When you look in the mirror do you have a little pooch of fat that you wish you could get rid of? Are you unable to see your abs no matter how much work you put in at the gym? Do you have specific articles of clothing you simply can’t wear without feeling self-conscious? Don’t worry, you are absolutely not alone.
In fact, stubborn stomach fat is one of the biggest weight loss goals most people have.
Why is stomach fat so hard to shed?
Because it’s right there, front and center. If you take off your shirt it’s the first thing noticed. Anything on the front of your body receives extra attention, which is why whenever you check yourself out in the mirror it’s what your eyes go to.
Everyone of us humans will automatically look at our own imperfections. That’s simply how we are wired. But that doesn’t mean it is impossible to rid your body of stomach fat. You just need to know a few things about stomach fat and what all needs to be done to get rid of it.
Understanding How Your Body Stores Fat
Before jumping right into blasting that pooch, it’s important to have an understand of how your body stores fat. When you consume food you’re consuming forms of energy. Units of energy are referred to as calories. So when your body burns energy it is burning calories.
However, your body doesn’t just burn the calories within your stomach or what you just ate. It burns calories it has stored for future use. It does this in the form of fat cells.
Your body currently has the same number of fat cells as you had as an infant. The fat cells don’t multiply when you consume excess calories.
Instead, the fat cells absorb the calories, storing the calories as energy for future consumption. This is also why some medical procedures, such as liposuction, may not be as permanent as people realize. While the surgery removes a section of fat cells, excess calories will simply be stored in different fat cells on other areas of the body.
When you consume calories the body has favorite pockets where it likes to store the excess energy. It’s kind of like you might have a favorite pocket on a jacket.
You always put all of your go-to items in these favorite pockets, and then when necessary you place other items in secondary pockets. Your body works in a similar way. With the calories your body will store these in a favorite area. These “favorite” areas are typically due to genetics and your gender.
The stomach is one of the most commonly used areas for storing the extra energy. The body does this because it is right in the middle of your body and doesn’t throw off your center of gravity (unless calorie consumption becomes extreme and the body becomes obese).
This is also why most of the go-to fat storage locations on the body are around the torso, including the chest, butt, and hips. The fat storage right in the center of your body is also ripe for picking when your body needs it.
You Can’t Pick And Choose
Your body doesn’t just store energy in a specific way it also consumes energy in a specific way. Because of this, you are unable to target areas of your body for burning fat.
If you do crunches your body is not going to simply use the fat stored on your stomach. It is going to pull from pockets of fat storage it has been programed to pull from due to genetics. That is why you can’t just sit on an ab machine at the gym and blast away for an hour.
Beyond this, ab workouts, while great for building a strong abdominal section, burns very little in the way of calories. The muscles here are small when compared to almost all other muscles in the body.
So you will burn more calories and stomach fat by focusing on ways to burn additional calories (and cut additional calories from your diet) (Bangore Daily News).
Focus On Your Diet
Speaking of diet, this is really where most of your fitness routine needs to be focused on. It is far easier to remove calories from your diet than to burn them off at the gym.
Let’s say you grab an average size cup of coffee. That’s about two cups worth of coffee. Then you add two ounces of cream and two teaspoons of sugar to the coffee (maybe you do more, maybe you do less). This single cup of coffee is suddenly a 300 calorie bomb in your diet.
Even if you do half of this, chances are you do it more than once a day. In order to burn 300 calories from your diet you’ll need to sit on an exercise bike for 30 minutes.
And if you drink three per day? Do you really want to spend 90 minutes every day at the gym just to burn off your coffee calories?
Probably not. That is why it is so important to focus primarily on your diet. As long as you do this you’ll see results faster than ever.
Your diet is likely the reason why you’re not seeing the results you want as well. Hard work at the gym only goes so far. Dropping the stomach fat is almost all about your diet.
So first, you need to look at what kinds of foods you can remove from your diet to easily chop away calories. We already mentioned coffee. At least coffee with cream and sugar. Go black with your coffee (yes, it won’t be as sweet, but just think about how sweet you’ll look the next time you’re in a bathing suit). If you need something sweet add cinnamon.
You should also focus on removing all sodas and juices. You don’t want to consume calories through your beverages. These are almost all empty calories that don’t do you any good. So instead, focus on water, black coffee, and unsweetened tea.
When eating salads, ditch the creamy dressings. Some of these dressings have more calories than an entire side of french fries.
Kind of defeats the purpose of getting a salad, doesn’t it?
Instead, go with a vinegarette. Or look for a salad that uses salsa. Salsa is a fantastic topping because it has minimal calories and is loaded with veggies (Healthline, 2018).
Selecting a Specific Diet
There’s nothing wrong with opting for a specific diet. However, when you do, you will want to go with a diet for the long haul. It needs to be a lifestyle. Something you can live with from here on out. Fad diets are usually only that: a fad.
These diets can offer you quick results, but most people who jump on the fad diet bandwagon end up putting on more weight than what they started with. So don’t go with a fad diet.
Look around at the different diets and go with what fits your personal needs, health requirements, and budgets. And even if you don’t go for a specific diet, simply eat healthy and smart and monitor your portions. By doing this you’ll see a significant difference in your stomach.
Some “Instant Fat” Foods
There are some foods that will make it look like you instantly put on a ton of weight. In a way you did, but this isn’t permanent weight. Carbs often get a bad wrap because of this. Carbs force your body to retain water. In fact, one gram of carbs can cause your body to retain four additional grams of water.
So if you smashed the never ending pasta dinner at your local Italian chain, you may end up retaining 500 grams of water. This means your body will instantly retain over a pound of water. This doesn’t even include the possible pound of calories your body consumed as well.
When you go on a diet often it is the water weight you drop right away.
This is why so many people will rave about any given diet because they lost “10 pounds” in the first week. Yes, this is accurate, but it is almost all water weight.
You don’t need to be afraid of carbs though. Carbs are excellent sources of energy prior to workout out or partaking in a big athletic event. Just understand that unused energy carbs will force your body to retain water for a few days (in other words, if you have a big photo shoot, don’t eat a carb heavy dinner until after the photos are taken).
Alright, so now you know how your body retains calories, how it burns through calories and how it retains water based on your diet. If you follow a healthy diet you will start to see improvements in your stomach. To burn stomach fat you will need to burn more calories than you take in. So while dieting will drastically help with this, working out will put you over the top.
However, don’t dedicate all your time to just cardio. If you’re like many people you might have put in hours of cardio time at the gym with minimal results.
That can be pretty frustrating, can’t it? Well your body doesn’t see results when doing this because it adapts to your workout and burns calories more efficiently, which means your workout a month ago on the stair stepper might have burned 400 calories, it may only burn 350 now.
What does that mean?
Two things. First, you need to switch up your cardio. Don’t do the same thing over and over. If you’re going to jog Monday use the stationary bike on Tuesday and the rowing machine on Wednesday. You want to keep your body guessing, which is what helps you burn more calories throughout the workout.
You will also want to add weight training to your workout. Don’t worry, if you don’t want to bulk up you don’t need to bulk up. Bulking is all about lifting heavy weights and adding more protein to your diet. What you do want to do though is hit the weights at least three times a week.
Weight training is beneficial for a number of reasons. Beyond strengthening your body it also causes microscopic tears in the fibers of your muscles. When this happens your body will need to repair the tears.
In order to repair your muscles your body will burn through additional calories to make these improvements to your muscles. This means even after you workout your body is still burning calories. You literally can be sitting on your sofa, watching TV, and your body is burning calories.
Sounds pretty good, right?
We have a ton of great strength training routines and information here if you’re looking for specific instructions on what kinds of lifts you should be doing. Whatever you decide on, make sure you work the full body. The largest muscles in your body are found in your legs, which means you’ll burn more calories and trim away stomach fat faster by working your legs (Shape).
Stomach fat is that pesky little annoyance that always seems to creep up out of nowhere. Or it is the thing that’s always bothering you. Like a fly that just won’t leave you alone.
Thankfully, no matter your body type or what kind of success you’ve had in the past, it is possible to blast away stomach fat. Just make sure to keep all these tips and tricks in mind.
From cutting down your calorie intake and monitoring what you eat to burning more calories and adding weight training into your workout routine, you absolutely can cut stomach fat. Just keep with it.
It can be a bit frustrating at times. We’ve all been there. But don’t worry, in no time you’ll start seeing small results, and over time each small result and improvement will result in something truly impressive.