by FunFIT Rep Barbara St. Louis
Have you ever heard the term, Abs are made in the Kitchen?
Although there are other considerable factors, there is a lot of truth in that. For the majority of us who are not extreme athletes, fighting belly fat is 80% healthy diet. No matter how many crunches you do, how much or how well you exercise, all efforts may be negated if you’re still eating processed foods, refined sugars, too many carbohydrates and the wrong kinds of fat.
Below are some tips on how and what to eat:
– Avoid overeating. Pay attention to your portions and stop eating when you are about 80% full.
– Eat a lean protein source with every meal.
– Eat less sugar and processed grains.
– Avoid drinking sugary drinks like sodas, fruit juices and artificial sweeteners.
– Increase your vegetable intake.
– Avoid trans-fats, fried foods or vegetable oils. Chose healthier fats like coconut oil, olive oil, nuts, seeds, avocados and fish oils.
So now that we’ve talked about how to eat. Here’s an example of WHAT to eat:
Breakfast – An Omelet with veggies, turkey bacon and a side of avocado OR a Protein Smoothie made by blending your fruit of choice, almond milk, protein powder, kale or spinach and some ice
Mid Morning Snack – Plain Greek Yogurt with Berries
Lunch – Grilled Chicken Breast, Spinach sautéed with Garlic, Baked Sweet Potato
Mid Afternoon Snack – Cucumber/Carrots/Celery Stalks with Hummus
Dinner – Grilled Salmon with Roasted Asparagus Spears
Water – Divide your bodyweight in half and drink that number in ounces of water every day. Have a hard time drinking plain water? Try drinking fruit or herb infused water.
So that’s what a typical day would look like. In summary, you should eat 5 – 6 meals consisting of whole, unprocessed foods. If you are vegetarian, you can make substitutions to meet your needs.
Now what about exercise?
The best way to burn that extra layer of fat is to ramp up the intensity of your workouts. Save reading a book or magazine for another time. The best fat burning exercise involves exerting yourself at maximum intensity for short intervals. What is an example of a high intensity workout you could do? After a warm up for 3 – 5 minutes, do a 60 Second Jog, followed by a 30 – 90 second Sprint, Repeat this for 30 minutes total.
Your program should include more than just cardio exercise. You’ll also need to incorporate weight training to shape your muscles and burn fat faster along with exercises to increase flexibility and strengthen your core. Again, you don’t have to do 100 crunches a day. Try variations of the plank to help strengthen and stabilize the core region. How often should you be working out? Ideally you should exercise for at least 30 minutes 5-6 times a week. Once you have a consistent workout schedule that includes a good balance of cardio and weight training, you should make sure to track what you are doing so that you can continue to progress and challenge yourself.
Do I need to take supplements?
There are tons of options for supplements out there. Do you really need to take a supplement? No, you don’t need any supplements. Nothing can replace eating real foods, drinking water, and exercise. However, supplements are great to enhance a healthy diet and exercise program and can help to increase results. It is important to check with your doctor first and research not only what you plan to take, but also which company to purchase from.
Are you getting enough sleep?
Most people know that proper nutrition and exercise are important factors in fat loss. There’s now significant scientific evidence that another critical component is getting enough sleep. Sleep is the best form of recovery and it’s essential for fat loss, fitness, health and your overall well-being. So how much sleep do you need? The amount of sleep you need each day will change over the course of your life. The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute’s “Your Guide to Healthy Sleep.” provides some great strategies on getting enough sleep.
So there you have it….Proper nutrition + High Intensity Workouts + Weight Training + Adequate Sleep= Loss of Belly Fat
Now, how do you put it all together? Below I have listed some successful strategies to sticking with your program.
1. Write down your goal and look at it every day. I like making a vision board. It’s a great visual reminder of your goals.
2. Set a plan to make that goal happen. For example, a plan would be to work out five days a week for 30 min.
3. Hold yourself accountable. Post your goal publicly. Tell as many people as possible of what you are trying to do. I suggest joining a fitness group or finding an accountability partner.
4. Be consistent. Simple daily behaviors repeated consistently lead to long lasting habits.
5. Report on your progress daily. Use a food journal and/or exercise log. Each day, report to your fitness group or accountability partner whether or not you stuck to your plan for the day.
By following these steps, you are promised to achieve your goals successfully and achieve that flat tummy you desire.
This may be a lot of information to digest for some. It’s not easy to do it all alone. Even the best athletes get support. What is normally missing from a gym membership or working out on your own at home? Motivation…. someone pushing you to finish the program. I’ve found that consistency, support and accountability are all important in reaching your goals. Members of my online fitness accountability groups not only have great results but they SUSTAIN them because they practice these strategies.
Barbara is a certified personal trainer and a Beachbody coach. This mom of 2 wants to help people reach their health goals. For extra tips, follow Barbara at www.facebook.com/ForeverFitHealthy. Contact Barbara if you would like to be added to her health group or have questions, firstname.lastname@example.org.