Most people are aware that exercise alone won’t magically transform the body. Spot reduction, or exercising a specific part of the body to lose fat, just isn’t effective. However, there are some steps you can take to address stubborn belly fat, with exercise, diet and supplements all playing a part.
There’s a saying in the fitness industry that abs are made in the kitchen. I believe this is true. You can do crunches all day long, but you’ll never see the results under a layer of body fat.
When I’m eating a clean, healthy diet, I see a significant difference in the appearance of my stomach. It’s flatter and tighter. I focus on foods such as lean protein (fish, chicken or turkey), fibrous carbohydrates (such as oatmeal, broccoli, whole grain breads and whole grain pasta) and higher fiber fruit such as apples and pears. I keep sugar consumption to a minimum and drink plenty of water throughout the day.
After diet, cardio is the next important step. Four to five days of cardio exercise per week is ideal. When trying to trim my tummy, I increase my normal cardio activity by 10 minutes, and I’ll often alternative cardio sessions with high intensity interval training (HITT). HITT involves alternating low- to moderate-intensity intervals with high-intensity intervals. For example, warm up for five minutes, jog for 30 seconds, sprint for 30 seconds, then repeat 10 times and cool down.
Along with cardio, abdominal exercises should be included to strengthen ab muscles, making them tighter and giving them more definition. I like to train abs every other day, and I typically don’t use any weights. I want my abs to be trim and tight, not build up my ab muscles!
There are three areas to focus on when doing abdominal exercises: upper, lower and obliques. Crunches address your upper abs. Hanging leg lifts are great for lower abs (if you’re working out at home, try leg lifts on the floor—raising your legs 90 degrees and keeping hips down to keep pressure off your lower back). Oblique twists will help to bring in your waist.
Finally, it may help to try a supplement such as Re-Body® SafSlim®. SafSlim®, which contains expeller-pressed high-linoleic safflower oil, is a clinically researched solution for reducing belly fat. It can be taken by the spoonful or mixed into smoothies or yogurt.
Southern States Championships top contender Melissa Transou, a figure competitor, wife and mother, blogs about the unique sports nutrition needs of female athletes exclusively for Vitacost.com.