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Hammer Fitness Blog

5 Ways How to Lose Belly Fat and Save Your Life

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. What is Belly Fat and Why is it Dangerous?
  3. What Causes Belly Fat
  4. 5 Ways to Getting Rid of Belly Fat
  5. Best Exercises to Lose Belly Fat

5 Compound Exercises to Lose Belly Fat

You’ve stopped looking in the mirror years ago.   Until now, you didn’t realize that your belly fat was dangerous. Even as a younger adult or teen you never had a six-pack (outside of craft beer), but no one would have described you as “paunchy” or sporting a breadbasket either.  You were just a regular guy/gal.  And then something changed.

You can live in your body for years, ignoring a few extra pounds here and there.  We justify to ourselves all the time, perhaps the dryer shrunk our shorts, what’s another hole in the belt it’s not like I’m obese.  I  am still in the same size jeans, only the waist is higher in the back than in the front.

Bending down to tie your shoes leaves you feeling winded or worse, slightly nauseous.and you have not wanted to take your clothes off in front of your partner for almost a year.  You can no longer ignore it.  You have gained weight and it has decided to take up residence in your gut.

Spare tire, muffin top, beer-belly, potbelly, or middle-aged spread; call it what you want but it all means the same thing.  You are carrying excess body fat around your midriff and it has caused your abdomen to protrude in a rather unsightly way.  You feel old and fat.  You need to learn how to lose belly fat and save your life!

What is Belly Fat and Why is it Dangerous?

Belly fat is defined as excess body fat in the abdominal region of our body and internal organs.  It can be easily seen in most cases in and around the stomach but it can also be hidden making it an insidious danger.  It’s because of this danger, losing body fat fast is recommended.

There are three types of fat:  triglycerides (fat that circulates in our blood), subcutaneous fat (this is the fat that lays on top of our muscle and just below the skin).  Subcutaneous fat can be jiggly and not all that sexy to look at but it is less serious than the third type and easier to lose.

The third type of body fat is visceral and is the most dangerous of the three.  Visceral fat is threatening because it surrounds our internal organs deep inside our abdominal cavity.  While we can always see subcutaneous fat, we cannot always see visceral.  We call these people TOFI – Thin outside, fat inside.

This is the type of fat that researchers believe causes the body to become inflamed and is more likely to contribute to heart disease, type II diabetes, high blood pressure, strokes, high cholesterol, and even Alzheimers.

What Causes Belly Fat?

There are several reasons we accumulate fat in our abdominal region.  Here are some of the most obvious:

Poor Eating – the majority of our calories are coming from empty sources such as simple carbohydrates.   Sugary drinks such as pop, juice and fast food are also culprits.  It takes very little energy for the body to metabolize junky fast food than nutrient-rich whole foods, healthy fats and lean proteins.  Cookies, cakes and candy can be consumed in large quantities and people often never feel satiated.  These foods also cause huge spikes in insulin – the hormone that tells the body to store, store, store fat.

Alcohol:  Contrary to what people believe, alcohol is not digested so having a meal with drinks does not slow down its rate of absorption.  Alcohol goes directly into our bloodstream and needs to be filtered through our liver, thereby slowing down all chemical reactions until the toxin is removed.  This process slows down our metabolism.  Alcohol is another example of empty calories which means it is not supplying any useful nutrients in the form of complex carbohydrates, lean protein and healthy fats.

Lack of Exercise:  Basically, way back when you gave up the gym, you signed your membership card to the Big Belly Club – because belly fat is not the result of just one bad habit – it is the result of many.  If reasons 1 to 3 are part of your lifestyle, then you now know the cause.

Stress:  Cortisol of the hormone that helps us deal with stress.  Without cortisol, we would not want to get up in the morning or have the motivation to meet deadlines or take care of things.  But with the frenetic pace of our lives today, mounting responsibilities, and a poor lifestyle, we often use food as a way to cope – the hormone cortisol is responsible for storing fat in the belly.

Lack of sleep:  Poor sleep quality and duration can make you feel tired, lethargic and have you reaching again for quick energy in the form of simple carbohydrates.  Staying up late and night eating is just contributing to creating a caloric surplus.

Genetics: The jury is still out on this one as scientists argue about nature vs nurture.  Still, some believe genetics may play a role in increasing a person’s risk of developing obesity-related illnesses.  Regardless, biology does not have to be destiny and a healthy lifestyle has been proven time and time again to trump genetics.

5 Ways to Getting Rid of Belly Fat

Spot reducing belly fat is impossible.  You can’t run it off or crunch it off.  Doing thousands of sit-ups will not do a damn thing for your protruding stomach but it may make your chiropractor rich.   Most of us have jobs that are sedentary.  This is not to say you aren’t exhausted at the end of the day.  But being mentally exhausted isn’t the same as physically burning up the calories.

Here are 5 ways that you can do today to start chipping away at your potbelly:

Eat Better Meals: The only way we lose fat is to create a caloric deficit by burning off more calories in a day than we take in.  It seems pretty simple – eat less and move more – but if it is so easy then why do we have more than half of our population overweight?  You can start by choosing fruits and vegetables over cookies, cakes and loaves of white bread.  Choose leaner cuts of protein over fattier deli meats and watch that your fat intake is from healthier sources like nuts, seeds, avocados, and monounsaturated fats like extra virgin olive oil.

Drink Less Alcohol.  Stick to no more than a few drinks a week and opt for a single shot of hard liquor in seltzer water with lime over the sugary frozen cocktails.  Red wine may have a few more calories than white but it also has resveratrol, a powerful and healthy antioxidant that is heart-healthy.

Move more and resistance train.  Make it a habit to do more walking than driving and taking the stairs over the elevator.  Start resistance training focusing on fatiguing your muscles to complete exhaustion.  The depleted muscles will need to replenish their glycogen stores and as long as you are not overeating, your body can turn to your body fat stores.

Manage your stress and sleep:  daily meditation and deep breathing exercises help us to deal with stress and are excellent activities to do right before bed.  Deep breathing calms our central nervous system allowing our bodies to downshift and start to prepare for a restful sleep.  Remove all electronics and TVs from your bedroom as well.  It is best to try and sleep in a darkened room without lights from your house and the street.

Adopt a healthier lifestyle.  Regardless of your genetics, lifestyle has been shown to have the biggest impact on our health – good or bad.  Habits 1 through 4 practiced regularly are the foundations of a healthy lifestyle.

 

Best Exercises to Lose Belly Fat

As we mentioned earlier, you cannot spot reduce or do specific exercises to lose belly fat.  In addition to adopting a healthier lifestyle and eating a healthier diet, we recommend building metabolically active muscle.  The more calories your body burns, the more body fat you can lose.

As we age, if we do not resistance train, we will lose muscle mass.  Loss of muscle, sarcopenia, reduces our overall strength, contributes to poor posture, and Creating more muscle on our body improves our metabolism, reduces the risk of developing serious life-threatening chronic diseases such as type II diabetes and osteoporosis

Choose exercises that use more than one joint to perform and targets your larger muscle groups.

5 Compound Exercises to Lose Belly Fat:

Smith Machine Bench Press

Wide Grip Lat Pulldown

Sumo DeadLift

Seated Machine Row

Dumbbell Shoulder Press