Stubborn belly fat, thigh fat and love handles can often be very difficult areas of fat to get rid of if you make the choice to change your body.
But how can you do it?
What are the Benefits of Having Less Body Fat?
Having less body fat can bring about several benefits to both physical health and overall well-being. Here are some of the advantages of maintaining a lower body fat percentage:
- Improved cardiovascular health: Excess body fat, especially around the abdomen, is associated with an increased risk of heart disease and other cardiovascular conditions. By reducing body fat, you can lower your blood pressure, improve cholesterol levels, and enhance overall cardiovascular function.
- Reduced risk of chronic diseases: Lower body fat is linked to a decreased risk of developing chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes, certain types of cancer, and metabolic syndrome.
- Enhanced physical performance: Carrying excess body fat can hinder athletic performance and physical activities. By reducing body fat, you can experience improved endurance, agility, and strength, leading to enhanced performance in sports and other physical activities.
- Increased energy levels: Excessive body fat can lead to feelings of fatigue and low energy levels. When you have less body fat, your body can function more efficiently, leading to increased energy and vitality.
- Improved joint health: Excess body fat puts additional strain on your joints, potentially leading to joint pain, discomfort, and an increased risk of conditions like osteoarthritis. Maintaining a lower body fat percentage can alleviate stress on your joints and improve overall joint health.
- Better hormonal balance: Adipose tissue (fat cells) produces certain hormones, and excessive body fat can disrupt hormonal balance. By reducing body fat, you can improve hormone regulation, which can positively impact various bodily functions, including metabolism, mood, and reproductive health.
- Enhanced body composition and aesthetics: Reducing body fat can help you achieve a leaner and more defined physique. It can increase muscle visibility, leading to a more aesthetically pleasing appearance and improved body composition.
- Improved mental well-being: Lower body fat levels can positively affect mental health by promoting higher self-esteem and body image. It can also reduce the risk of depression and anxiety, as regular exercise and a healthy diet associated with fat loss are known to have positive effects on mental well-being.
- Lowered strain on internal organs: Excessive body fat can place strain on your internal organs, potentially leading to complications and reduced organ function. By reducing body fat, you can alleviate this strain and improve organ health.
- Long-term health benefits: Maintaining a healthy body fat percentage is crucial for long-term health and longevity. By minimizing excess body fat, you can reduce the risk of numerous health conditions, enhance overall well-being, and increase your lifespan.
Remember that body fat percentage is just one aspect of overall health, and it’s important to focus on holistic well-being by incorporating a balanced diet, regular physical activity, and a healthy lifestyle.
5 Steps to Losing Stubborn Belly Fat
You can read about the different steps in the text below, or learn about them in even greater detail by watching Max Posternak’s excellent video.
A calorie deficit refers to a state in which you consume fewer calories than your body needs to maintain its current weight. It is an essential concept in weight loss and body recomposition.
To understand calorie deficit, it’s important to know that calories are units of energy derived from food and beverages. Your body requires a certain amount of energy (calories) to perform its basic functions like breathing, digesting food, and regulating body temperature. This energy expenditure is known as your total daily energy expenditure (TDEE).
When you consume fewer calories than your TDEE, your body will need to find alternative sources of energy to make up for the deficit. It will begin to tap into stored body fat to meet its energy needs, leading to weight loss.
Creating a calorie deficit can be achieved through a combination of dietary changes and increased physical activity. Here’s how it works:
- Caloric intake: You reduce the number of calories you consume each day through your diet. This can be accomplished by portion control, choosing nutrient-dense foods, and reducing high-calorie and processed foods.
- Physical activity: Increasing your physical activity level helps increase your total energy expenditure. This can include activities such as cardio exercises, strength training, or simply incorporating more movement into your daily routine.
By consistently maintaining a calorie deficit over time, your body will gradually burn stored body fat, resulting in weight loss. It’s important to note that a moderate and sustainable calorie deficit is generally recommended, as excessively low-calorie diets can have negative effects on your health and metabolism.
Calculating your TDEE and determining an appropriate calorie deficit can be done by consulting with a healthcare professional or a registered dietitian who can provide personalized guidance based on your specific needs and goals.
Remember, creating a calorie deficit is just one aspect of a healthy weight loss or body recomposition journey. It’s also important to focus on consuming a balanced diet, getting adequate nutrients, and engaging in regular exercise for overall well-being.
Tracking calories can be an effective tool for fat loss for several reasons:
Awareness and accountability: Keeping track of your calorie intake provides you with a clear understanding of the energy you consume. It helps you become more aware of your eating habits, portion sizes, and the nutritional content of the foods you consume. This awareness can promote accountability and help you make more informed choices about your dietary habits.
Creating a calorie deficit: As mentioned earlier, fat loss occurs when you consistently maintain a calorie deficit, meaning you consume fewer calories than your body needs. By tracking calories, you can ensure that you’re consistently maintaining the desired calorie deficit to support fat loss.
Precision and consistency: Tracking calories allows you to have better control over your nutrition by providing precise information about the number of calories you’re consuming. This precision helps you maintain consistency in your dietary habits, making it easier to reach your fat loss goals.
Identifying patterns and problem areas: Calorie tracking can help you identify patterns in your eating habits, such as specific times of the day or certain foods that contribute to excess calorie intake. This awareness allows you to address these problem areas and make necessary adjustments to your diet.
Personalization: Everyone’s caloric needs vary based on factors like age, sex, weight, height, and activity level. By tracking calories, you can personalize your approach to fat loss by adjusting your calorie intake based on your specific needs and goals.
Education and learning: Calorie tracking provides an opportunity to learn about the nutritional content of different foods and their impact on your energy balance. It helps you understand the energy density of foods and make more informed choices when it comes to selecting nutritious and satiating options.
Flexibility and optimization: Tracking calories doesn’t mean you need to restrict or eliminate certain foods entirely. Instead, it allows for flexibility within your diet while still maintaining a calorie deficit. It helps you optimize your food choices and find a balance that suits your preferences and lifestyle.
While tracking calories can be beneficial for fat loss, it’s important to approach it in a balanced and sustainable manner. It’s recommended to consult with a registered dietitian or healthcare professional who can guide you through the process and help you develop a personalized and healthy approach to reaching your fat loss goals.
Calorie cycling, also known as calorie shifting, is a dietary approach where you alternate between different calorie intake levels on different days or within a specific time period. It involves intentionally varying your calorie intake rather than consuming the same number of calories every day. Here’s an overview of how calorie cycling works:
Calorie variation: Instead of consistently eating at a fixed calorie level, calorie cycling involves cycling between periods of higher calorie intake and lower calorie intake. This can be done on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis, depending on your preference and goals.
High-calorie days: On high-calorie days, you consume a surplus of calories above your estimated maintenance level. These days are typically associated with higher carbohydrate intake and can provide more energy for intense workouts or physical activities.
Low-calorie days: On low-calorie days, you consume a deficit of calories below your estimated maintenance level. These days often involve reduced carbohydrate intake and can promote fat loss by creating a calorie deficit.
The idea behind calorie cycling is to strategically manipulate your calorie intake to optimize metabolism and fat loss. By alternating between higher and lower calorie days, it is believed to prevent the body from adapting to a prolonged calorie deficit, which can slow down metabolism and potentially hinder weight loss progress.
Some potential benefits of calorie cycling include:
Metabolic adaptation prevention: Regularly changing your calorie intake may help prevent metabolic adaptation, where your metabolism slows down in response to prolonged calorie restriction. Calorie cycling aims to keep your metabolism more responsive by occasionally increasing calorie intake.
Improved adherence: Calorie cycling can offer variety and flexibility to your diet, which may make it more enjoyable and sustainable compared to strict calorie restriction every day.
Energy and performance: High-calorie days can provide additional energy for intense workouts or physically demanding activities, potentially improving performance and recovery.
It’s important to note that while some individuals may find success with calorie cycling, the scientific evidence supporting its effectiveness for fat loss is limited. The key to any successful weight loss approach is maintaining a consistent calorie deficit over time. Calorie cycling can be one approach to achieve this, but individual results may vary.
If you’re considering calorie cycling or any specific dietary approach, it’s advisable to consult with a registered dietitian or healthcare professional who can provide personalized guidance based on your specific needs, goals, and overall health.
NEAT (Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis)
NEAT stands for Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis. It refers to the energy expended by your body through everyday activities that are not deliberate exercise or structured workouts. NEAT includes activities such as walking, standing, fidgeting, household chores, gardening, and other spontaneous movements.
NEAT plays a role in the total number of calories you burn each day and can have a significant impact on your overall energy balance and potential weight loss or weight gain. Here’s how NEAT influences calorie expenditure:
Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR): Your BMR represents the energy your body needs to perform basic functions such as breathing, maintaining body temperature, and supporting organ function. It accounts for the largest portion of your daily calorie expenditure.
Physical Activity: This includes intentional exercise or structured workouts, such as going to the gym, running, or cycling. While important for overall health and fitness, the calorie expenditure from structured exercise is typically smaller compared to NEAT.
NEAT: NEAT encompasses the energy expended during all non-exercise activities throughout the day. These activities are often subconscious and can vary greatly from person to person. Factors such as occupation, lifestyle, and daily habits influence the level of NEAT.
Increasing NEAT can contribute to a higher total daily energy expenditure (TDEE), which can aid in weight management and fat loss. Here are some strategies to increase NEAT:
Incorporate more movement: Find opportunities to be more active throughout the day, such as taking the stairs instead of the elevator, walking or biking to work, or taking regular breaks from sitting to stretch and move around.
Stand instead of sit: If possible, use a standing desk or take standing breaks throughout the day instead of sitting for prolonged periods.
Stay active during leisure time: Engage in activities that require physical movement during your leisure time, such as walking, hiking, gardening, or playing recreational sports.
Reduce sedentary behavior: Minimize long periods of inactivity, such as excessive TV watching or prolonged sitting. Incorporate more movement into your daily routine, even if it’s just small activities like stretching, pacing, or doing household chores.
Fidgeting and small movements: While it may seem insignificant, small movements like tapping your foot, fidgeting, or changing positions frequently can contribute to increased NEAT and calorie expenditure over time.
By consciously increasing NEAT, you can boost your daily calorie expenditure and potentially create a calorie deficit, which can support weight loss or weight maintenance goals.
It’s important to note that while NEAT can contribute to overall calorie expenditure, it’s not a substitute for intentional exercise or structured workouts, which offer numerous health benefits. A combination of NEAT, structured exercise, and a balanced diet is key for overall health and sustainable weight management.
Lifting weights, also known as resistance training or strength training, can be highly beneficial for fat loss. Here are some reasons why lifting weights can support fat loss:
Increased muscle mass: Resistance training promotes muscle growth and development. Having a higher proportion of lean muscle mass contributes to an increased metabolic rate, meaning your body burns more calories at rest. Muscle tissue is metabolically active, requiring energy even when you’re not exercising. As a result, having more muscle mass can help increase your overall calorie expenditure, supporting fat loss.
EPOC effect: Resistance training leads to an Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption (EPOC) effect. After a weightlifting session, your body requires additional oxygen to recover and restore its energy reserves. This process increases your calorie expenditure even after you’ve finished exercising. The EPOC effect can contribute to a greater overall calorie burn throughout the day, assisting in fat loss.
Fat oxidation: Lifting weights can enhance your body’s ability to utilize stored fat as a fuel source. Resistance training stimulates various metabolic pathways, leading to an increase in fat oxidation (the breakdown and utilization of fat for energy). This can potentially accelerate fat loss and improve body composition.
Body composition changes: Lifting weights helps reshape your body by improving muscle tone and definition. As you lose fat and gain muscle, your body composition changes, even if your weight remains relatively stable. This can result in a leaner and more sculpted appearance, enhancing your overall physique.
Increased metabolic rate: Resistance training can temporarily increase your metabolic rate post-workout. This is due to the energy required for muscle repair, protein synthesis, and replenishment of glycogen stores. Although the increase may be modest, it can contribute to a slightly higher calorie burn throughout the day.
Improved insulin sensitivity: Resistance training has been shown to enhance insulin sensitivity. This means that your body becomes more efficient at utilizing carbohydrates and regulating blood sugar levels. Improved insulin sensitivity can support fat loss by promoting better nutrient partitioning and reducing the likelihood of excess calories being stored as fat.
Overall health benefits: Lifting weights offers numerous health benefits beyond fat loss. It can enhance bone density, joint stability, functional strength, and overall physical performance. Additionally, resistance training has been associated with improved cardiovascular health, reduced risk of chronic diseases, and better psychological well-being.
To maximize the fat loss benefits of weightlifting, it’s important to combine it with a well-rounded approach that includes a balanced diet, regular cardiovascular exercise, and an overall healthy lifestyle. Consulting with a fitness professional or certified trainer can help create an effective and personalized resistance training program to support your fat loss goals.
Why Does Fat Loss Take a Long Time to Achieve?
Fat loss can take a relatively long time to achieve due to several factors:
Caloric deficit and energy balance: To lose fat, you need to create a sustained caloric deficit, which means consuming fewer calories than your body needs. However, fat loss is a gradual process, and it’s important to maintain a moderate and sustainable calorie deficit to ensure a healthy rate of weight loss. Drastic or rapid weight loss can have negative impacts on your health and may lead to muscle loss or other complications.
Individual differences: The rate at which individuals lose fat can vary significantly based on factors such as genetics, age, sex, hormonal balance, and metabolism. Some individuals may naturally lose weight more quickly than others due to these individual differences.
Body composition changes: While fat loss is the ultimate goal, it’s important to remember that changes in body composition, including increases in muscle mass, can also occur during the weight loss process. Gaining muscle or maintaining existing muscle while losing fat can take time, as building muscle requires consistent resistance training and adequate protein intake.
Plateaus and fluctuations: During a fat loss journey, it is common to experience plateaus or periods where weight loss slows down or seems to stall. This can be due to various factors, such as metabolic adaptations, changes in water retention, or fluctuations in hormonal levels. Plateaus are normal, and with patience and persistence, progress can resume.
Sustainable and healthy approach: Achieving lasting fat loss requires adopting sustainable lifestyle changes rather than resorting to extreme or short-term measures. Gradual weight loss through a balanced diet, regular exercise, and behaviour modifications is more likely to result in long-term success and weight maintenance.
Psychological factors: Changing habits and behaviours surrounding food and exercise can be challenging. Emotional eating, stress, and other psychological factors can influence eating patterns and adherence to a weight loss plan. Addressing and managing these factors is crucial for long-term success.
It’s important to approach fat loss with realistic expectations and focus on overall health and well-being rather than solely on the number on the scale. Sustainable fat loss takes time, and it’s a journey that requires consistency, patience, and a balanced approach. Consulting with a registered dietitian or healthcare professional can provide personalized guidance and support throughout the process.
What are the Advantages of Strong Core and Abs Muscles?
Having strong core and abdominal muscles offers several advantages:
Improved posture and stability: A strong core helps support and stabilize your spine, which in turn improves posture. Good posture not only contributes to a more confident and taller appearance but also reduces the risk of developing musculoskeletal imbalances and related issues like back pain.
Enhanced athletic performance: A strong core is essential for optimal performance in various sports and physical activities. It provides a solid foundation for movements, improves balance, and allows for better transfer of force between the upper and lower body. Whether you’re running, jumping, lifting weights, or participating in sports like tennis or golf, a strong core helps generate power and improve overall performance.
Injury prevention: A strong core can help prevent injuries, particularly in the lower back and pelvis region. It provides stability and protection for your spine during movements and activities that involve twisting, bending, or sudden changes in direction. By supporting proper alignment and reducing stress on the spine, a strong core can minimize the risk of strain or injury.
Improved functional movements: Core strength is crucial for everyday functional movements such as bending, lifting, reaching, and twisting. A strong core enhances your ability to perform these movements with stability and control, making daily tasks more efficient and reducing the risk of strain or injury.
Enhanced balance and coordination: Core muscles play a significant role in maintaining balance and coordination. By strengthening your core, you improve your ability to maintain stability and control in various positions and movements. This can be particularly beneficial for older adults in reducing the risk of falls and improving overall mobility.
Visual aesthetic and confidence: Strong and well-defined abdominal muscles can contribute to a visually appealing midsection. While aesthetics should not be the sole focus, feeling confident and satisfied with your body can positively impact self-esteem and body image.
It’s important to note that developing a strong core requires a comprehensive approach that includes a variety of exercises targeting different muscle groups, such as the abdominals, obliques, back, and pelvic floor.
Exercises like planks, bridges, Russian twists, and bird dogs can be effective for strengthening the core. However, it’s advisable to consult with a fitness professional or certified trainer to design a core-strengthening program tailored to your specific needs and fitness level.