Ah, stubborn belly fat. We all feel like we have it, and we all have a really hard time getting rid of it.
Even though the idea of looking in the mirror and seeing six-pack abs is nice, a more noble reason to get rid of that excess tummy weight is the negative health effects that come with it.
Belly fat is often indicative of Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, insulin resistance, and even some types of cancer (Time). The kind of fat that causes us to see a stomach pooch is typically the kind that surrounds our organs – this kind of visceral fat is dangerous to our health!
The problem is that belly fat is notoriously hard to lose; though it’s not impossible.
Why You Aren’t Losing Belly Fat
There are several reasons why belly fat is so hard to lose, but here are the main offenders:
- Lack of muscle
A poor diet – one full of sugar and processed food – will slow down your metabolism and make it nearly impossible to shave off that sticky stomach weight. Refined grains and sugars increase inflammation, and belly fat is directly associated with inflammation.
Alcohol is another offender as it’s often full of extra calories. Your body also has to focus on burning alcohol before it can burn anything else in your body – like fat – which makes it hard to lose weight when you’re a heavy drinker.
Getting older is, unfortunately, another common reason you can’t kick off the belly fat. Your metabolism slows down, and for women, menopause encourages weight gain.
Finally, muscle burns fat, and if you don’t have much by way of muscles, you won’t get the extra boost you need to target abdominal fat (Prevention). A great place to start is with our recommended ab-targeting exercises.
5 Moves to Target Your Abs
To encourage your body to lose some of that extra belly fat, ab exercises can really help. These are often a combination of core strengthening movements with explosive motions that help boost your heart rate.
Burpees are one of the best exercises for targeting your gut. Several studies have found that burpees – as well as other high-intensity exercises – burn up to 50% more fat than other strength training workouts.
To do a burpee, start in a standing position. Put your palms on the floor and kick your legs back so that you’re in a pushup position. Do a pushup, and quickly reserve the movement to finish in a standing position.
This series of movements is considered 1 repetition. Did you know 10 burpees in a row are just as effective at speeding up your metabolism as a 30-second sprint?! That’s motivation enough to get over yourself and do the burpee. ????
2. Mountain Climbers
The mountain climber is a calorie-burning workout that really gets your heart rate going. It also targets your core, making it the perfect exercise to lose that stubborn belly fat and reveal your abs.
To do a mountain climber, get into a standard pushup position. Then, bring one knee up to your chest, and repeat with the other knee. You’re basically running in place as you stay in a pushup position.
Your core is working hard to keep its balance as you alternate knee kicks, which makes it such a powerful move for those abs!
3. Pike Planks
Targeting your abs is all about developing core stability, and that’s exactly what pike planks (also sometimes called plank pikes) do.
Pike planks also have you starting in a pushup position. Once you’re on the floor, arch your back to lift your behind up to the ceiling. Then, contract your ab muscles and lower back into a pushup position.
This ab scorching exercise helps tone your ab muscles while also encouraging spine stability.
4. Plank Hop
The basic plank has always been a go-to exercise to strengthen your core, but adding a few modifications to it can make it even more effective.
The plank hop requires you to start in a high plank position with your feet close together. Pull your abs in and jump your feet to the right while bringing your knees towards your right elbow. Your torso should twist to the right. Then, jump back into the starting position. Do the same movement on the left side. That’s 1 full repetition.
The plank hop is a great exercise to do at home as it requires no equipment or weights – all you need is your body!
5. Plank Jacks
Finally, plank jacks get your heart rate going while also targeting your ab muscles.
Start out in a plank position with your feet close together. Then, jump out so that your feet are parallel with your shoulders. To finish the movement, jump your feet back together. The movement should mirror jumping jacks but in a plank position.
Just like plank hops, you don’t need anything but your body to complete this exercise, so squeeze some in during the day to really target those abs!
Foods to Help You Slim Your Tummy
You may have heard the phrase “abs are made in the kitchen,” and to an extent, that is true. Your diet has a major impact on your ability to reveal abs and burn off those last few pounds of belly fat.
I recommend combining the power of exercise with a few smart food choices to target your abs from all angles.
The following foods are excellent for slimming down that gut:
- Lean meats
- Split peas
- Collard greens
- Chia seeds
- Hot peppers
- Whole grains
Many of these foods have been scientifically linked to blasting away belly fat, and all of them deliver extra benefits beyond weight loss. From increased energy levels to more focus throughout the day, you can’t go wrong by incorporating these healthy foods into your diet!
Getting Six-Pack Abs Is Hard Work!
I know what it takes to get your midsection flatter, stronger, and toned. I know it’s possible because I’ve done it after 3 pregnancies. And I know you can get there too.
If you want to start your fitness journey, whether it be to get stronger in your midsection or just to tone up, McClure Fitness workouts can get you there. I also have an entire recipe library with over 100 yummy meals that will have you feeling your best and eating well!????????????
While getting abs is hard work, rest assured that it is possible. You can do it!