The biggest complaint I hear from women is they can’t seem to shift belly fat. In fact Phase 3 of my F.I.T program is dedicated to this problem area on the body. For a lot of women, it seems to be the first place fat is stored and the last place fat comes off. When it comes to achieving a lean waistline I've learned a few things over the years and here are my top tips for getting rid of that unwanted belly fat.
1. Avoid sugar like the plague
Fighting belly fat is 80% what you eat and one of the worst things you can put in your body is sugar. Processed sugar is a simple carbohydrate, that provides no nutritional value to the body and is extremely calorie dense. This is why people call it empty calories. By consuming sugar, all you are doing is spiking your blood sugar levels, increasing the production of insulin and promoting the body to store more fat. Not only does eating sugar make you gain weight and is extremely addictive, excess consumption can also lead to other major health problems like obesity, diabetes, heart disease and more.
2. Use fat burning HIIT for exercise
Unfortunately, you can’t pick and chose where you burn fat. So if you want to melt fat off your belly, you need to melt fat off your entire body. The best way to do that is to incorporate High-Intensity Interval Training into your exercise routine. HIIT circuits have been shown to be one of the most effective methods for shredding fat. A HIIT circuit is very simple. You take a handful of exercises and then perform each at an extremely high intensity, while keeping the rest between exercises to a minimum. This helps speed up your metabolism and help the body burn fat more effectively. You can also include exercises that target any body part you want. I like to create HIIT circuits that involve core, cardiovascular and resistance training in the one workout.
3. Eat fat
Yes, that’s right in order to burn fat you need to eat fat. In fact, eating fat (the good kind), can actually help with fat loss, boost your metabolism and improve overall health. That’s why you will see good fat in all of the meal plans on my F.I.T. programs. Please say goodbye to the old myth that fat makes you fat. Good fat is essential for your body, brain and organs to function properly and an essential nutrient to include in your daily diet. Especially when you are doing extensive exercise and your body requires proper fuel.
Sleep is so important for your overall health and wellbeing. Not only does a good nights sleep mean you have better brain function, it’s also super important for the body to be efficient at burning calories. One bad night’s sleep can increase the body’s ghrelin levels, which is the hormone that makes you hungry. This is often why when we haven’t slept well, we want to eat all those sugary bad foods. It also reduces leptin (which is the hormone that promotes satiety), making it easy to overeat the next day. Poor sleep can also increase stress levels, which again leads the body to store more fat. It's also not just about the amount of sleep you get each night, but also the quality of your sleep. Try and get at least 7 hours of good quality sleep a night. Doing things like turning off your electronics a few hours before bed, can help you reach that deeper sleep a lot quicker.
5. Deep breathing
Okay so just doing deep breathing alone is not going to give you abs. But a major cause of belly fat comes from stress. When you have extreme levels of stress in your life, your cortisol levels go up. Cortisol is the stress hormone your body produces and when it’s elevated your body will store more fat, particularly around the belly. So just as important to eat good food, and exercise smartly, it’s also important to look after your stress levels. One of the best tools I have found to reduce stress is deep belly breathing. Next time you are feeling a little stressed out, find a nice quiet spot in your house, close your eyes and take a deep inhale through your nose for the count of 4 and then exhale out for the count of 4. Repeat this 10 times or until you feel totally relaxed.