Some abdominal fat is perfectly normal and healthy; it’s there to protect your internal organs from damage, and it serves as an energy reserve. Because, for most of us, life is a fairly easy business these days and food is plentiful supply, our lack of exercise can easily lead to a build up of excessive fat around the tummy that we don’t need. Once you have gained that extra fat around your tummy, it can really be hard to shift. Here are ten simple exercises that will burn off belly fat and ten dietary tips to go with them that will need to be followed in tandem with your increase in physical activity.
1. Cardio exercises
Before we get onto any belly toning exercises, let’s look at some of the basics of losing fat. The specific exercises that we will look at, will tone your abdominal muscles, but the only way you are going to lose fat, is to eat fewer calories and burn more of them off. That means doing more cardio exercise, such as running, swimming, playing sports, or just taking more walks. Anything, in fact, that speeds up your heart rate and increases your pulse will be doing you good and burning off some calories.
How to reduce belly fat? Do crunches, because these are the simplest belly toning exercise that there is, and they work. Lay on your back, with your knees bent and your feet in the ground. Place your hands behind your head, take a deep breath and pull yourself up into a sitting position, exhaling as you go. Lie back down and repeat, as many times as you can.
3. Vertical leg crunches
These are very similar to regular crunches, only you hold your kegs up vertically in the air. Lie on your back on the floor and raise your kegs up in the air, crossing your legs at the knee. With your hands behind your neck, raise your torso up as far as you can go and then gently let yourself back down to the floor again. Repeat five times, rest, and then try to repeat another five times.
4. Side bends
It’s important, when you are trying to lose belly fat, to exercise your abdominal muscles from all angles, so crunches alone won’t do. These side bends will work the muscles at the sides of your waist. Stand up straight, with your feet together, and raise your hands up towards the ceiling. Then, bend your body to the right as far as you can go and hold that position for a count of fifteen. Return to an upright position and repeat on the left hand side.
5. Reverse crunches
Reverse crunches are another great way to work on your abs. Lie on your back, with your hands behind your head, and bring your legs up, so that your thighs are at right angles to the floor. Then raise your torso up towards your knees and, at the same time, bend your knees towards your chest. Relax, and then repeat the movement as many times you can.
6. Rolling plank
Position yourself on the ground, facing the floor, in a plank position, with your arms bent and supporting your weight, your back straight, and your weight supported on your toes. Take all your weight onto the right arm and roll your body while raising your left arm into the air and hold that position for thirty seconds. Return to facing the ground and repeat the exercise with your left arm.
7. Lunge twists
Lunges will work on your thighs and, putting a twist into a lunge, will also help to tone your abdominal muscles. Stand up straight, with your arms held out in front of you. Take a giant step forward with your left leg and lunge your body towards the ground, until you feel your hamstring stretch. Then, twist your torso around a couple of times to the left. Stand up straight again and repeat with your right leg.
8. Bicycle exercise
Lie on your back with your hand behind your head and bring your legs up, bent at the knees. Start by bringing your right knee up to your chest, while keeping your left leg out. Then, let your right leg out and bring your left knee up to your chest and repeat the movement, so it looks like you are pedalling a bicycle.
Waling is another simple tip on how to reduce belly fat. We said you will need some cardio exercise too, and we weren’t joking! You can’t spot burn belly fat, you have to lose fat from all over your body and walking is a good place to start, if you don’t usually take much exercise. Just thirty minutes a day of brisk walking will burn off some fat and it will help get you into shape to make some of the belly toning exercises to complete too.
Once you have got used to the walking, you can step it up and try some running too. A jog around your local park will get rid of excess fat fast and it will keep your heart and cardiovascular system healthy too. Once you’ve got into the habit, stick with it, because it will keep the belly fat from coming back again.
11. Cut down on processed white sugar or cut it out altogether if you can
The exercising is only a part of the way when it comes to reducing belly fat. The other important part of the equation is in what you eat. Refined sugar is renowned for creating belly fat, so cut down on sweet sugary foods and definitely cut out drinking soda. Even diet soda has been proven to be a cause of obesity, so stick to pure water instead.
12. Eat more protein
Make sure that you have protein in every meal that you eat. Eating protein boosts the metabolism, so you burn off calories faster, and it also has been proven to reduce cravings for food by up to 60%. One study showed that there was a direct correlation between the amount of protein in a person’s diet and the amount of belly fat that they carried. When we mention eating protein, we don’t necessarily mean eating animal protein. Feel free to read our article on how do vegetarians get protein here.
13. Eat fewer refined carbohydrates
Another good tip on how to reduce belly fat is to reduce your intake of refined carbohydrates, such as those found in processed white flour and white rice, because they cause spikes in the blood sugar levels which, in turn, cause belly fat to form. When you get the choice, always opt for whole grain foods. These have been proven to be far healthier and much less likely to produce fat in the body.
14. Eat more fibre
Adding more fibre to your diet is another fabulous tip on how to reduce belly fat. Fibre fills you up, fast, but it doesn’t contain loads of calories. The best type of fibre to consume is the soluble fibre that is contained in raw fruit and vegetables. Soluble fibre stays in the stomach for longer and will reduce your overall intake of calories. Feel free to read our article on what is raw food diet and what are its benefits here.
15. Add more spices to your food
Eating spicy food can also help you lose weight from your belly. When you eat hot spicy food that contains hot peppers, the capsicum in the peppers, which is what creates the heat, speeds up your metabolism and it will help you burn off the calories faster. The increase in your metabolic rate continues for some time after you have finished your meal.
16. Drink a glass of water before every meal
Another simple tip on how to reduce belly fat and how to cut down on the amount of food that you eat is to drink a glass of water before every meal. It will hydrate your body and stop you from feeling quite so hungry at meal times. That way, you will be able to cut down on your portion sizes more easily.
17. Eat lots of green leafy vegetables
Fill up your plate with leafy green vegetables and that will help to lose some belly fat too. As well as all the wonderful, nutritious vitamins and minerals they contain, they will also fill you up with healthy fibre too. The great thing about vegetables and leafy greens is that you can pile your plate high, so you don’t feel like you are starving yourself, and you will still lose weight.
18. Cook your own food
Even a healthy looking pre-prepared meal that you might buy in a supermarket has ingredients added to it that you would never use at home. Pre-packed food, takeaways and restaurant food all contain more fats and salt than your home cooking would, so cook your own meals and then you can be absolutely sure that you are only eating the healthiest of ingredients.
19. Always eat breakfast
Next great tip on how to reduce belly is to make sure that you always eat a healthy breakfast every day, because this has been proven in numerous studies to help to reduce the calories that you will eat through the rest of the day. You should, in fact, avoid skipping any meals, because it will make you feel hungrier later on and you will probably eat more than you would have done if you had eaten that missed meal. Breakfast is especially important, because it also kick-starts your metabolism and that will help to make sure that your body burns off the calories that you consume in the course of the day.
20. Be consistent and be patient
There is no overnight way to lose belly fat, so you will have to be patient and keep to your healthy routines. Regular exercise and healthy diet are the way to lose fat and keep trim, so that might mean sacrificing your pizzas and getting more active, but it will be worth it when you can fit into last year jeans again!
Do you have other tips on how to reduce belly fat?