It’s not what you think =)
Is it possible to sleep, drink and plan your way to the exorcism of belly fat or will crunch time ring true via tedious repetition?
1) Exercise the proper prior planning to ensure you eat 5-6 nutritious meals per day
example: A green smoothie with spinach, kale, cucumber, berries, Spirulina and vegan protein powder / vegan protein powder shake with coconut water or almond milk / 20+ Veg Salad with Kale pesto and Zucchini hummus (recipe podcast #394) / 1/2 red capsicum with some cashews / Cauli-steaks with Miso dressing, Ratatouille and Brussel crisps. (recipe podcast #397).
Why? As chronic dieters already know eating infrequently leads to a snail-like metabolism.
It triggers your bodies starvation response where even if you have excess fat stores your metabolism will slow down and conserve energy as it doesn’t know when you’re going to feed it again. Eating frequent meals will train your body to burn through the fuel you regularly feed it and has as much impact on increasing your metabolism as exercising regularly.
If your meals are planned you will also be able to utilize the thermic effect of food. That’s how much energy your body uses just to metabolize the food – PROTEIN IS THE HIGHEST AT UP TO 30% – rather than getting irrationally over-hungry and grabbing something that takes little energy to metabolise AND is easily stored as fat.
2) Exorcise fake, processed, nutrition-less food from your home and work.
example: Fake and processed = pretty much anywhere there is an ingredient listed that you don’t knOw. Especially in all those ‘diet’ and ‘low fat’ options that are promoted as being the ‘healthy choice’.
Why? Aside from the aforementioned LOW THERMIC EFFECT and Zero Nutritional Value that leaves your mind screaming at your stomach to eat more (read cravings and hunger) after it’s left unsatisfied by food that’s been assembly line injected with man made chemicals and preservatives.
Beyond that nastiness, a couple of these additives interfere with the hormone leptin which is responsible for sending a signal from your stomach to your brain to tell you you’re full. Ever know that you should be full but keep eating and eating anyway? Further fake food additives boost fat-storing hormone insulin levels while cunningly simultaneously blocking fat-burning hormone glucagon. Not cool for flab cutting!
It is no co-incident that ALL of the people you see sporting a chiseled middle consume clean, natural, unprocessed food – especially One Ingredient Wonder Foods like vegetables, nuts, seeds and fruit – the stuff that our hunter gatherer predecessors would recognise. Rather than the crap-o-la that’s bad already but could probably have been stored since prehistoric times without ‘going off’!
3) When exercising your bicep via a repetitive curl of glass to mouth make the low carb choice and only consume low fat, high protein food.
example: Pure Blonde over full carb beer / vodka soda or mineral with fresh lime over lemonade and any syrupy mixers or juicy/creamy cocktails. Veggies and protein instead of wedges or pasta.
Why? As you may know by now – my approach to health is about Lifestyle not silver bullet and it’s important to pick your treats and incorporate them into a sustainable routine.
If you choose to include alcohol then there’s a way to do it without sacrificing your results. As alcohol is a toxin your body will look to metabolize it as a priority over anything else you’re consuming – SO THIS IS ABOUT THE WORST TIME TO CONSUME CARBS & FAT – as it is prime time for them to get converted to fat rather than used as energy.
It’s also important to consider the high’ish calorie count of alcohol – at 7 calories per gram… it does have a significant Thermic Effect too at around 20%, however given how easy it can be to consume it there is definitely no need for added ‘nutrition-less’ calories in the form of mixers.
4) In your weights routine choose unsupported big compound movements which involve multiple joints and multiple muscles and require strong support from your deeper abdominal muscles during the entire movement.
example: Lunges, Squats, Deedlifts are the lower bod hard hitters…. even for the smaller muscle group exercises (if fat loss is your primary goal) you’ll get more bang for your buck by choosing a standing Dumbbell shoulder press or good old push up over you’re overly supported, range-of-motion guided machine versions.
Why? The harder your body has to work during your work-out the more calories you’re going to burn, both during the session – AND ALSO AFTER THE SESSION.
Training at a High Intensity, be it via the weight, the type of movement or the lack of rest is going to have the greatest value by way of EPOC (Excess Post exercise Oxygen Consumption)… that’s the after burn where you continue to burn calories after you stop training. For UP TO 36 HOURS!
5) Make adequate sleep (6.5 – 9 hours) and de-stressing an integral part of your exercise regime.
As without both the stress hormone cortisol can get out of whack and it’s main job is to rob your belly of it’s flat desires and reinstall those unsightly tires.
Why? Cortisol is a fat storing hormone, specifically it’s game is to direct fat straight to your abdominal area for storage.
Cortisol can become a problem when your mind is out of balance as a result of mental, physical and emotional stress such as when you’re not getting enough sleep, over-training or you’re burning the candle both ends with work and home commitments. Since stress is an inescapable component of life, the key is to actively plan and choose your positive stress eroding strategies and to employ these tactics at the first hint of stress showing up.
So there you have it – to ‘bulk up’ your belly (read: build muscle hidden UNDER a stubborn layer of fat) – some heavy ‘weighted’ sit-ups will fill that ‘roll’ well. The Flat Belly belongs to the clean eater with an overall lower body fat% which is achieved by (AGAIN!) clean eating and exercise BOTH in the form of consistent cardio (that you know – so no need to rehash) and also some solid weights worship!