Due to technical difficulty in editing the workout video I created for you last Friday (my computer is bumping up to it’s memory limit), I’ve decided to answer a question I get a lot at my San Jose boot camps, and Jackie gets asked a lot at our Campbell boot camp. I’ll get you the video later this week when I free up more memory in my computer!
So, the burning question is: “How do I get rid of my belly fat??
The answer doesn’t lie in hundreds of crunches. You can do crunches till you’re blue in the face–it won’t reduce the fat located in your belly (dang it!). At best, you’ll get stronger abs. Crunches aren’t my favorite exercise for strong abs–but we’ll save the “say no to the ‘all crunch’ workout” rant for another day.
The key to seeing your abs is to eat and exercise for fat loss, not necessarily for weight loss. You can severely restrict your calorie intake and you’ll lose weight–but what have you really lost??? Probably some calorie burning muscle! Your body consists of fat mass and lean body mass (water, muscle, bone, organs, etc.). You want to minimize your fat mass and maximize your lean body mass. This will raise your metabolic rate and help you burn more calories all day long. So, crash dieting or eating a very low calorie diet may actually set you back in your quest for lean, flat abs.
Here are my suggestions to drop body fat in order to reveal lean, toned abs:
–Eat small meals throughout the day that consist mainly of lean protein, produce and monounsaturated fats (like olive oil, nuts, canola oil and avocado). Monounsaturated fats have been featured in the “Flat Belly Diet” promoted by Prevention Magazine. Eaten in moderation, they seem to help with weight loss.
–Minimize processed junk food. It’s usually high in calories and this will not lead to successful fat loss.
–Go easy on grain based foods (most of us tend to eat too many—yours truly included!). When you do eat grain based foods, make them whole grain (oatmeal, whole wheat bread, brown or wild rice).
–Strength train hard. Put down the pink Barbie weights and lift to fatigue! Research has shown that test subjects who did aggressive strength training lost inches from their midsection. Your best bet is to focus on burning as many calories during your workouts as possible by engaging your whole body each and every training session. Multi-joint movements like squats, push-ups, and lunges (or better yet, total body exercises like a squat-to-press) burn a lot more calories than single joint movements. I don’t have a problem with single joint exercises (like biceps curls), but I’d like to see most of your exercises in any given workout be multi-joint exercises. You’ll strengthen all your major muscle groups this way and you’ll burn lots of calories. When you come to boot camp, Jackie and I take care of this for you by giving you lots of multi-joint exercises to do!
–Include interval training as part of your cardio workout. Interval training has been shown to burn WAY more calories during a workout than “steady state” exercise at a moderate exertion level. In addition, your metabolism stays elevated for awhile after a hard workout–burning more calories for you again!
–Mix up your cardio routine. Notice how you get better at certain cardio workouts over time? Yep. You’re getting more efficient. But that’s not what you want when you work out! Mix up your routine so that your body doesn’t acclimate. Stay inefficient! Keep your body guessing and working hard by changing up your cardio interval routines (hey, we do this for you at boot camp, too!).
–Get enough calcium. Some research has shown the people on fat loss programs who get adequate calcium lose more fat than those who don’t consume calcium.
So, there you have it, my suggestions for whittling down your belly fat.
Questions? Comments? Please leave them below.
Let’s make our last week of July camp a great one!
Committed to your (fat loss) success,
P.S. A warm welcome to a few “late entries” to our July camps:
Campbell boot camp: Welcome, Kelsey!
Almaden boot camp: Welcome Marnie, Maritza and Lori!