Let’s talk about belly fat
The “inner tube”, the love handles, the belly bulge – whatever you want to call that stubborn midsection area. Here are some common questions, answers and misconceptions.
1. Why do some people have belly fat and others do not?
We all have to have some body fat on our bodies because we are human. Your genetics determine largely where you carry body fat. Most women carry it in the hips, thighs and glutes which also serves biological functions (i.e. bearing children) and sometimes midsection to protect vital organs. Most men hold body fat in their midsection. While your genetics determine where you carry it, YOU can determine how much you have. Unfortunately the last place fat usually comes off is the midsection and lower body which is why most people store it there. And if you have ever noticed, fat stores can be quite uneven. In fact right now I am relatively lean in my upper body and you can even see veins, but my lower body still has cellulite. Over time, you can work to reduce these imbalances, which is a goal of many people!
2. How do I get rid of my belly fat?
First off, you really cannot just spot target fat, no matter how many gimmicks tell you otherwise they are lying. #TRUTH. If you could everyone would have an ideal physique. Everyone gets down on the floor and busts out 100s of crunches in hopes of those washboard abs, but most people are missing the most important part – nutrition! You have consume a diet high enough in protein to actually build muscle and you need to be lean enough to actually see the muscle. Instead of turning to the gym, go to the kitchen and change your habits. To lose belly fat, you must diet and be lean enough for the fat to finally come off stubborn areas, which is almost always close to the end of your diet, not the beginning. Which is why a lot of people stop their diet, when they do not see results in the first few weeks in their desired areas.
3. But I want nice abs, how often should I train them?
Way less than most people think! I want to reiterate, doing ab exercises will not get rid of your belly fat. Belly fat will only go away by losing body fat from your whole physique. But, maintaining a strong core is important therefore 2-3 times per week of training your core is plenty. The core is a relatively small muscle group compared to your legs or back respectively. Performing compound exercises such as squats, deadlifts and rows will engage your core. Focus on your posture while seated and standing, shoulders not hunched forward and engage your core. Most people have really crappy posture in general!
4. I’m overwhelmed. Why is dieting so hard?
Don’t be scared or overwhelmed, you can diet and you have all the tools to do it successfully. Just practice patience, persistence and don’t rush your diet. The number one thing most people do wrong, IMO, is rush their diet going hard for only a couple of weeks then give up. If you really want to be successful and achieve lasting results, it’s going to take longer than that. Who cares how long it takes?
Make sure you are in a good place before starting a diet (meaning you have not just finished a diet and are not eating like a rabbit). Make sure you are ready to commit. Remember, body fat is likely to come off your midsection and legs LAST. Yes it may come off your face and arms first, silly I know, but that’s how it works. When you are done dieting and have achieved your ideal physique, realize you many still want to lose fat off your target area, but it may take a couple rounds of dieting to get there.
5. I’m doing so much exercise right now, why am I not losing?
There’s a statistic that people underestimate the amount of exercise they are doing by up to 50%. That’s a ton! Write down in a journal (or on your phone), the amount of exercise you are doing daily. Do you keep a step counting watch? How many steps are you actually getting daily? If it’s only 4-5k steps, you might not be moving near as much as you think. Once you have re-evaluated how much exercise you are actually doing, the second area to think about is your food consumption. Many people underestimate what they are eating. You might be eating too much or too little for your goals. Again, take a honest look at your daily intake and look for areas of improvement.
TLDR: You cannot “spot target” fat off your midsection. Dieting is the only way to remove it from this stubborn area. Fat is likely to come off your midsection and lower body last or near the end of your diet. Start a diet only when you are ready – commitment, eating enough, not doing a ton of cardio and you have not dieted for the past 6 months, at least. Lastly, do not overestimate the amount of exercise you are doing and underestimate the amount of exercise you are getting.