I don’t buy into this ‘tricks’ business…the title should really have read ‘5 Practical Nutrition & Exercise Modifications To Facilitate Abdominal Lipolysis’… but would you have clicked?
Maybe, maybe not. Truth is that most people prefer clear, to the point things they can do in daily life to encourage a little bit of fat loss from those stubborn areas such as your belly, hips and ass.
So without further ado, here are some of my top 5 ‘tricks’ to losing belly fat.
1.) Estimate your nutritional Req’s
Burning fat is like wondering around in the dark without a torch if you don't have an idea of what you require to maintain your current weight, never mind lose it! So to do this follow this simple calculation:
30 x (your weight in kg) = ……………kcal (calories)
35 x (your weight in kg) = ……………kcal (calories)
e.g. 30 x 80kg = 2400kcal
35 x 80kg = 2800kcal
So in order for an 80kg person to maintain weight, they would need to consume around 2400-2800kcal a day.
To encourage fat burning the above example would need to reduce their calorie intake by approx. 500kcal per day. Exactly how many calories you should cut it by always depends on the individual, but it’s a good gauge initially.
2.) Where those calories come from….
Estimating your calorie intake is your first objective, but exactly how and where you lose that weight from depends on the composition of those calories.
If you get the majority of your calories from foods high in refined or ‘free sugar’ as the World Health Organisation like to call them, such as fizzy drinks, confectionary or cakes, then expect there to be significant losses in lean muscle…not what you want for sustainable fat loss (will explain in trick no.3). In addition, a high sugar intake can also encourage fat storage thanks to the exaggerated insulin spikes (insulin encourages fat storage).
To limit fat storage and encourage fat burning be sure to limit refined sugar, increase starchy carbohydrates so that you have some with every meal e.g. oats, sweet potato, brown and basmati rice. As well as ensuring you have a lean protein source and some fruit and veg over the course of the day.
3.) Maintain your muscle
A key player in abdominal fat loss in muscle tissue. If you’re too wrapped up in not ‘looking bulky’ then expect to find the fat loss process slow.
Muscle is living tissue, fat isn’t. So if you can encourage the development of lean muscle mass (not so you’re a bodybuilder necessarily) so that your muscle : fat ratio increases i.e. you have more muscle in relation to fat, then your resting metabolic rate will increase meaning you burn more calories at rest, plus you will be more effective when training.
Muscle remains metabolically active for 24-48 hours after exercise, so the harder you can train the longer your muscles will remain burning fat!
4.) Alternate HIIT with LISS
High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is the training modality that see’s you perform short bursts of exercise, followed by a short period of active recovery, then straight back into the short burst and so on. There is lots of evidence to suggest that this type of interchanging anaerobic/ aerobic exercise supports fat loss above and beyond regular training.
On the other end of the spectrum is Low Intensity Steady State exercise (LISS). This involves relatively easy (low intensity) physical activity, such as walking on a treadmill at a 30 degree incline for 30mins. This type of training suits the person that struggles with high intensity movements (obesity, large muscle bulk etc) and is again, great for mobilising fat stores.
5.) Reduce your caffeine intake
This one is straight forward enough. Caffeine is great for stimulating exercise and reducing perceived exertion (makes exercise feel easier), and controlled amounts may increase thermogenesis (fat burning). With this said, excessive amounts of caffeine (more than 400mg caffeine a day) can also encourage energy restoration, which might offset any fat loss potential. Caffeine also increases insulin release which could also encourage fat storage if your diet isn’t optimal.
As a rule of thumb, caffeine intake of around 400mg a day could support fat loss, any more than this though and you may be slowing your fat loss potential down.