How to get rid of belly fat
Getting rid of belly fat can be an arduous task and there are a number of reasons why we accumulate it.
We naturally lose muscle as we age, and this slows down metabolism and we store more fat, particularly around the abdominal area. Hormones also affect fat storage – the menopause is often associated with weight gain around the middle.
It’s not all down to metabolism though, and diet plays a significant role in body fat.
How diet affects belly fat
“Abs start at the table,” says top personal trainer, Michael Garry. “If our diet is high in refined carbohydrates such as pasta and bread, we produce more insulin and fat-storing hormones.
“If we want to reduce stubborn fat, we need to do more strength training, and protein is what we need to eat for that.
“Alcoholic drinks can also be high in calories, and have a knock-on effect on our diet.”
Michael recommends noticing what effects alcohol has after 48 hours. Alocohol makes us tired and as a result, may make you crave sugar.
Exercises to get rid of belly fat
The secret to a trim waist is to combine a healthy diet with cardio exercise, strength or resistance training and ab exercises.
Cardio exercise and weight training will help to burn fat, while ab exercises will tone the muscles around your mid section.
Add these exercises into your routine, building up the number of repetitions each time, and feel stronger in weeks!
Swiss ball crunch
- Sit on an exercise ball and keep your arms to your side or crossed on your chest.
- Avoid putting hands behind your head to help avoid neck strain.
- Exhale as you sit up, inhale as you sit back.
- For a forearm plank, line up your elbows beneath your shoulders. Forearms are parallel to one another, shoulder-width apart. Beginners can keep their knees on the ground.
- Hold for a count, gradually building up to holding for 60-90 seconds.
Variation: Keep your arms straight, so that your palms are on the floor.
- Lay down on the floor on your belly.
- Keep your legs straight and reach out your fingertips. Keep your neck in line with your spine.
- Inhale to lift your arms and legs, exhale to lower to the floor
Variation: Raise and lower your right arm and left leg together, then your left arm and right leg.
- Lie on the floor on your back and bend your knees to bring them in towards your belly.
- Begin to straighten your legs as best you can, reaching the soles of your feet towards the ceiling.
- Lift your bottom and hips off the floor smoothly without swinging.
Swiss ball back extension
- Lay on your exercise ball on your belly with your feet against a wall.
- The wider apart your legs, the easier it will be.
- Squeeze your bottom muscles as you lift your torso from the waist
- Lie on the floor on your back and touch your fingers lightly to the side of your head, without knitting them together behind it.
- Bring your elbow to meet your opposite knee in a crunch.
- Repeat on the opposite side.
Top tip: Think about bringing your shoulder to your knee, rather than just your elbow.
- Lie on one side on the floor, keeping your body in a straight line from feet to head.
- Bring your elbow underneath your shoulder, with your forearm out in front of you for balance.
- Lift your hips, keeping them in position. Balance on the side of your foot, not the sole.
- Hold for a few seconds, gradually building up the time as you get stronger.
Liz’s ab strengthening workout
Watch Liz as she shares the workout she uses at home to strengthen and tone her abs, with personal trainer Michael.