Fat that accumulates around the abdominal midsection is metabolically active fat that secretes chemical messengers which contribute to insulin resistance, obesity, and binge-eating behavior. Abdominal fat is an independent risk factor in cardiovascular diseases, type II diabetes, colorectal cancer, hypertension, and obstructive sleep apnea.
Inculcating healthy eating habits along with regular physical activity, such as cardio workouts, is the best way to get rid of abdominal fat. Here are a few exercises that must be followed along with an appropriate dietary regimen to shed off stubborn fat near the midsection.
5 Workouts to Lose Belly Fat
High-intensity interval training (HIIT)
HIIT workouts are extremely effective for weight loss and combine various intense, short bursts of exercises with periods of rest or lower-intensity exercise. Most workouts combine aerobic and resistance or weight training or may include jogging with a few minutes of sprinting. A particularly popular HIIT regime involves warm-up by stationary jogging, four four-minute intense running, burpees or skipping, a three-minute recovery period, and finally cool down.
Perform a set of 20 reps on each side daily while you sit on the floor.
- Press your feet right on the floor or you may even extend them straight out.
- Now twist to your right, hold and twist to your left.
- As you twist to the side, breathe out.
- As you return to the center, breathe in
Make sure your arms are parallel to the floor as you are twisting. You can hold a dumbbell or weight plate to further increase the intensity of the exercise.
Side plank hip lifts
- Lie on your side.
- Prop up your elbow such that it stays lined up under your shoulder.
- Now keep your shoulder pressed down away with your hips, shoulder, and ear in a neutral straight line.
- Create tension in your core by exhaling sharply (the way you blow out too many birthday candles).
- Lie on the floor and hold your hands behind your head, interlocking your fingers.
- Now lift the right leg off the ground and extend it out.
- Lift the other leg while you bend your right knee toward your chest.
- Twist through your core so the left arm comes toward the raised right knee.
- Repeat on the other side. Do it in reps of 20 per day.
- Lie on the floor on your back.
- Bend your knees and place your feet on the ground.
- Now slowly lift your hips to your knees such that the hips and shoulders form a straight line.
Throughout these movements, keep your abdominal muscles drawn and squeeze your buttocks.
How do you make dietary changes to lose abdominal fat?
- Try to restrict your daily calorie intake to 2,000, although you may take a qualified dietician’s help to better know how many calories you should eat to lose weight.
- Make sure your diet is high in complex carbs (oats, barley, brown rice, sweet potatoes, broccoli, cereals, and legumes), good fats (avocados, olives, and fatty fish), and lean protein (lean beef, fish, and chicken).
- Make sure you ingest a lot of fiber in your diet, such as various seeds; vegetables such as broccoli, kale, and celery; and rolled oats are excellent options to enhance your fiber intake.
- Cut back on alcohol since it consists of empty calories that can lead to excess weight gain, liver issues, and other health problems.
- Restrict your salt intake, which is often found in baked goods, ready-to-eat meals, and fast food. Salt often causes water retention that reflects as a bloated abdomen.
How do you know if you have too much abdominal fat?
The best way to find out if you have excess abdominal fat is to take a measurement first thing in the morning after you have emptied your bowels.
Stand before the mirror and place a tape around your bare stomach. Make sure the tape fits snugly, and exhale. Measure your waistline, resisting the urge to suck in your stomach.
For men, a waistline measurement of more than 40 inches (102 cm) indicates an unhealthy accumulation of abdominal fat. For women, a measurement of more than 35 inches (88 cm) is dangerous.
How much time does it take to burn abdominal fat?
Spot reduction is a myth. To burn your abdominal fat, you need to reduce your total fat percentage and build your muscles. Time taken to do this depends on your age, genetic predisposition, and dietary habits. Losing abdominal fat gets tougher as you age.
Research studies show that you can lose one percent body fat per month with consistent effort. It could take a woman about 24 months to achieve the fat loss required for six-pack abs. An average man will need about 15 to 21 months to get a toned abdomen. This may vary depending on your initial body fat percentage, physical activity, and diet.
In the quest for a chiseled physique, it is of utmost importance to be kind to your body, listen to it and choose the right method to lose weight. Avoid potentially dangerous shortcuts such as fad diets, crash diets, or dubious weight loss pills/supplements.
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