Thursday, April 19, 2007

Powerful & Proven Ways to Lose Belly Fat

Do you feel self-conscious about the size of your belly? Want to do something about it? Instead of trying some "miracle" fat burning pill or gimmicky fitness gadget, try sticking to the basics. The following tips are proven to help you slim down, tone up, and lose stubborn belly fat. Make them part of your daily routine and you'll start looking and felling better fast!

Exercise the "Right Way" Several Times Per Week

Despite what you may have been lead to believe by late-night infomercials, you are definitely not going to get a lean midsection simply by exercising your ab muscles every day. Performing thousands of crunches and situps will certainly strengthen your abdominal muscles but it's not going to put a significant dent in your body fat levels. There's simply no way to "spot reduce," as any fitness expert will tell you.

The best way to lose belly fat is to perform a combination of aerobic and anaerobic exercise at least 3 or 4 times per week. An example of a great workout for fat loss is performing 10 minutes of light jogging as a warmup followed by 20 minutes of moderate-intensity strength training (compound exercises like pushups, pullups, and squats are best), then 10 minutes of higher-intensity aerobic exercise such as running, bike riding, or swimming.

Another highly effective fat loss technique that combines both aerobic and anaerobic exercise is interval training. In its simplest form interval training is just performing short bursts of high-intensity exercise followed by "recovery" periods of low-intensity exercise. For example you might jog for a minute, sprint for 30 seconds, jog for a minute, sprint for 30 seconds, jog, sprint, jog, etc. Performing as few as 7 minutes of interval training has been shown to greatly increase fat burning throughout the day!

Keep in mind that interval training (or any form of high-intensity exercise) is not for beginners. You should always start off slow with any type of exercise program and try to make small improvement in your fitness levels each week. Obviously, talk with your doctor before beginning any new exercise program, especially if you have existing health problems.

Eat Simply and Don't Get Hungry

When it comes to losing belly fat, your diet is just as important as your exercise routine... actually even more so! The first rule of eating to lose weight is to not allow yourself to get hungry. Starving yourself by eating too few calories is not an effective weight loss method, short-term or long-term. Being hungry just leads to low energy levels, a sluggish metabolism, and eating too much of the wrong foods at the wrong times. For best results eat a small meal or snack every 3 or 4 hours during the day.

The most effective foods for fat loss are "simple" foods that work with your body instead of against it. Simple foods are the foods humans ate over millions of years of evolution and they include things like lean meats, vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds. If you must have grain foods (e.g. breads, pastas, and cereals) always, always choose 100% whole-grain versions. Of course you must avoid all refined sugars and flours.

In terms of beverages, stick to water and sugar-free teas. If you're addicted to soda at least choose the diet versions. An even better choice is sparkling water with a small amount of pure fruit juice mixed in or even just the juice of half a fresh lime. Green tea is a great drink for weight loss as well as overall health. If you like your teas sweet, try the natural sweeteners stevia and xylitol in place of sugar or synthetic sugar substitutes.

One meal a week, eat anything you want. This is often referred to as a "cheat" meal and it's a great way to reward yourself for eating healthy foods all week long. It's also an effective way to keep food cravings at bay and help you stay on your diet, which of course is the most important thing in the end.

Stay Motivated

Anyone can get excited and motivated to lose weight for a few days. But it's much more difficult to stay motivated and energized over the course of weeks and months, especially when your belly fat isn't melting away as fast as you hoped it would. Just about everyone hits the "wall" within the first 2 or 3 weeks of beginning an intense weight loss program.

The key is to find ways to motivate yourself and to use them every day. It's just a matter of figuring out what really gets you excited and motivated to continue working out and eating well. Try writing a goal statement and reading it out loud twice daily. Post photos of people with fit, sexy bodies around your house and look at them often. Get a "workout buddy" or join a gym so that you can get motivated by being around other people who have made their bodies and health a priority.

Finally, keep in mind that losing belly fat will do a lot more than just make you look better with your shirt off. It could also help you live a lot longer! Recent research has shown that abdominal fat is probably the most dangerous fat because it appears to increase inflammation in the body. Increased inflammation levels are associated with heart disease, diabetes, and several types of cancer. The deep "visceral" fat that surrounds your organs appears to be the biggest culprit and the only way to lose it is by exercising regularly and eating simply!

By the way, if you want a complete guide to burning fat, building muscle, and looking great -- written by an absolute expert -- I highly recommend the "Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle" program located at:

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