I’ve been asked this question as a personal trainer more than any other question out there, “How do I get rid of my belly fat?”. It can really be a stubborn area to shrink, but there are many tried and true methods to saying “goodbye” to belly fat forever.

When we lose weight, we can’t choose what area of the body that weight will be lost in. But, we can definitely help it along with the following tips.

Lower Your Stress Levels, Lower Your Belly Fat

In today’s fast-paced world, stress is a given. Many of us work full time, have children, and very busy lives. It’s hard to wind down and de-stress, but it’s something you’ll definitely want to work on because stress can be very detrimental to your health.

When you are overworked and over-stressed, the cortisol levels in the body are climbing. Cortisol is known as “The Stress Hormone”, and when those levels raise, this can wreak havoc on the system. High levels of cortisol in the body is known to be the cause of increased body fat, especially around the mid-section (belly). So bringing those levels down is going to be a big step in the right direction.

A Few Ways to De-Stress

  • Take a Hot relaxing bath and add some epsom salt to the water. Epsom salt contains magnesium which is a natural muscle relaxant.
  • Try a beginner yoga class or do some stretching and breathing on your own. Bring in lots of healthy oxygen and relax into those stretches.
  • Read a book while listening to some slow jams. Music soothes the soul, and reading is peaceful.
  • Turn off your phones, tablets, or any other screen you might have going on, and just breathe. Deep breaths in, and long slow breaths out. Do this for about 10 minutes to lower your stress levels.

When it Comes to Belly Fat, Diet is King

You can’t expect to lose belly fat by just doing a bunch of crunches or sit-ups, you have to eat healthy. Diet doesn’t have to be so complicated as some make it out to be. Make good, healthy choices throughout the day and you’ll be on your way to decreasing your size.

What To Eat, And What Not to Eat

  • Steer clear of heavily processed foods such as packaged snacks and treats. Processed usually means tons of artificial additives and preservatives. Some healthy items go through a form of processing like olive oil and other healthy oils have to go through processing in order to get the final product, and cheeses are made from milk, but other items that contain artificial ingredients should be avoided.
  • Double up on your water intake. Water is life, without it, our bodies couldn’t function at all and is much needed for processes in the body. Increasing water consumption will raise your metabolism as well.
  • Drink green tea to boost your metabolism! If you like it sweet, try adding stevia instead of sugar or artificial sweeteners which are unhealthy for us.
  • Eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables
  • Get your lean protein and organic dairy
  • Avoid refined sugars and simple carbs like soda’s, cookies, candies, and other sweet treats.
  • Eat healthy complex carbs such as oats and other whole grains. Carbs get a bad wrap sometimes but they are much needed by the body. Complex carbs are the body’s first source of energy. They play a role in brain function and they feed the good bacteria in the gut which aids in digestion and boosts the immune system.
  • Add a little spice to your life. Spicy peppers such as cayenne and jalapeno’s contain capsaicin which is known to boost the metabolism. Sprinkle some pepper sauce on your eggs or add diced jalapeno to your soups, stews or salads.

Fitness plan BeYou Wellness Coach

Abdominal Exercises to Tighten and Tone the Belly

Try these exercises in combination with a healthy diet.

Start with a short cardio warm-up. Each Exercise should be done for 3 sets of 10-12 reps. Rest for up to 60 seconds in between sets. Do this routine every other day. Over the weeks, increase the intensity by adding time to your planks, weight to the Russian twists, and a few more reps/sets to the reverse crunch and bicycle crunch.

Russian Twist

Russian Twist

  • Sit on the floor or a mat with your knees slightly bent.
  • Raise both hands out in line with your chest and parallel to the floor. You can either hold a weight plate, dumbbell, kettlebell, or no weight at all.
  • Slowly recline backwards until you feel your abdominal muscles engage.
  • With elbow slightly bent, twist your torso from side to side.
  • For an extra challenge, try raising the feet about 6 inches off of the floor while twisting.

Plank

Plank

  • To Begin, get into a push-up position and lower yourself onto your forearms keeping the weight in your forearms and not the hands.
  • Form a straight line with your body, from your shoulders to your ankles. Do not let the hips raise or drop.
  • Engage the abdominal muscles by drawing your navel in towards your spine.
  • Hold this position as long as you can while breathing deeply.
  • Rest and repeat 2 more times

Reverse Crunch

Reverse Crunches

  • To Begin, get into a push-up position and lower yourself onto your forearms keeping the weight in your forearms and not the hands.
  • Form a straight line with your body, from your shoulders to your ankles. Do not let the hips raise or drop.
  • Engage the abdominal muscles by drawing your navel in towards your spine.
  • Hold this position as long as you can while breathing deeply.
  • Rest and repeat.

Bicycle Crunch

Bicycle Crunches

  • Lie flat on your back with your lower back pressed to the floor, head rested in the hands, and knees are bent with feet on the floor.
  • Lift your knees off the floor to a 45 degree angle.
  • Start to “peddle” your feet as if riding a bicycle.
  • As your right knee comes closer to you, reach towards it with your left elbow by bringing the left shoulder blade off of the floor, do not pull on the neck.
  • As your left knee comes closer, reach towards that one with your right elbow in the same ways as directed above.
  • Continue this motion while breathing steadily. Do as many reps as you can, then rest and repeat.

Don’t Forget The Cardio!

Cardio is not only heart-healthy, but it’s also known for burning calories. When you add cardio to any exercise routine and healthy diet, you will increase the fat burn. It’s recommended that we do a minimum of 20 minutes of cardiovascular exercise per day. This can include anything like cycling, swimming, running, or using machines such as the elliptical or treadmill.

You don’t have to do long bouts of cardio to get the benefits, just get moving steadily for at least 20 minutes. Make sure you give yourself a challenging cardio session though, if you’re not breaking a sweat or increasing your heart rate by much, you won’t get the full benefit of cardio. Challenge makes change. Slowly increase your time and intensity over the weeks and you’re on our way to becoming a calorie burning machine.

Quick Cardio Workout From Home

  • Warm-up by running in place for about 5 minutes, then do some dynamic stretching such as standing toe touches, torso twists, and windmills.
  • 2 minutes of jumping rope (if you don’t have a rope, that’s ok, just pretend its there and go through the same motions)
  • 2 minutes of speed skaters
  • 2 minutes of high knees
  • 2 minutes of jumping jacks
  • 2 minutes of punching bag (don’t have a bag? Throw punches in the air with control)
  • Repeat all exercises one more time, cool down and hold some stretches.

As you can see, losing belly fat isn’t just about targeting the abs through exercise, a lot more goes into the mix. Follow a healthy diet, get plenty of rest, and you’ll be on your way to a flat belly before you know it.