joints and muscle groups, enabling you to burn more fat and build calorie-burning muscle. Turns out, repetition per repetition rows work more muscle as compared to curls. “The more muscle you build through proper exercise programming, the more fully firing your body’s engine becomes, and the less effective fat is at staying stuck to your stomach,” Piegza told GQ.
3. Protein all the way for weight loss
Sean W Meadows, R.D., a nutrition-and-wellness coach with The NEW Program, a weight loss center in Newport Beach, California tells GQ that eating whole, healthy sources of protein is vital to building muscle and burning more fat. According to him, a pound of muscle burns six calories per day while a pound of fat only burns two. And according to a 2014 Pennington Biomedical Research Center study, when people consumed 40 per cent more calories than required for a period of eight weeks, 25 per cent of extra calories were stored as muscle for those who were on a high-protein diet. Whereas 95 per cent of extra calories were stored as fat for those who were on a low-protein diet. That’s how important a high-protein diet is to lose weight.
4. Cut calories
Even you know that a calorie deficit — burning more calories than you’re consuming — is what will help you attain fat lose whether it is centered on your stomach or anywhere else in your body. While exercise will help you achieve that, a healthy diet is what will take you a long way in maintaining your calorie balance, according to Meadows. If it takes you an hour to burn 400 calories at the gym, swapping a greasy burger for a healthy baked-chicken sandwich could probably help you achieve the same results.
5. Just relax
Diet and exercise are two of the major aspects of weight-loss. But leading a healthy life plays an equally important role for attaining the body you wish. Factors such as stress, sleep and relaxation are essential in maintaining hormonal balance in your system, which controls nearly every process in your body, explains Meadows. If the level of stress hormone cortisol is too high, in response to work demands, a lack of sleep or minimal relaxation time could lead to storage of fat around the midsection area. So, what you need to do to prevent this from happening, is to maintain a healthy and stress-free lifestyle.