As summer rolls around and bikini season approaches, the war on belly fat begins. According to Dr. Michael Jensen, an endocrinology specialist with the WebMD website, most people lose proportionally more fat around the abdominal region than other parts of the body during weight loss. While you can’t choose where on your body to focus fat loss, you can take steps to lose weight all over your body, abs included, while strengthening your abdominal muscles and eating foods to help eliminate excess fat storage. With ab exercises and a healthy diet, you’ll slim down, build up six-pack abs and develop habits for long-term health.
Eat a diet rich in whole grains. Whole grains take longer for your body to digest and help control your body’s insulin levels, making it easier for your body to metabolize the visceral fats stored along your waistline.
Eat small meals every two to three hours to keep your metabolism active. Eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, legumes and lean meats to keep your body strong and healthy as you lose weight.
Add short, intense cardio sessions into your workout. Short, intense cardio sessions can increase your metabolism for several hours, says Jesse Cannone, personal trainer and owner of Achieve Fitness and Rehabilitation, in an article on the Body Building website. Higher metabolism means your body is more likely to turn to fat stores, like those around your belly, for energy.
Add two to three ab-strengthening exercises to your routine no more than three times per week. As you lose fat around your abdomen, strong abs will make you look slimmer. Muscles require more energy than fat. The more muscle you build, the more calories your body will burn for energy.
Perform a forward flexion exercise, like crunches or sit-ups, to work your central abdominal muscles. Hit the muscles on the sides of your abdomen with side crunches. Perform stomach vacuums or standing twists to strengthen your trans-abdominal muscles that pull your stomach in.
- Consult your doctor before beginning any weight training program.
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