How to lose belly fat!

Belly fat is generally a more dangerous fat than elsewhere in the body because, firstly it is more mobile and more likely to deposit in arteries, increasing the risk of heart disease and small blood vessel damage.  Secondly, it is also a strong indication that there is an increased fat surrounding our vital organs, such as the liver, abdominal organs and kidneys.

Although we can selectively lose fat around our belly by doing crunches or more core work, there are steps you can take to lose body fat overall, and here are my top three tips:

  1. Reduce your portion size – although we may eat healthy meals, large meals may still contain more energy than we require for our body to function, especially if you frequently eat out.  A rough guide for weight loss is that meals should be about 1500 kilojoules and snacks around 500 kilojoules.  You can work this out by entering what at you eat in an app called Australian Calorie Counter, and find out exactly how much you are eating.
  2. Doing strength based training – this helps to build muscle mass, which not only gives you a more shapely figure, but directly works to burn more kilojoules with normal activities than when you have a low muscle mass. Cardio is NOT enough, and strength training should be the foundation of any exercise program.
  3. Watch the small, unhealthy snacks – snacks are important to even out your blood sugar levels throughout the day, however, fat snacks, such as chocolate, those 2-3 biscuits or 2 lattes throughout the day are surprisingly high in kilojoules and are hard to burn off in your everyday activities.  Cutting down on these types of snacks may seem small, but can go a long way in losing your belly fat.

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Resistance Training for Fat Loss

Resistance Training for Fat Loss

Resistance Training for Fat Loss

How Does Strength Training Help Me Lose Fat?

Your daily energy expenditure is largely determined by what is called your Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR) which means the amount of energy you expend at rest to keep your body functioning. RMR is largely determined by the amount of lean muscle mass you have, the more you have the greater your RMR is. Regular resistance training can increase your lean muscle mass, therefore increasing your RMR, increasing your daily energy expenditure.

What Sort Of Resistance Training Should I Perform?

Strength training using large muscle groups involving multiple joint movements is best for increasing energy expenditure and increasing lean muscle mass. Examples of such exercises you can perform in the gym include squats, bench press, lunges and lat pull-down.

But Won’t Strength Training Make Me Look Like Arnie?

This is a common concern of many people who just want to use strength training to lose fat, rather than get big and bulky. The simple answer is no. Moderate intensity resistance training using large muscle groups 2-3 times per week is not enough to make you into the incredible hulk. It will increase your lean muscle mass, but this will just give the appearance of slightly more toned muscles with a decrease in overall body fat.

Written By Jack Hickey
Exercise Physiologist at MD Health Pilates

Resistance Training For Fat Loss