The pooch. The spare tire. Whatever you want to call it, belly fat is stubborn. And no matter how many crunches you do, it's still there. The truth is, it's going to take more than just cranking out countless crunches to slim down your waistline. In fact, there are several other factors that must come into play before you can begin to shed that obstinate belly fat. Read on to find out how to mount a strategic attack against belly fat, so that you can finally get rid of it for good.
First Things First: Why Crunches Alone Won't Cut It
Focusing on crunches alone feeds into the idea of "spot reduction," which has been proven to be little more than a workout myth. To be clear, crunches can do wonders for strengthening your abdominal muscles, but they don't burn that many calories. As a result, they do very little to tap into your body's reserves of stored fat, which is where the magic really happens.
You need to engage in some form of exercise that can really heat up your metabolism, such as cardiovascular workouts (jogging, spinning, aerobics, etc.) or high-intensity interval training (HIIT), both of which burn significant amounts of calories per session. This will place more of a demand on your body for energy, requiring it to begin accessing your stored fat reserves for fuel.
Also consider adding strength training to your workout regimen, as it builds muscle mass and boosts your resting metabolic rate; this means you'll burn more calories even when your body is at rest. So instead of trying to reduce fat in only one area of your body, adding strength training and cardiovascular exercise will reduce your overall body fat, which will naturally show up in your waistline as well.
Great Abs Begin in the Kitchen
Even though exercise is a vitally important weapon in your war against belly fat, the most important component of your fat-zapping strategy is what's on your plate. If you're serious about getting rid of that excess fat around your midsection, you have to let go of the high-carb, highly processed foods. Try eating clean by adding the following foods to your diet:
- Fresh fruits (Apples, oranges, pears, bananas, grapes, etc.)
- Raw vegetables (Broccoli, kale, spinach, salads, carrots, etc.)
- Quality proteins (Eggs, fish, poultry, cottage cheese, etc.)
- Whole grains (Oats, brown rice, barley, quinoa, etc.)
This doesn't mean that you can never have the occasional treat; just make sure to limit your indulgent foods to only 5-10% of your caloric intake.
The Bottom Line
As you can see, there's no silver bullet that will magically get rid of belly fat; it requires a holistic approach in order for your body to begin responding. By using a combination of effective calorie-burning exercises and higher-quality foods, you can reduce your overall body fat levels, which will naturally include that die-hard belly fat. Just remember to be patient with yourself and keep a long-term perspective, and you'll see that waistline shape up soon enough.