INSHAPE NEWS Q ‘n’ A
Reader Adrianna Warden asks:
“I’ve been working out for years, but I just can’t seem to get rid of my belly fat. What am I doing wrong?”
Nick Jack – CHEK Holistic Lifestyle Coach and Personal Trainer
Reducing belly fat is without a doubt one of the most common goals for most people. But why is it so hard for people to lose belly fat? Even when you lose weight, the little muffin-top or beer gut remains. It just seems elusive to many and unfortunately I cannot give you any magical workout or nutritional solution that will work for everyone. For you to achieve your goal of getting rid of the gut, it is going to take a multiple angled approach that will vary from person to person which I hope to explain here.
Just working out more or harder is a foolish way to approach the problem of losing belly fat. But this is exactly what most people do. To get on top of belly fat, I have found that over 11-years of working with hundreds, if not thousands of people that the secret is to control your hormones by applying this formula.
The formula must be implemented in the correct order otherwise the first one, stress, sabotages the rest, as does the second one and so on. Regardless of age, gender, and even how much fat you wanted to lose, this formula is the missing ingredient most people are looking for. But like I said at the beginning, the factor that is the most important to work on can vary significantly from person-to-person. All you need to do is find YOUR biggest weakness and then work on it. I will explain each step briefly:
1. Reduce Stress – This is the most important step because when you are stressed your cortisol levels (stress hormones) rise rapidly, which, in turn, suppress your androgens (growth hormones). Hormonal changes due to stress are bad because testosterone and other growth hormones are suppressed, which are needed for adding muscle to get stronger and fitter. Plus, you also require more muscle to speed up your metabolism to help burn fat.
Stress starts a vicious cycle of testosterone decreasing, with stress hormones increasing, forcing the body to think that it’s going to have a long-term energy crisis. So what typically happens is our body will start accumulating fat right around the belly button in the preparation of this crisis. Reducing stress controls these hormones.
Plus, when people are stressed they find it difficult to make healthy choices, they have a real lack of energy and are not devoted to making significant changes as they feel energy depleted. The last thing they want to do is give up their comfort foods, take up a rigorous exercise program and do the little things that it takes to lose the gut. This is why this step must be first. For even the best diet and exercise program in the world will not work if you are too stressed to do it!
2. Improve Nutrition – This step again is so big we need a lot more than this article to explain it. But to keep it really simple, I advise people that the best thing that they can do to get rid of extra belly fat is to ELIMINATE ALL FORMS OF SUGAR completely from their diet! If you eat only REAL FOOD such as plants being nuts, seeds, vegetables and fruits combined with animal fats, eggs fish, etc., you are well on the way to a great diet. Sugar is by far the biggest cause of hormone imbalance and weight gain. Getting rid of this for many people is the only change needed for them to then be eating healthy.
3. Add Resistance Training – All too often we see people start an exercise program that has heaps of cardio involved. Running, cycling, swimming whatever it may be. They believe if they burn more calories they fat will melt off. Again poor information here is where most programs are doomed to fail. To lose fat, you MUST INCREASE YOUR MUSCLE MASS. As already mentioned, an increase in muscle helps to balance hormones, regulate sugars and insulin, speed-up your metabolism and provide you with the necessary process to utilise fat for energy. Basically, you then become a fat burning machine. All of the clients I see regarding Cancer and Diabetes have little muscle mass and also a problem with insulin. Prior to getting these diseases, they accumulated belly fat! Fat is a warning that you are eating too much sugar and do not have enough muscle!
4. Add Interval Training – This is last because it is also the easiest to do, and it does not take-up much time. However, it is risky if you do not have enough strength or energy in reserve, as interval training can use enormous amount of energy from. People forget that exercise is also classified as stress. It can be good and do beautiful things to our bodies, if it is used wisely. But it can also be bad if it is treated without respect.
Without a solid base to work from when using interval training injury or illness is never far away. No more than two sessions per week should be done with this type of workout, and it might only need to be 20 minutes long to provide huge health and fitness gains. The effect Interval Training can have on your metabolism, muscles, cardiovascular system and even your nervous system is immense. An example of this workout is sprinting as fast as you can for 2-minutes then resting for 1-minute before completing the cycle again. Then repeat this five times!
I hope this helps to provide you with the answers you might be looking for in your health and fitness plan. Like I’ve said many times before, there is no one rule for everyone to follow, only the rule that relates to you and your body’s needs. If you follow the steps outlined here you will get great results and even better than that be able to sustain them forever.
Good luck on your journey!
Nick Jack is a qualified CHEK Exercise Coach, Level II Holistic Lifestyle Coach and personal trainer. He runs a personal training business called NO Regrets Personal Training.
Nick likes to lift weights, cycle, run and triathlon. He has played almost every sport at one time in his life. Now, he enjoys spending time walking his dog and relaxing with his wife and friends.
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Disclaimer: The information published in this column is based on each of the author’s own professional and personal knowledge and opinion. This information and opinion is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment of any manner. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding any medical condition and consult a qualified medical professional before beginning any nutritional or exercise program. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on InShape News.