Whether you are trying to get a smaller waist to get an hourglass figure, or you are just looking to lose a few inches off of a round belly, these tips and exercises can get the job done.
The most important thing to understand when trying to get a small waist is that a healthy bodyweight is priority one; strength training for the entire body & a healthy diet are key. These exercises can also help with a stronger core & more toned abs.
Best exercises for a smaller waist:
Jumping Oblique Twist – This is a great cardio move to help burn calories, minimize belly fat and tone the sides. Oblique moves like this one create muscles that pull your body inwards, creating the look that you’re after.
The Russian Twist – The twisting motion of this exercise whittles your middle by firming the muscles on your sides; giving you a toned, smaller midsection. The jumping around also bumps up your caloric burn, which is important for maintaining a healthy bodyweight.
Pilates Side Plank with Leg Raise – This is a challenging, effective exercise for the entire core; you will immediately feel your sides and obliques working. There are multiple levels of difficulty for this move; choose the one that you can do with perfect form.
Crisscross Crunches – One of the best ways to tone your stomach and see results fast. This is an exercise that burns a good deal of calories, due to all of the large muscles groups involved; your whole body has to chip in to create this motion.
Windshield Wipers – A good beginner obliques exercise that improves range of motion around the torso. You can make this one harder by straightening your legs, but only attempt that modification if you already have a solid foundation of core strength.
Everyday habits that will help you achieve your goal:
Do 30-60 minutes of cardio at least 5 days a week – Regular cardio will keep your heart healthy, and make it easier to maintain a healthy bodyweight, which is absolutely essential to having abs or a thin midsection. Also, if you focus only on working out or doing situps and don’t make the necessary modifications to your diet, you will likely never see the results of all of your hard work show up in the form of a toned belly. Make sure that you are not overeating or consuming more calories than you are burning each day (talk to your doctor or a nutritionist about how many you should be aiming to consume each day, or try wearing a calorie counting device in order to get an idea of your daily expenditure).
Strength Train – Strength training is a serious ally when it comes to lowering body fat and getting a toned belly – you can’t spot reduce fat, but lean muscle can help you maintain a healthy body fat percentage.
Pull in your stomach – Increase your overall body awareness; stand up straight and keep your abs pulled in tight and it will make an immediate and long term difference in how toned and flat your stomach is.
Avoid excess sodium and carbonated drinks – Extra sodium in your diet can make you retain water and swell (read Getting Rid of Water Weight). An easy rule to avoid extra salt is to eat packaged, processed food as little as possible. If you want to get a toned, tight midsection, keeping a well balanced diet has a twofold benefit; it will keep you at a healthy weight long term, and reduce the chances of retaining water weight.
Before you do anything in life, you must always have a plan.
Especially if it’s a major goal.
In this case, you want to get a smaller waist and flat stomach. You must have a well designed workout plan that will help get you results.
This 28 day small waist and flat stomach challenge has everything you need.
As long as you’re willing to put in the work, consistency and dedication, your results are inevitable.
- FLAT STOMACH WORKOUT
- FLAT STOMACH WORKOUT INSTRUCTIONS
- INTERVAL TIMER
- MUSIC PLAYLIST
- CALORIE CALCULATOR
- 50 Ways to Shrink Your Belly
- Be Mindful
- Make Fewer Decisions
- Don’t Be Afraid To Instagram Your Meals
- Fantasize About Overeating Sugary Treats
- Use Smaller Bowls
- Get A Good Night’s Sleep
- Pick A Set Number Of Foods, And Stick To Them
- Put Your Fork Down Between Bites
- Snack Smart
- Avoid Stress
- Drink Water Prior To Each Meal
- And Buy A BPA-Free Water Bottle
- Get Some Sun
- Replace Simple Carbs With High-Fiber Foods
- Cut Your Sugar Intake And Increase The Amount Of Fiber You Eat
- Stay Away From Fructose
- And Avoid Artificial Sweeteners
- Know The Flat Belly Fats
- Make Room For Tyrosine
- Choose The Right Booze
- Stay Away From Sugar-Free Stuff
- And Steer Clear Of Refined Grains
- Make A High-Fiber, High-Protein Breakfast
- Go Gaga For Grapefruit
- Try Meatless Monday
- And Remember The Non-Starchy Veggies
- Especially Those Packed With Vitamin C
- Go Green
- Pass The Guacamole
- Indulge In Some Dark Chocolate
- Ready Some Raspberries
- And Blueberries, Too
- Get Some Genistein
- Make A Cup Of White Tea
- Eat Eggs
- Go Nuts For Nuts
- And Bananas For Bananas
- Embrace Acidic Foods
- Learn To Love Whole Grains
- Go Cuckoo For Coconut Oil
- Support Healthy Belly Bacteria
- Sprinkle Some Cilantro On Your Meal
- Beware Of Trans Fats
- Exercise Before You Eat
- Try Strength Training
- Or Some Varied Cardio
- Give High-Intensity Interval Training A Shot
- Hop On A Trampoline
- Dance, Dance, Dance
- Shed Weight Quickly
- The 10 Best Exercises for a Slim Waist
- 10) Myotatic Crunches
- 9) Figure 8s
- 8) Bicycle Crunches
- 7) Cable Rotation Exercises
- 6) Burpees
- 5) Mountain Climber
- 4) Kettlebell Swings
- 3) Side Plank
- 2) Two-Point Plank
- 1) Ab Wheel Rollouts
- 5 Exercises to Avoid If You Want a Slimmer Waist
- 5) Sit Ups
- 4) Crunches
- 3) Ab Machine Crunches
- 2) Sidebends
- 1) Russian Twists
- Belly fat: What’s the best way to get rid of it?
- Find out more
- Sit-ups or stomach crunches
- What Exercises Get Rid of Midriff Bulge?
THE SMALL WAIST AND FLAT STOMACH PLAN
When it comes on to the abdominal region, it can become tricky if you don’t know what you’re doing.
This workout plan will use the power of strength training and cardio.
It has 4 exercises that will target every muscles within the abdominal area that will help to build and carve that sexy shape.
You need one 10-15 pound dumbbell.
This will add resistance for even more calorie burn.
After you complete the 4 exercises you will then do cardio, which you have to do to increase your calorie burn to maximize fat loss from all over your body.
As for the sets and reps, that will be given on the calendar below for each day.
So without further ado, let’s break down each workouts that you will be doing.
Here we go!🏁
Want to easily whip your tummy into shape? Try this at home flat stomach workout for women to get a slim, toned and trim belly, and sculpt your abs in no time!
FLAT STOMACH WORKOUT
FLAT STOMACH WORKOUT INSTRUCTIONS
Start this core workout with a 10 minute warm up circuit.
Repeat this circuit 3 times and rest for 60 seconds between sets.
1. Knee hugs: 45 seconds. Sit down with your knees bent, your hands hugging your knees and lift your feet off the floor. Open your arms, extend your legs to a 45-degree angle and lean back. Lift your torso, bend your knees and return to the starting position.
2. Inverted v plank: 60 seconds. Start in a low plank position, press down through your shoulders and arms, and lift the hips toward the ceiling. Slowly return to the starting position and repeat for 60 seconds.
3. Standing side bend: 45 seconds. Stand up, holding a dumbbell with both hands, and raise your arms up and above your head. Bend your torso to the right, as far as it feels comfortable, pause, and then bend it to the left.
4. Sprinter crunch: 60 seconds. Lie on your back with your legs fully extended and your arms bent and by your sides. Lift your torso off the floor, bend your right leg, and bring your right knee close to your left elbow. Switch sides and repeat.
5. Plank jacks: 45 seconds. Start in a push-up position with your feet together. Hop your feet as far as you can and land softly on your toes. Hop again and bring your feet together.
6. Pilates swimming: 45 seconds. Lie on your belly with your arms and legs fully extended. Raise both arms and legs off the mat, lift your head and chest, and flutter your arms and legs for 45 seconds.
7. Mountain climbers: 60 seconds. Bring one knee toward the center of your stomach and then quickly alternate between legs.
8. Dead bug: 60 seconds. Lie on your back, extend your arms and legs toward the ceiling. Lower your right leg and extend your left arm behind your head. Switch sides and repeat.
9. Waist slimmer squat: 30 seconds + 30 seconds. Stand straight, holding a dumbbell with both hands, rotate your torso to the right, straighten your arms and raise the dumbbell until it’s parallel to the floor. Squat, as you rotate your torso to the left, and bring the dumbbell diagonally across the body until it’s close to your left hip. Repeat for 30 seconds and then switch sides.
10. Side plank: 30 seconds + 30 seconds. Lie on your side with your body fully extended. Lift your body off the mat and balance your weight between the forearm and the side of the foot. Keep your body in a straight line and hold for 30 seconds. Change sides and repeat.
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Stretch your abs, obliques and lower back, and finish this flat stomach workout with a core stretching routine.
Enter your weight to find out how many calories you can burn doing this flat stomach workout:
Being overweight or obese can bring lots of health problems, and a large waistline is linked to higher risk of lots of chronic diseases, such as heart disease, cancer, and type 2 diabetes.
Recent UK research shows that higher waist measures may add up to greater risk for heart attack among women.
Another study finds that waistline can predict heart disease risk better than BMI and body weight in diabetics.
In addition, a large waistline can increase risk of anxiety, which is one of the most common mental health disorders, especially in middle-aged people.
Large waistline often means lots of belly fat, which may produces harmful hormone and substances and raise the risk of insulin resistance.
A recent study from Michigan State University finds that a lower layer of belly fat can release harmful protein and encourage tumor growth.
Reducing your waistline can be tough work. In this article, we will introduce 4 ways that help you have a flat belly quickly.
Please note: these methods work best when you have a balanced diet and regular physical activity.
- Weight loss sauna suit
A Weight loss sauna suit can help you lose belly weight fast by increasing metabolism. It is common worn during psychical exercise.
The body temperature elevation and the profuse sweating induced by wearing the suit cause a rapid loss in body weight by loss of water.
One caution of using sauna suit is dehydration. For this reason, a sauna suit should not be worn while doing extreme exercise or in hot conditions. A sauna suit is not intended for use in a sauna.
Kutting Weight Neoprene Weight Loss Sauna Suit has been scientifically proven to contribute to a significantly increased metabolism (20.8%) and to facilitate greater weight loss (40.4%).
It will cause you to sweat a lot, burn more calories, increase your mental and physical toughness, detoxify your immune system, and increase flexibility therefore decreasing the likelihood of injury.
- Waist trimmer
A waist trimmer belt initially provides the visual illusion of weight loss through fat compression, and it causes sweating, which does translate to minor weight loss through water loss.
Some people argue that this weight loss is not permanent because when you drink water, the weight might return.
However, wearing a waist trimmer do prompt the user to choose lower calorie snacks or adhere to an exercise routine. These will finally help achieve weight loss.
Sweet Sweat Premium Waist Trimmer is a popular weight loss product. It has received massive positive reviews from thousands of customers.
It increases your core temperature during exercise enhancing thermogenic activity and sweat. It is contoured to fit around your waist flexibly, and you can adjust it to fit your shape and size.
- Weight loss drops
Weight loss drops are products helping the body burn fat and suppress appetite. They can achieve fast weight loss by increasing metabolic rate and reducing calorie intake.
Atrafen Thermodrops is such a product that support fast weight loss and appetite suppression without the bloating and gastrointestinal issues commonly seen with swallowing weight loss pills. It can also increase energy, mental focus, and improve mood.
When using it, you need to follow the instruction to get enough amount of drops before your first and last meal.
- Weight loss cream
Weight loss cream can create sauna-like effect to the area (belly) applied, and help to enhance your exercise so you will sweat a lot in that area. It is suggested that sweating can help the body burn calories.
Sports Research Sweet Sweat Jar is your best choice for weight loss cream for the belly. It substantially improves circulation and sweating and encourages thermogenic and muscle activity during exercise.
You can apply it to your belly during exercise to lose more fat there. You can also use it in other parts of the body, like arms and thighs. The effect will depend on how much you put on.
50 Ways to Shrink Your Belly
Though it can be difficult to target fat in one specific area of your body, certain habits, foods, and exercises have been shown to help people shrink their waistlines, reduce visceral belly fat, flatten their stomachs, debloat, and tone their abs. For example, did you know that research shows those who are more in tune with their everyday lives and the world around them have one less pound of fat inside their bellies than those who aren’t as mindful?
To boost your confidence, improve your health, and slim down your midsection, we’ve compiled the best tips for how you can shrink your belly.
These 50 belly-shrinking tips are backed by research, experts, and good old fashion science.
Shrinking your belly isn’t just about what you put in your body, it’s about what’s going on in your brain, too. In a 2015 study, Brown University researchers asked nearly 400 people to complete a mindfulness awareness survey, which asked whether subjects agreed with such questions as “I find it difficult to stay focused on what’s happening in the present.” Then, they X-rayed the subjects’ bellies to determine their degree of belly fat. The results showed that the higher people scored on the mindfulness survey, the less visceral fat they were likely to have. People who are less mindful have, on average, an extra pound of fat inside their bellies than those who are more in tune with their everyday lives and the world around them. Eating mindfully also happens to be one of the top weight loss tips from real people.
Make Fewer Decisions
Believe it or not, the fewer decisions you make in a day, the better it is for your belly. A study published in Social Science and Medicine found those who have high levels of what’s called “skill discretion”—i.e., they exercise control by getting things done themselves—tended to have lower BMIs. In contrast, those who are constantly deciding on courses of action for others may eventually come down with “decision fatigue” and make ill-informed choices, such as ordering that piece of cheesecake for dessert. That’s why we recommend rotating just a few go-to recipes during the week. Get inspired by these easy breakfast recipes.
Don’t Be Afraid To Instagram Your Meals
Your friends and family may roll their eyes when you whip out your phone to Instagram your meals, but what they see as an annoying habit might actually be improving your health. An analysis of “attentive eating” studies in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found those who recall their last meal as being filling and satisfying tended to eat less at their next meal, thus keeping their bellies flatter. So if you have trouble remembering what you had for dinner last night, try Instagramming your meals in an effort to feel content the next time you sit down to break bread.
Fantasize About Overeating Sugary Treats
You’re right to think this one sounds counterintuitive, but allow us to explain. In one 2010 study, researchers broke participants into two groups and asked one group to fantasize about eating three M&M’S. The other group was instructed to imagine themselves eating thirty of the sweet morsels, and when scientists invited all of the participants to enjoy some real M&M’S as part of a “taste test,” those who fantasized about eating thirty candies actually tended to eat less of the real thing than those who kept their imaginations limited to just three. In other words, researchers found that, contrary to popular belief, imagining the pleasure of gorging on a food actually reduces your appetite for it. Now excuse us while we go dream of cake!
Use Smaller Bowls
Though this may sound obvious if you want to lose weight and shrink your belly, use smaller plates and bowls. The FASEB Journal suggests overeating may be associated with the size of our dinnerware, because in one study participants who were given larger bowls served and ate 16 percent more than those given smaller bowls. What’s more? The big-bowlers underestimated just how much they were eating by 7 percent!
Get A Good Night’s Sleep
Getting a good night’s sleep has various health benefits for your entire body, and the belly is no exception. According to Wake Forest researchers, dieters who sleep five hours or less put on two and a half times more belly fat, while those who sleep more than eight hours pack on slightly less than that. Though that might not sound like much, when you have a regular bedtime and stick to it, you set yourself up for day-in, day-out weight loss.
“Proper sleep is crucial for weight loss. Too little sleep leads to poor food choices, largely due to increased levels of the hunger hormone, ghrelin. Too little sleep also decreases levels of leptin, a hormone that helps satiate your appetite. Lack of sleep also clouds judgment and causes impulse decision making, which inevitably leads to poor food choices,” adds founder and Certified Sleep Science Coach at SleepZoo, Chris Brantner.
Pick A Set Number Of Foods, And Stick To Them
As it turns out, there’s something to be said for being a creature of habit and eating the same foods day in and day out, especially if you’re on a mission to shrink your belly. When researchers looked at the diets of 6,814 people, they found that the more diverse one’s diet, the more likely one was to experience weight gain. In fact, those who ate the widest range of foods showed a 120 percent greater increase in waist circumference compared with those who had the least diversity.
Put Your Fork Down Between Bites
It takes twenty minutes for your stomach to tell your brain that it’s had enough, so if you eat slowly chances are you will consume less and see your belly shrink. A study in BMJ Open found that slow and normal-speed eaters were less likely to be obese than fast eaters! A simple trick to slow your pace: Place your fork down on the plate after each bite.
Munching on the right snacks throughout the day is one of the best ways to shrink your waistline. Need proof? According to a recent study, researchers found participants lost significantly more body weight when they incorporated low-sugar, high-protein snacks into their daily food routine. Fitting in healthy, high protein snacks (such as a handful of unsalted almonds) helps to maintain blood-sugar levels—which keeps your brain from triggering hunger pangs—and stops your body from indulging in unhealthy foods after what feels like a long day of starvation.
When you’re continually stressed out, it’s bad news for your belly. Stress triggers the release of a hormone called cortisol, and because cortisol is evolutionarily linked to alerting your body to external dangers (like that buffalo headed straight for you) and low blood-glucose levels, it forces your body to store fat and makes you feel hungry. In other words, if you’re stressed, you’ll start craving that afternoon candy bar even if your stomach is actually full. To avoid stress, try simple things like taking deep breaths and meditating for a few minutes each day.
Drink Water Prior To Each Meal
According to a study, sipping 16 ounces of water before each meal can lead to substantial weight loss. Researchers enlisted 84 obese adults for a three-month experiment and broke the participants into two groups. The first group was told to drink 16 ounces of water half an hour before each of their meals while. the other group was told to imagine that they were already full prior to digging in. When the study concluded, the water group lost about 9 pounds, while their imaginative peers shed approximately three fewer pounds. According to the researchers, loading up on H2O before meals is an effective weight loss strategy because it helps increase satiety. If you’re less hungry when meal time rolls around, then you’re more inclined to make smarter food choices.
And Buy A BPA-Free Water Bottle
Since we’ve already established that H2O can help ward off misunderstood hunger pangs, it’s not a bad idea to carry a water bottle around with you everywhere—just make sure it isn’t plastic. Plastic bottles are made with Bisphenol A (BPA) a harmful chemical which can negatively impact fertility in men and women and has been linked to obesity: A 2017 study found that adults with the highest concentration of BPA in their urine had significantly larger waists and odds of being obese than those in the lowest quartile.
Get Some Sun
With your BPA-free water bottle in hand, head out on an early morning stroll to shrink your waist. A study published in Scientific Reports found that exposure to sunlight in between the hours of 8 a.m. and noon reduced your risk of weight gain regardless of activity level, caloric intake, or age. Though the exact reason why is unclear, researchers believe the morning light synchronizes your metabolism and undercuts your fat genes. What’s more? Burning calories before you eat means you’re exercising in a fasted state—the energy you burn comes from your fat stores, not from the food you ate.
Replace Simple Carbs With High-Fiber Foods
One of the easiest things you can do to flatten your belly is to replace simple carbs with high fiber foods, which include whole grains, wheat bran, berries, vegetables, nuts, and seeds. “High fiber foods are great for reducing midsection weight or belly bloat,” says Amanda Baker Lemein, MS, RD, LDN. “Fiber helps draw in water, keeping us feeling fuller for longer, and also stimulates movement in the colon to help keep us regular. Including more high fiber foods in the diet is not only important for weight loss but also may help with the prevention of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and some cancers.”
Cut Your Sugar Intake And Increase The Amount Of Fiber You Eat
As you may have guessed based on the tip above, cutting sugar helps flatten your belly. In a review of 68 clinical trials and studies, New Zealand researchers reported in the British Medical Journal that increasing sugar intake meant increasing body weight while reducing sugar meant reducing body weight. Similarly, increasing fiber is another way to keep your belly lean. In a study of 1,114 people over five years, researchers reported that for every 10 grams of soluble fiber people ate, their belly fat accumulation was reduced by nearly 4 percent—even if they did nothing else to lose weight. Eat more soluble fiber with these overnight oats recipes.
Stay Away From Fructose
Speaking of sugar, the type of sweet stuff you ingest can have a negative impact on the size of your belly. In one study, Princeton University researchersPrinceton University researchers fed subjects beverages sweetened with either glucose or fructose. Though both groups gained the same amount of weight over a two-month period, the fructose group gained its weight primarily as belly fat because of the way this type of sugar is processed in the liver. In other words, if you want to shrink your belly then stay away from fructose, including high-fructose corn syrup!
And Avoid Artificial Sweeteners
Sean Locke Photography/
Simply put, artificial sweeteners cause belly fat. A 2015 study in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society found that increasing diet soda intake is directly linked to greater abdominal obesity. In the study of older adults, researchers found those who drank diet soda each day experienced more than triple the increase in waist size over the course of nine years, so put down the Diet Coke and don’t even think about reaching for some Equal to put in your morning coffee.
Know The Flat Belly Fats
Though eating fats seems like a counterintuitive way to shrink your stomach, flat belly fats such as olive, canola, avocado, and walnut oils, plant-fat rich foods like avocados and olives, and nut and seed butters like peanut butter, almond butter, and tahini, can help you get the job done. However, as with any packaged food, make sure you’re looking for one with less sugar than fiber.
Make Room For Tyrosine
It’s quite possible you’ve never heard of the amino acid tyrosine—a building block of protein—but it’s an important one to know if you want to get rid of a bulging belly. Tyrosine has been shown to prevent belly-bloating sugar cravings by encouraging the brain to release dopamine and another neurotransmitter, norepinephrine. In other words, eating more tyrosine (which can be found in eggs, spirulina, certain cheeses such as Parmesan, Gruyère, Swiss, and Romano, milk, sesame seeds, beef, and bacon) helps fend off those harmful sugar cravings that make your belly fat.
Choose The Right Booze
As tempting as a frozen margarita might be once happy hour rolls around, it’s most likely filled with viscous syrups made predominantly of high-fructose corn syrup (remember that belly baddie?) and thus high in calories. To keep your belly in shape, ditch the marg and instead choose a cocktail made with club soda and lime, or stick with nutrient-packed red wine which has about 125 calories per glass.
Stay Away From Sugar-Free Stuff
In a 2012 study in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, researchers found that those who drank diet beverages had higher fasting glucose, thicker waists, lower HDL (good) cholesterol, higher triglycerides, and higher blood pressure. In other words, sugar-free cookies, soda, and the like may seem like the healthier option, but they contribute to a bulging belly and negatively impact your health in multiple ways.
And Steer Clear Of Refined Grains
Speaking of avoidance, another food group to keep away from is refined grains, such as crackers, chips, pretzels or ‘white’ carbohydrates like white breads or white rice. “Not only do these foods lack any fiber, but they also provide no satiety, and therefore make it easy to overeat them, leading to excess weight,” explains Lemein.
Make A High-Fiber, High-Protein Breakfast
There’s some truth to the old adage that breakfast is the “most important meal of the day,” and if you’re looking to blast belly fat, what you eat at the start of each day can make all the difference. According to a recent study from the University of Missouri in Columbia, a high-fiber, high-protein breakfast may be the most important investment you can make in your waistline, because the study showed that eating breakfast triggered women’s brains to release dopamine, a feel-good chemical that helps to control impulses. In other words, eating a balanced breakfast decreases your chances of reaching for that 3 p.m. candy bar, and keeps your belly slim.
Go Gaga For Grapefruit
A study in the journal Metabolism found that eating half a grapefruit before meals may help reduce visceral fat and lower cholesterol levels. Participants in the six-week study who ate a Rio Red grapefruit fifteen minutes before breakfast, lunch, and dinner saw their waists shrink by up to an inch, and LDL levels drop by 18 points. Though the weight loss magic of grapefruits is not entirely understood, researchers attribute the effects to a combination of phytochemicals and vitamin C in the tart treat. To reap grapefruit’s benefits, consider having half of one before your morning oatmeal, slicing a few segments over a salad, or eating one for a snack shortly before a meal.
Try Meatless Monday
Meatless Monday is more than just an alliteration; it’s an easy way to shrink your belly. Numerous studies have shown that those who eat the least amount of meat are less likely to be obese, have lower BMIs, and the lowest body fat levels. Though it’s perfectly fine to eat meat a few times a week, these high-protein foods tend to fill you up before you can work your way over to the veggies, which are known to possess fat-fighting, waist-trimming powers.
And Remember The Non-Starchy Veggies
Speaking of veggies, those with little starch such as broccoli, cauliflower, cucumber, spinach, mushrooms, and tomatoes can help combat fat. In fact, one Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics study found that consuming more non-starchy veggies resulted in an impressive 17 percent decrease in visceral fat in overweight kids. Although you may be all grown up, it’s safe to assume adding more veggies can help adults trim their belly fat, too.
Especially Those Packed With Vitamin C
In addition to being low in starch, bell peppers are also rich in vitamin C. The important nutrient has been shown to counteract stress hormones which trigger fat storage around the midsection. In other words, bell peppers act as a double belly-shrinking whammy! Veggies that pack a similar punch include zucchini, Brussels sprouts, and kale.
Like many other veggies, greens can also help you stay slim and keep your belly flat. “For clients that are looking to target their belly, I always recommending eating greens 2-3 times per day,” advises Lisa Hayim, MS, RD, founder of The Well Necessities and registered dietitian consultant for Emmy’s Organics.
“When we make dietary choices, we usually load up on protein and complex carbohydrates like bread and rice. While these foods can be nutrient-dense, we miss out on major micronutrients that nourish us, fill us up, and happen to be calorically less dense. Thinking about ways to add greens to each meal is an excellent way to debloat and amp up your nutrients and fiber.”
Pass The Guacamole
Though avocados get a bad rap for being high in calories, they’re actually loaded with heart-healthy monounsaturated fats that make you feel less hungry. Need proof? A study in Nutrition Journal found that participants who ate half a fresh avocado with lunch reported a 40 percent decreased desire to eat for hours afterwards. What’s more? Unsaturated fats, such as those found in avocados seem, to prevent the storage of belly fat. In other words, those green goddesses can help you shrink your waist in two different ways.
Indulge In Some Dark Chocolate
Reaching for the dark chocolate in an effort to slim your waist may sound ridiculous, but there’s evidence to suggest that nibbling on the decadent treat has its perks. In fact, one study found that antioxidants in cocoa prevented laboratory mice from gaining excess weight and actually lowered their blood sugar levels. Another study at Louisiana State University found that gut microbes in our stomach ferment chocolate into heart-healthy, anti-inflammatory compounds that shut down genes linked to insulin resistance and inflammation. When paired with berries, the dark chocolate becomes even more effective because the fruit speeds up the fermentation process, leading to an even greater reduction in inflammation and weight.
Ready Some Raspberries
Speaking of berries, they also have qualities of their own that can help you shrink your belly. Raspberries, for example, pack more fiber and liquid than most other fruits, which boosts satiety. They’re a rich source of ketones, antioxidants that can make you slimmer by incinerating stored fat cells. Lastly, like other berries, raspberries are loaded with polyphenols, powerful natural chemicals that have been shown to decrease the formation of fat cells and eliminate abdominal fat.
And Blueberries, Too
Not to be outdone, research suggests blueberries can also help blast away stubborn belly fat by engaging your get-lean genes. After a 90-day trial, University of Michigan researchers discovered rats that were fed a blueberry-enriched diet showed significantly reduced belly fat than the control group.
Get Some Genistein
Like avocados, peanuts are also high in calories, but they have a hidden weapon in their weight-loss utility belt: Genistein. The compound, which can also be found in fava beans and soybeans, acts directly on the genes for obesity by turning them down and reducing your body’s ability to store fat.
Make A Cup Of White Tea
There are several different teas that can stimulate weight loss and help you burn belly fat, but because white tea works with your body in multiple ways to promote fat-burning, it’s really in a league of its own. According to a study published in the journal Nutrition and Metabolism white tea stops the formation of new fat cells while simultaneously boosting lipolysis, the body’s process of breaking down stored fat. Brew this and watch your belly shrink!
Want to flatten your tummy? Start your day by eating eggs. In one study with 21 participants, half were fed a breakfast of bagels while half ate eggs. The egg group had a lower response to ghrelin (the “hunger hormone,”) were less hungry three hours later, and consumed fewer calories over the course of the next day than the bagel eaters. What’s more? Egg yolks contain choline, a nutrient with powerful fat-burning properties.
Go Nuts For Nuts
Omega-3 fatty acids make salmon and some other fish nutritional stars partially because they play a key role in reducing belly fat storage while keeping us full and satisfied, but if fish isn’t your thing then reach for a handful of nuts instead. Just 1/4 cup of walnuts contains more than two day’s worth of ALA (alpha-linolenic acid), a type of omega 3. Walnuts have also been shown to reduce blood pressure and decrease inflammation in the blood vessels when you’re stressed, which in and of itself can help you keep your belly flat.
And Bananas For Bananas
Bloated belly? Snack on a banana. The tropical yellow fruits are packed with potassium, which helps regulate fluid balance to flatten belly bloat. Other potassium-rich foods include sweet potatoes, watermelon, and beets.
Embrace Acidic Foods
According to several studies, acidic foods help increase the rate at which the body burns off carbs by up to 40 percent. The faster you burn off carbs, the sooner your body starts incinerating fat, which can help you get a flat tummy and overall lean look. Translation: Grab a pickle jar and start snacking if you want to shrink your belly!
Learn To Love Whole Grains
While there’s no doubt many fruits and veggies can help you lose that bulge in your midsection, certain grains can lend a hand, too. A Tufts University study found that participants who ate three or more servings of whole grains per day had 10 percent less belly fat than people who ate the same amount of calories from refined carbs. In other words, swap out white bread, rice, and pasta in favor of oats, quinoa, brown rice, or wheat.
Go Cuckoo For Coconut Oil
A study of 20 men in the journal ISRN Pharmacology found that just 2 tablespoons per day reduced waist circumference by an average of 1.1 inches over the course of a month. Not too shabby. Coconut oil is a waist shrinker thanks, in part, to its medium chain triglycerides. Unlike the long-chain fatty acids found in animal sources of saturated fat, coconut oil doesn’t really raise your cholesterol and is more likely to be burned as energy than stored as fat.
Support Healthy Belly Bacteria
There are healthy belly bacteria, and then there are bad belly bacteria, the later of which studies indicate overweight people have more of in their gut. To keep the fat-causing bugs at bay, you need to eat a variety of foods that support their healthy counterparts—the kind found in the bellies of slim people. Examples of probiotic-rich foods that help you lose weight by aiding digestion include kefir, kombucha, and bone broth. Read up on our master list of best probiotic foods for a healthy gut.
Sprinkle Some Cilantro On Your Meal
Another bloat-busting food to have on hand is cilantro. The herb, though polarizing in terms of taste, contains a unique blend of oils that work much like over-the-counter meds to relax digestive muscles and alleviate an “overactive” gut. A study published in the journal Digestive Diseases and Science found that patients with IBS benefited from supplementing with cilantro as opposed to placebo because their bellies weren’t as bloated.
Beware Of Trans Fats
Olivia Tarantino/Eat This, Not That!
One final thing to avoid when buying, cooking, or ordering food is trans fats. These man-made fats are typically found in processed foods—such as boxed cake mixes. They’re a “Not That!” because, as noted in the journal Obesity, they’ve been found to pack on the belly fat in monkeys.
As it turns out, they’re not great for humans either. “Trans fats cause inflammation in the body leading to insulin resistance and impairing the body’s ability to use glucose properly, resulting in excess fat storage around the belly,” says Tina Marinaccio, MS, RD, CPT. Trans fats, which are created by partially hydrogenating vegetable oils, are beloved by manufacturers because they increase the shelf life of processed foods, but they are no friend to your waistline. “Trans fats may be lurking in any processed or fried food such as chips, baked goods, and even butter spreads,” Tina warns. “To avoid them, check the ingredients for hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils.”
Exercise Before You Eat
While there’s no need to hit a high-intensity spin class before you nosh, scientists in New Zealand recently found that men and women who engaged in three 10-minute exercise “hors d’oeuvres” before each meal saw lowered blood glucose levels—a fat-busting benefit these folks displayed all day long! If that task sounds too daunting, then start out by taking a walk around the office before lunch and build from there.
Try Strength Training
Strength training is a great way to stay in shape and build up muscle, and because muscle mass burns more calories than fat (not a lot, but every little bit counts!), the more muscle on your skeleton, the quicker you will lose the fat throughout your body, especially around your abdomen. A simple way to build up muscle via strength training is to do push-ups or planks.
Or Some Varied Cardio
If a cardio workout is more your speed, consider going for a walk or run, but remember to vary your speeds. “Why?” you ask. Research has shown it will help you learn how to shrink your stomach. In a Danish study reported by the American Diabetes Association, two groups of people with type 2 diabetes were put on a walking program. One group walked at a steady speed, while the other group varied their walking speed. After four months, the interval-training group lost eight more pounds than the steady walkers. Even better, the walkers who changed up their speeds lost visceral belly fat and improved their blood sugar control.
Give High-Intensity Interval Training A Shot
High-intensity interval training (or HIIT) is a great belly-blasting option for those who already feel comfortable in the gym because it helps you drop fatty tissue and build muscle simultaneously. “High-intensity interval training is when you perform an exercise at or close to your maximum ability for a short period of time and then take a brief respite and do it again. HIIT should usually be done on a 2:1 interval, meaning if you did an exercise for one minute, you rest for 30 seconds and then repeat,” explains Dr. Alex Tauberg, DC, CSCS, EMR. To use HIIT to shrink your belly, do workouts that engage your core such as abdominal crunches or bridges. “By performing core workouts using a HIIT plan, you can burn calories and build muscle at the same time,” Alex adds. “This can be a great way to flatten that stomach when you don’t have too much time to work out.”
Hop On A Trampoline
Sure, trampolines are built for kids, but as an adult using one for rebounding is a great way to flatten your tummy. “Not only is it a great cardio workout (which is the first step to tightening up your midsection) but it makes your core work like crazy so you are getting the cardio plus the toning,” explains Hope Pedraza, a Certified Personal Trainer through American College of Sports Medicine “Everything you need for a tight tummy!” To get a comprehensive workout using a mini trampoline, Hope suggests jumping, lifting your knees up high, twisting, adding some light weights to move around while you’re jumping, and moving in all directions in different planes.
Dance, Dance, Dance
In the words of Lady Gaga, “Just Dance!” Explains Hope, “Dance cardio really is an amazing way to trim belly fat because it is going to help shed fat on the body as a whole. It is obviously a cardio workout, but because your body is forced to move in all different directions in different planes, it is making every single muscle in your body work. Similar to the benefits of a HIIT workout, you get the cardio plus toning benefit all in one,” she explains, noting that she teaches a dance cardio class at inBalance, the fitness and wellness studio she founded in San Antonio. “In the case of our dance cardio class, it is set up in an interval style workout because bringing your heart rate up and down multiples times amps up the challenge on your metabolism, getting you into fat burning mode even after you’re done working out.” Bye-bye belly fat!
Shed Weight Quickly
Despite the common perception that you need to drop pounds slowly in order to maintain your weight loss, the exact opposite is true. In fact, you’re more than five times as likely to succeed in your long-term weight-loss goals if you start out of the gate by dropping pounds rapidly, according to a 2013 study in the International Journal of Behavioral Medicine. To focus on rapid weight loss in your midsection, do any of the exercises mentioned above, and eat more fiber and less sugar. For more waistline wisdom, don’t miss these ideas to lose weight fast.
Get the New Book!
Want to lose 10, 20, even 30 pounds—all without dieting?! Get your copy of Eat This, Not That: The Best (& Worst) Foods in America!, and learn how to indulge smarter and lose weight fast!
This is one of the biggest debates online right now “Can you get wider hips naturally?”.
Well, it depends on what you’re referring to.
Are you talking about the skeletal frame or muscles?
If it’s the skeletal frame then no, you cannot change that.
On the other hand if you’re referring to muscles, then yes you can because they respond to stimulus.
You can definitely work and target the gluteal muscles surrounding your hip area. One in particular is the gluteus medius, it’s a small muscle but it can grow a bit larger.
Your gluteal muscles help to influence the shape of your hips.
In this 10 minute workout, you’re going hit the gluteal and abdominal region.
The SMALL waist & wider hips workout overview
You’ll be doing 4 different exercises, 2 will be targeting your lower body and 2 targeting your abdominal region.
A workout chart will be given below showing the amount of sets and specific time-frames.
You won’t need weights or resistance as yet.
But as you progress with this routine, you will need additional resistance to stimulate muscle growth using a 20-30 pound dumbbell.
Don’t worry, you will be shown which workouts to add the dumbbell for maximum resistance.
Let’s break down each move.
1. Donkey lateral kicks
Not to scare you but this workout is going to really hit your glutes and thighs.
But that’s a good thing!😉
This workout is very similar to the standard donkey kicks with just a slight variation.
If a workout doesn’t challenge, you’re still within the comfort zone.
And if you want to develop your gluteus medius to its maximum potential then you have to push yourself harder.
How to do it
- Get into the tabletop position on all fours.
- You’re going to lift your left leg sideways as high as possible.
- Then stretch your leg while maintaining it parallel to the ground for one second.
- Return to the starting position and repeat.
- Do the required amount of sets for each leg.
2. Side plank hip lifts
With this workout you’re going to work the abdominal region to tone those muscles.
And also work the gluteus medius.
Now bear in mind, this workout is to tone your abdominal muscles not necessarily to burn fat as you cannot spot reduce.
In a few, you’re going to get a high-intensity 5 minute HIIT/Cardio workout that you can add to this routine to maximize your fat burn.
How to do it
- Get on your left side as shown in position A.
- You’re going to slowly raise your right leg as far as possible upwards while contracting your abdominal muscles as shown in position B.
- Return to position A and repeat for the specified time frame as listed on the chart below.
3. Back cross lunges
A lunge workout variation that is going to challenge not only your booty muscles but quads.
This is one of the workouts you can add a 20-30 pound dumbbell for extra resistance.
Remember, the more stimulus you provide the muscles, the more it will grow as long as you support it with good nutrition.
How to do it
- You’re going to perform a reverse lunge but instead bring your left foot around behind the right foot.
- Keep doing that for the specified time frame and then switch leg.
- The video below will show you how to perform this move more clearly.
4. Parallel reaches
This compound move is going to work your glutes and also the lower abdominals.
When you’re performing this workout make sure that you try to keep a good balance.
You can start off with a table or chair until you can master the balance.
How to do it
- You’re going to stand only on your right foot with your left foot slightly lifted off the ground as shown in position A.
- Slowly get into the position B with your upper body and left leg parallel to the ground.
- After one second raise your body while bringing the left thigh upwards and contracting your abs.
- Return to position B, repeat for the specified time frame then switch legs.
TINY WAIST + WIDER HIPS WORKOUT CHART
SEE THE WORKOUTS IN ACTION
If you want to get a better visual of each workout, check out the short video below.
Slimming your waist with extra calorie burn
Now, if you want to maximize your calorie burn add this 10 minute flat belly workout.
This will help you to lose the excess waist and belly fat provided that you’re in a calorie deficit to support the burn.
When we say calorie deficit that means, you should be burning more calories than you eat daily.
So, if you’re consuming too many calories daily then your workout will be in vain.
This doesn’t mean you should starve yourself daily.
You can absolutely enter a calorie deficit and still remain full throughout the today.
Here’s a Monday-Sunday meal plan you can follow to maximize your efforts.
But what if I’m a hard-gainer?
If you’re struggling to gain lean weight then you need to enter a calorie surplus, meaning eating more calories than you burn daily.
Here’s a 7 day weight gain meal plan that you can follow that will help you gain some healthy lean body mass.
Another thing is that if you’re a hardgainer you should add the weights.
Add a 20-30 dumbbell to the Back-Cross Lunge, and if you have access to ankle weights add them to the Donkey Lateral Kicks.
Doing this will maximize muscle stimuli for better gains.
Your workout frequency
You can do this routine 3 to 4 times a week for optimal muscle stimulus and fat burn.
But most of all pay attention to your diet, that dictates your results.
Try this tiny waist and wider hips workout!
Remember, whatever your fitness goal is consistency is what matters.
You cannot start and stop, then start again.
Try to develop that discipline to stick to a workout plan and as you go along try to push yourself harder and beat your last workout.
“If you follow that rule of challenging yourself in every workout you will get quicker results.”
So go ahead and try this routine, share it with your friends to challenge them also!😉
The 10 Best Exercises for a Slim Waist
Men tend to put a lot of emphasis on building big muscles so the phrase “slimmer waist” is not often heard in conversations about men’s fitness. Time to reconsider!
tl;dr – click to read summary The top 10 waist slimming exercises for men include Ab Wheel Rollouts, Two Point Plank, Side Plank, Kettlebell Swings, Mountain Climbing, Burpees, Cable Rotation Exercises, Bicycle Crunches, Figure 8s an Myotatic Crunches. You really can’t go wrong if you do the top 6 exercises on a regular basis and use the other 4 exercises for variety and you will develop a tight, slim waist and midsection.
A slim waist is a sign of three positive things:
- It is a sign of superior fitness and inner health.
- A slim waist is a sign of youth and virility.
- It makes the shoulders look bigger, so it helps form that coveted T-shape of the upper body!
It must be said upfront that the exercises that follow are selected because they give the core a good workout. Most common ab exercises are either poor for ab development or they target the wrong muscles to create a slimming effect.
Basic ab exercises like the common crunch build the abs without really activating the deep, ‘corset’ muscles of the abdomen (the transversus abdominis or TVA). Strengthening these muscles will help build that slimmer, tighter looking waist. A slim waist is achieved through a combination of weight loss, tightening the TVA and oblique muscles that lie deep in the abdomen and special add-ons to workouts like a waist trimmer belt that helps your body to sweat out the water from the stomach area. This full guide on waist trimmer belts will help you choose the right one for you.
So far start with these 10 conditioning exercises that will help to make your waist “slimmer”.
10) Myotatic Crunches
Crunches are generally terrible at activating the abs and deeper TVA muscles but the myotatic version is an excellent ab strengthening exercise. To perform these, arch your back over a stability ball (e.g. BOSU) and crunch until you reach the full crunch end position. This movement increases the range of motion of the exercise and it puts more tension on the abdominal wall and removes the risk of back injury from the movement.
9) Figure 8s
To really get a deep ab and oblique hit, you will eventually need a leg raise exercise. While hanging leg raises stand out as the kingpin exercise for core development, Figure 8s is really good variation. Simply lie down on the floor and with straight legs. Perform a figure 8 movement in the air. Create big sweeping arcs with your legs and allow the hips to roll through the movement. This exercise not only gives you a great core workout but it also helps increase hip mobility and as a bonus it strengthens the lower back.
Variation: Windshield wipers — mimic the action of a windshield wiper blade with your legs.
8) Bicycle Crunches
Bicycle crunches is considered to be one of best ab exercises by many sports biomechanists because they have been shown on Electromyography machines (EMG ) to produce superior ab activation compared to other exercises. Like V-ups, you’re using both lower and upper body movements to hit the abs and hips hard. If you do one general ab strengthening exercise, this is it.
7) Cable Rotation Exercises
Aside from stabilizing the upper body, the core is principally involved in the upper body rotation. Performance in many sports requires powerful core rotation, most notably baseball, hockey and golf. It therefore makes sense that you will benefit greatly by adding cable rotation exercises such as chopping and lifting movements. These are great core strengthening exercises and there are many variations to keep your workout fresh and interesting.
Hands down the best conditioning exercise you can ever do. It requires no equipment, and can be done anywhere with a flat surface. Burpees are effective fat burners because they involve many muscles throughout the entire body. As an added bonus, the entire movement from plank/push up through to squat jump involves powerful core muscle function.
5) Mountain Climber
Mountain climbers can be considered a core exercise but this activity is really a great whole body conditioning exercises. The focus of the mountain climbing movement is in core stability while the cross-body variation increases the load on the core. Perform regular mountain climber exercise for a nice conditioning effect and go slow with the cross-body variation for added abdominal emphasis. Mountain climber is a great conditioning exercise and should be a regular part of any athletic or physique building program.
4) Kettlebell Swings
A popular exercise in recent years, the kettlebell swing is used in fitness boot camps, CrossFit, sports and even powerlifting circles. The reason for its popularity is simple — you’ll get a fantastic conditioning workout and develop strength through the posterior chain (vital for correct posture and injury prevention). Use a light kettlebell and do sets of high reps (25-75) for a fat burning, cardio conditioning effect. Men can usually handle a 20kg kettlebell nicely but be sure to choose a weight that allows you to pump out 30-40 challenging reps without losing good form. The swing movement is also a fantastic core conditioner and the high rep regime will produce a powerful fat burning effect.
3) Side Plank
The side plank is a simply one of the best core exercises there is. Planks activate the abdominal muscles, hips and glutes synergistically to stabilize the body. The side plank emphasises the obliques but the intensity of this exercise means you’ll tighten the muscles of the entire core. Any serious ab/core workout will include side planks, so make sure to use them often.
2) Two-Point Plank
Simple planks are great core strengthening exercises, but for extra challenge to the deeper core muscles such as the corset TVA muscle, begin lifting limbs off the floor. The two-point variation involves lifting an arm and the opposite leg. Hold for a count of 3 seconds, lower them back to the starting position and repeat with the other leg/arm. Aim for zero movement of the core and total stability throughout the movement. This variation puts incredible tension on the core musculature, which means a great workout.
1) Ab Wheel Rollouts
Ab wheel rollouts are killer, which is why many exercisers won’t do them. You definitely need to work up to these bad boys because the tension on your midsection is so great. Start by rolling out from a kneeling position and only roll as far as you can, as comfortably as you can. Aim to increase the distance and ultimately perform the movement from a standing position. This may be the toughest core exercise there is, but it must be high on the list.
Variation: Use a Swiss ball for a good ab stretch. The unbalanced base of support further challenges the muscles of the core.
5 Exercises to Avoid If You Want a Slimmer Waist
Now on to the exercises you should be avoiding in your quest for a slim waist. The exercises that follow are not only ineffective but in some cases can cause injury. People will still do them but the fact that there are better exercises that don’t compromise the health of your spine, avoid these at all costs.
5) Sit Ups
Sit Ups are primarily hip exercises and were popular for decades until people realized that they can cause back pain and are utterly ineffective as core exercises. There is really no reason to do sit ups because there are many better exercises for the core and the hips.
Like Sit ups, crunches push the lower back into the floor, which over time leads to back pain. If you must crunch, the bicycle variety will give you the best bang for your buck. Crunch movements on Swiss balls make the exercise easier on the back and allow for greater range of motion.
3) Ab Machine Crunches
These tend to be more hip exercises and it makes crunching awkward. It’s a fallacy that you need weights to properly work the abs. Bodyweight movements where your core musculature is used to stabilize the upper body are much better. Again, if you must crunch, use a Swiss ball or perform the bicycle variety on a soft surface.
Bending down your side with a dumbbell in your hand never really sounded like a good idea. It’s a totally unnatural movement for the body to engage in and it puts shear forces on the spine. A completely unnecessary exercise and potentially dangerous.
1) Russian Twists
Besides being a bad exercise for ab training, they are actually pretty harmful. They involve both spinal flexion and rotation, which puts the spine in a compromised position. If you are a trainer, it is not good to recommend to your clients to perform Russian twists. Twisting with that much tension with so much focus on the spine is not something you want to do on a regular basis, so please don’t!
Life expectancy is increasing at an unprecedented rate – lifestyle changes and medicinal advances means we are cheating death every day. But there is one, very large shadow looming over our retirement plans – that of obesity.
A recent University of Edinburgh study suggested that for every pound of weight gained, we can reduce our life expectancy by a month. Luckily, it’s never too late to hit fat where it hurts.
“What’s the point in having a Ferrari, if there’s no engine to go with it?” muses UN1T’s Mathew Carter, on how, if you’ve got the size and the strength to shift heavy metal, then you should have the aerobic capacity to go with it.
(Related: Why you need to train for strength, not size)
Which, unfortunately, isn’t the case for a lot of guys. “Are you able to shift that tin without feeling like your lungs are going to cave in on you?”, quizzes Carter again.
To help you — and your lungs — lift heavier and work out more effectively, he pieced together a gruelling six-move circuit that’s guaranteed to keep your teeth gritted, your heart thumping and your sweat pouring.
(Related: How to stop sweating after the gym)
For each exercise, work for a minute and rest for 15 seconds before moving onto the next. At the end of each circuit, rest for 90 seconds for a total of four circuits.
Ready, steady, sweat.
Belly fat: What’s the best way to get rid of it?
Image copyright Mary Evans Picture Library
Muffin top, spare tyre, blubber, belly fat, beer belly – a multitude of names but they all mean the same thing. Abdominal fat. And in the summer many turn to quick fixes to get rid of it, writes Saleyha Ahsan.
The problem with belly – or abdominal – fat isn’t just the way it looks on the beach. It could be a sign that your health is at risk.
Belly fat is around our midriff – the subcutaneous fat that we are referring to when we ask if you can pinch more than an inch and also the visceral fat around our organs, like the liver, pancreas and intestines.
Last year I had an MRI scan which showed me the fat I had around my own organs and it was a sobering moment. Fat around our vital organs can lead to adverse health effects.
Find out more
Saleyha Ahsan (pictured) is one of the presenters of Trust Me I’m a Doctor: Summer Special, on BBC Two, Tuesday 12 July at 20:00 BST – catch up on BBC iPlayer
Take the test: How can I lose an inch of belly fat in four weeks?
Visceral fat is believed to be more metabolically active than subcutaneous fat and has a higher turnover. If you gain weight you put it on there first – and if you lose weight, you lose it from there first. Although it is considered the more dangerous to our health, the good news is that it is easier to shift than the subcutaneous fat. But the question is how.
On health and fitness websites you can see the promise of “spot reduction” of belly fat. These are the quick-fix tricks that promise to help melt fat away. But how reliable are they?
The Trust Me I’m A Doctor team have done some experiments to finally get to the bottom of it.
Image copyright Science Photo Library Image caption There is no shortage of advice on how to lose abdominal weight
So how do you get rid of it? We recruited 35 volunteers – splitting them into four groups – along with two experts in the field of exercise and diet.
All the volunteers carried abdominal fat which gave them waist sizes that put them in the danger zone for type-2 diabetes and heart disease.
Fredrik Karpe, a professor of metabolic medicine from the University of Oxford, and Prof Dylan Thompson, from the University of Bath, each had to come up with two methods to try with the four groups, aligned with their own areas of expertise.
Before the experiment, each person had their health parameters taken. One of the most crucial measurements was a DEXA scan – short for dual X-ray absorptiometry – to get a really detailed picture of the amount of fat everyone had and where it was distributed.
Image copyright iStock
Other health parameters were measured – resting heart rate, blood glucose, blood lipids, weight, blood pressure and of course waistline measurements.
Prof Thompson took on two groups for two types of exercises, while Prof Karpe took two groups for two dietary interventions.
The first of Prof Thompson’s groups wore monitors to check activity throughout the day and the volunteers were told to eat as they normally would. He gave them simple lifestyle changes to make them more active and increase their daily step count.
Prof Thompson’s second group was given a classic internet belly-fat fix – sit-ups. Each volunteer did six exercises three times each – every other day over the six-week period.
Sit-ups or stomach crunches
Image copyright iStock
Lie on your back, knees bent and feet flat on the floor, hip-width apart. Place your hands on your thighs, across your chest or behind your ears. Slowly curl up towards your knees until your shoulders are about three inches off the floor. Hold the position for a few seconds and lower down slowly.
- Don’t tuck your neck into your chest as you rise
- Contract your abs throughout the exercise
- Don’t yank your head off the floor
Source: NHS Choices
The third group, monitored by Prof Karpe, was given the task of following another popular online belly fat reduction suggestion – consuming up to three glasses of milk (one litre) a day.
There has been research suggesting that dairy consumption might promote fat excretion. Fat comes out in the faeces rather than being absorbed.
The fourth group was the diet group. They were not told to change the type of food they ate.
Their task was simply to reduce portion size, measuring foods with their hands and fingers. They were also told to cut out snacks between meals. The aim was to make this as easy to follow as possible – if people are given separate meal plans from the rest of the family it can be difficult to follow and more expensive.
A dietician supported this group through the process, giving the volunteers coping strategies if they were suffering from hunger pangs. She had individual sessions with everyone at the start and continued to support them during the six weeks with phone calls.
At the end of the six-week period, all the participants were tested again on waistline, blood cholesterol, blood glucose and blood pressure.
Image copyright iStock
The results were rather revealing. The first exercise group didn’t lose any fat, but their health markers vastly improved, with drops in blood pressure and one participant even reducing their blood glucose levels from being in the diabetic range to normal.
The sit-up group didn’t lose any weight and didn’t get any healthier through their parameters. But they did lose an impressive 2cm (0.8in) from their waistlines.
Prof Thompson explained that this was due to an improved core strength and the muscles in the abdomen just holding their fat better. A bit like a muscle version of body-shaping underwear. But a good core is beneficial for protection against lower back pain and improves posture.
Turning to Prof Karpe’s groups – the milk drinkers didn’t show any change in weight or health. However although they were being asked to consume an extra 400 calories a day they didn’t gain any weight or fat. Prof Karpe thought this might be to do with them being too full from milk to eat as they normally do.
Image copyright iStock Image caption The group that drank milk did not put on any fat, despite consuming more calories
The clear winner was the diet-control group. This group lost a collective 35kg (77lb) between them which was an average of 3.7kg (8.2lb) each over just six weeks. Their average waistline reduced by 5cm (2in).
The DEXA scan readings were the most interesting with 5% less body fat and an impressive 14% reduction of the dangerous visceral fat inside the abdomen. This group lost overall body fat as well as abdominal fat. They also saw improvements in the health parameters.
But they did lose some muscle tone from their legs, which is not a good thing.
Thus, the conclusion is that if you want to bust the belly fat in a healthy and effective way, it’s the age-old advice of a combination of diet and exercise. Leave the fads where you found them.
Follow @BBCNewsMagazine on Twitter and on Facebook
Trust Me I’m a Doctor: Summer Special is on BBC Two, Tuesday 12 July at 20:00 BST – catch up on BBC iPlayer
What Exercises Get Rid of Midriff Bulge?
According to BodyBuilding.com, the best exercises to reduce the midriff bulge are those that work all of the core muscles, such as crunches, leg lifts, twists and bends. Combining core workouts with cardiovascular exercises and healthy eating trims and strengthens the midriff muscles while burning off excess fat.
BodyBuilding.com recommends a beginner program with several core workouts. For example, the site suggests rotating the core abdominal exercises in the workout plan 2 to 3 times per week. Its exercise guides explain each movement, the area it works and the number of sets and reps. Video demonstrations are provided for every exercise with specific instructions, plus the user can choose either a male or female performing the exercise in the video. Bodybuilding.com emphasizes the importance of healthy eating habits in order to shed fat in the abdominal area
Calisthenic Exercise offers a list of cardiovascular exercises, which when performed for 10 to 20 minutes per day help raise the heart rate sufficiently to burn excess calories and increase metabolism. Calisthenic Exercise suggests simple, cardiovascular exercises such as walking, running, skipping rope and jumping jacks. These exercises can be completed at home. Calisthenic Exercise promotes nine cardio programs, and lists three diet plans to improve nutrition and healthy eating.