Have you tried everything for losing belly fat? Do you train your abs daily, but your efforts are in vain? Forget about crunches and endless cardio sessions! Believe it or not, abs are made in the kitchen. The only way to get ripped abs and shed stubborn fat is to eat clean. You also need a workout plan that’s tailored to your body type. Sit-ups and crunches are not enough for getting a tight waist. Your exercise plan should include both cardio and strength training as well as HIIT and full body circuits.
Why Is Belly Fat so Dangerous?
Belly fat is not only unsightly, but dangerous too. Also known as visceral fat, it’s a strong risk factor for diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. According to health experts, the fat cells in your gut produce fatty acids that can affect insulin metabolism and blood sugar. Studies indicate that people who carry stomach fat are more likely to develop insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome. They also face an increased risk of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, stroke, and chronic disorders.
The dangers of stomach fat are reason enough to have a flat tummy. A study conducted on 8,000 people has found that those with the weakest core muscles had a death rate more than twice as high as those with strong abs. Belly fat is more dangerous than the fat on your legs and buttocks. To get rid of it, you need an exercise plan that stimulates the necessary metabolic and hormonal response within your body. Ripped abs are not only the Holy Grail of physical fitness, but also a sign of good health. Thus, your workout routine should include exercises that target these muscles.
Mix Cardio with HIIT
The best way to shed belly fat is to do plenty of cardiovascular exercise, such as jogging, cycling, stair climbing, and swimming. For optimal results, add HIIT to the mix. High intensity interval training increases metabolism, so your body will burn more calories. This workout method elevates your heart rate fast, causing a higher degree of EPOC (Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption) than steady state cardio. On top of that, it preserves your hard-earned muscles and prevents catabolism.
HIIT is a great choice for those with a busy schedule. Most training sessions last about 15 minutes or less, and burn up to 800 calories. Research shows that two weeks of HIIT can improve your aerobic capacity as much as eight weeks of regular cardio. The best part is that you’ll keep burning fat for up to 24 hours after finishing your workout. If you can’t go to the gym, exercise at home. Jumping jacks, high knees, burpees, bodyweight squats, and jumping lunges all work great for HIIT. You don’t need any special gear to get things done.
For maximum fat burning, do some form of cardio after your HIIT workout. You may also combine steady state cardio and high intensity workouts separately over the course of a week. This way, you’ll prevent your body from adapting to exercise and give it more time to recover. However, your daily cardio sessions shouldn’t last more than 40-45 minutes. Excessive cardio leads to muscle loss, which is the last thing you want.
In addition to cardio exercises, strength training plays a key role in fat loss. Multi-compound moves, such as the deadlift and squats, are way more effective than crunches for burning belly fat. These exercises strengthen your core and engage all muscle groups. They also stimulate the release of anabolic hormones, such as testosterone and HGH, which accelerate fat and promote muscle growth. By increasing your testosterone levels, you should start seeing a reduction in stomach fat within one month or so.
Work Your Abs the Smart Way
Keep in mind that it’s impossible to “spot-reduce” belly fat. You can’t crunch away the fat on your stomach. What you need is a solid weight training program and low carb, high protein diet. Depending on your schedule and preferences, you can either train your abs once a week or do a few exercises daily or every other day. Most athletes work their abs about three times a week.
When training your core, focus on quality reps. Maintain perfect form and stick to exercises where you can only complete 15-20 reps per set. Doing tons of reps is useless. If you use strict form, you should feel your abs burning after completing the first few reps. For a more challenging workout, use a weighted belt, a weighted vest, or kettlebells.
Make sure your workout includes a variety of exercises, not only crunches and sit-ups. These two are actually the least effective moves for losing belly fat. Your ab training routine should be challenging and diverse. Hanging leg raises, lying leg raises, air bicycles, weighted crunches, Russian twists, and planks should be on the top of your list.