Exercises to get that six-pack?

You can do hundreds of crunches, sit-ups, and buy all the latest “ab-blaster” type products out there, but they aren’t going to help you target your excess stomach fat.  It isn’t possible to target fat loss with body-part specific exercises, but there are other ways to lose fat, and it is possible to target stomach fat through means other than sit-ups.

The reason it’s possible to target stomach fat (and desirable) is because stomach fat, particularly what’s called visceral fat, is associated with an overall pattern of unhealthy eating and inactivity.  Visceral fat (fat stored in the mid section, around the intestines and organs, causing the appearance of a large belly), is associated with a number of heath problems that fall under the category “metabolic syndrome.”  These health problems include diabetes, obesity, and cardiovascular disease.  

Stomach fat (AKA visceral fat) can be eliminated slowly but surely; it’s not a good idea to aim for more than 2 lbs of fat loss per week.  Losing more than 2 lb of body weight every week can actually damage the body.  If you’re losing weight rapidly, you’re most likely losing water weight, muscle mass, and bone mass, not fat.  Also, rapid weight loss is associated with rapid regain, so follow the strategies below to keep your body healthy while targeting unwanted visceral fat.  

1) Eat Whole Foods – Storage of fat around the mid-section is associated with diets high in refined foods like sugar, high-fructose corn syrup, white flour, and refined cooking oils.  The reason these foods cause weight gain is that they don’t contain any of the micronutrients and vitamins that help the body regulate metabolism.  Refined foods are also high in calories, but they don’t provide a feeling of being full, so it’s easy to eat an excess amount.  Eat whole foods like grass-fed meat and dairy, organic vegetables, organic fruits, coconut oil, and nuts to get the nutrients your body needs, while preventing excess eating.

2) Avoid Inflammatory Foods – Inflammatory foods, like sugar, sweets, alcohol, sodas, trans fats, refined seed oils (canola, soy, and vegetable oil), and wheat flour (which contains gluten), cause the body to act in defense by storing fat around the mid section.  Storing fat is one of the body’s survival techniques and defense mechanisms.  Inflammatory foods also disrupt one of the body’s important metabolism regulating hormones called adiponectin. Eat foods that promote balanced hormone response (the whole foods mentioned above), and if you drink alcohol, keep it to only a few servings per week.  

3) Reduce Stress – Stress causes increased inflammation in the body and an increase in the hormone cortisol.  Cortisol causes fat storage.  Make a practice of meditating on a weekly bases and releasing your concerns to God.  Find a healthy activity that reduces your stress level, like walking, running, weight lifting, journaling, writing, or painting — whatever works for you.  Also, minimize your caffeine and over-the-counter drug consumption as these drugs can exacerbate the body’s stress response and disrupt hormone balance.

4) Play Outside and Lift Heavy Things – Exercise is key to losing stomach fat, but it’s not sit-ups or crunches that are going to have a major impact.  The two best exercises you can do to burn excess fat are low-level cardio activities and intense exercises that will boost your overall metabolism.  Examples of low-level cardio include, walking, golf, disc golf, and stand-up paddle boarding.  Examples of metabolism boosting exercises include weight lifting, sprinting, and stair stepping.  Combining these two types of activities will optimize your fat burning potential.  To take things to the next level, incorporate as much physical activity as you can into your day to day schedule.  People from the healthiest cultures in the world exert physical energy throughout the day.  They make their food from scratch, walk, instead of drive to the store, and spend a very minimal amount of time watching TV or sitting down.  

5) Lose Fat – The advice to lose fat in order to target stomach fat might sound a little ridiculous, but the more excess fat you lose the more adiponectin your body will produce, and the easier it will be for you to burn more fat.  Fat loss is somewhat exponential in that regard.  Push through that initial challenge, make healthy habits, and overtime you’re belly bulge will flatten out!  The importnat thing is to be consistent and have patiences.  Making a healthy lifestyle change is far more effective at reducing the risk of metabolic syndrome and stomach fat than dieting, “bootcamps,” or diet pills.


Originally posted 2013-07-01 02:25:15.


2 Responses

  1. I am budging down on my weight in the last months. A big social factor to helping me is that our wife and I got Fitbits for Christmas and seeing the numbers that don’t lie and recording the hills we climb. It has been a good time for my wife and I to have our private conversations while getting outdoor light to lift our spirits up, away from the work computer. The other thing that is working for me is a self-imposed rule to not eat after 6pm. I found it easier to simply stop eating after that hour than to attempt to limit my grazing.

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