Your belly is one of the hardest places to lose weight from, but thankfully, it is possible. With the right combination of a healthy diet, some simple lifestyle changes and regular exercise, you can shift those belly pounds in no time.
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Regular exercise will help you burn calories, and when combined with a healthy diet, you should see the pounds beginning to drop off in no time.
It is very difficult to pinpoint weight loss, with conflicting advice from professionals on specific exercises such as crunches. Some experts say that you cannot target your weight loss by specifically exercising an area, while others say that stomach crunches will help you lose belly fat. Regardless, it is good to combine different exercises during your workout to challenge your body in different ways.
A good overall workout which will help you to shed the pounds quickly is a cardiovascular workout, such as cycling or rowing. Cardio exercise can give maximum results in minimum time, and not only can it be done at home using exercise bikes or rowing machines, but it can be combined with other exercises to strengthen specific areas. You can even use your regular road or mountain bike indoors if you have a good bike trainer (like these) or set of bike rollers.
As I mentioned before, there is conflicting advice from professionals on whether targeting exercises helps to reduce weight loss from certain areas of your body, or whether it is better to exercise your whole body as I discussed above. Belly fat, in particular, can be stubborn, but if you are keen to try targeting exercises on your stomach, then here are some you can try, which we suggest combining with cardio workouts such as cycling, rowing, or even rebounding:
If you are trying to tone up your stomach after having a baby, please seek advice from an exercise professional specializing in the post-partum body. Some of the exercises I am going to discuss here can make you post-partum abdomen worse, especially if you have a condition called Diastasis Recti.
Crunches Or Sit-Ups
Lay down on your back and place your feet on the floor with your knees bent, or raise your legs, bent with a 90⁰ angle. Put your hands behind your head, inhale, then lift your upper torso off the floor, exhaling as you do so. Inhale again as you return your upper torso to the floor and exhale as you lift it up again. Repeat 10 times for one set then repeat the set as you feel ready.
These are similar to the regular crunches described above, but instead of lifting the whole of your upper torso off the floor, you lift one shoulder off the floor and over towards the other, alternating with each repeat. With this type of crunch, you may find it better to keep your feet on the floor with your knees bent, rather than raising your legs at a 90⁰ angle. You can also add in weights like a medicine ball for an extra challenge – check out our best medicine balls review if you don’t already have one.
And no, I don’t mean on a bike (although that will help too!). Again, you want to lie on the floor for this exercise and place your hands behind your head or by your sides. Lift your legs up, bending them at the knees. You then want to draw your left leg closer to your head and push your right leg away and extend it, then swap your legs over and repeat – as if you are pedaling a bike. Keep this pedaling motion going.
Kneel on the floor and position yourself so that you are leaning on your elbows too, with your neck straight and looking forward. Then lift your knees up and straighten your legs back so that you are taking the weight of your legs on your toes. Contract your knees, engage your stomach muscles and keep taking regular breaths. You want to keep your back straight, not arch it up or down. Try to hold it for 30 seconds then gradually increase the time that you are able to maintain the position.
If you have never attempted a plank exercise before, you may be surprised at how a position which looks so easy is in fact quite hard to maintain, but don’t worry – you will quickly notice your improvement with each session.
Eat A Healthy Diet
A healthy diet is a balanced diet, with some foods from each category to give you all the different vitamins and minerals you need. You don’t shouldn’t cut out a food group entirely, but you can certainly moderate your choices for healthier options:
Fruit and vegetables: contain many vitamins and minerals which can help to switch on and speed up your metabolism, some of which can also interact with your hormones which let your brain know when you have had enough food and reduce overeating. They also provide healthy fiber to speed up your digestive system.
Carbohydrates: not all carbs are bad, but you should consider removing processed and refined carbs from your diet such as white bread or tortillas. Instead choose options such as sweet potato, nuts and whole grains, or whole-wheat pasta.
Proteins: eating protein-rich foods can fill you quicker for longer and speed up your metabolism. Many protein-rich foods contain iron and minerals. Examples of foods include steak, fish and lentils.
Fats and sugars: you don’t have to cut out fat from your diet to lose weight, but consider swapping to healthier fats, such as avocado and coconut, which also give healthier sugars.
Dairy: can help keep your skeleton strong with the plentiful calcium that dairy foods contain. You can try swapping for low-fat options of milk and yogurt.
Stick To Drinking Water
If you are keen to lose weight fast, swap water in for other drinks. Cut alcohol consumption out completely as this can lead to water retention and bloating.
Caffeine-rich drinks such as coffee may help suppress your appetite, and it can increase the energy you require at rest, so if you are already a coffee lover, the good news is you don’t have to stop drinking it. However, if you aren’t already a coffee drinker, you don’t need to start, as you can get similar benefits from drinking water.
Make It Easy For Yourself
And no, we don’t mean just sticking to the simplest workout. You need to challenge yourself to get better results.
By making it easy for yourself, we mean creating a workout regime which fits comfortably into your lifestyle, daily routine and range of interests. There is no point in paying a subscription to a gym the other side of town from where you live or work. The best way to do this is to bring the gym to you.
There are many benefits to having exercise equipment at home. It means that you will be able to exercise while doing other things such as watching television, or even chatting on the telephone, which are probably already well-established in your daily routine. This means you can burn calories without even thinking about it, and you are much more likely to use this equipment after a busy day at work than you would be to head over to a gym.
There are plenty of pieces of workout equipment that you can buy for home use, which are of professional standard, yet reasonably priced for you to buy for your home gym or your front room! Ranging from elliptical machines and running machines to rowing machine and exercise bikes, there is plenty of choice. You may be interested to read our elliptical reviews at oglf.org/best-elliptical-machine/
To help get you started, take a look at what we thought of the exercise bikes we tested. We have discussed what we consider to be some of the top exercise bikes on the market to help you find out which would suit you best.
And Once You’ve Satisfied All Those Requirements, A Good Night’s Sleep
In addition to the extra energy you will have for your workouts, a good night’s sleep has also been chemically shown to help aid weight loss. There have been many studies looking into the relationship between weight loss and sleep, so no, it isn’t a myth!
Sleep helps regulate glucose metabolism and hormone functions, therefore reducing your appetite and hunger.