Have you ever wondered how people lose weight as if someone’s stealing it from them?
You’re not alone.
We all dream of becoming fit and have our friends go crazy over our transformation.
For most of us, that’s just a dream. And the worst part?
That nasty protruding belly that spoils all those dresses. I’ve faced it too.
Belly fat is a curse- it ruins physical appearances and makes you look unnaturally fat.
Today, I’ll show a way to lose your belly fat and get you the physique you deserve. It’s the exact routine I followed to lose my own belly fat.
Let’s get straight to it.
Before you start your exercises and diet plans, it’s better it analyzes your current state.
Your current body fat percentage will help you set your weight loss goals.
Fat percentage is the percentage of your bodyweight that is fat. Body fat includes essential body fat and storage body fat. Essential body fat is necessary to maintain life and reproductive functions.
The storage body fat is the fat reserve in the body that we don’t actually need.
Here’s the deal:
Women carry additional body fat. Due to the weight of the breasts, thighs, hips, and butt. These add up to the generally higher body fat ranges.
So if you’re a woman, you needn’t panic if you find your body fat percentage to be on the higher side.
It’s absolutely normal.
It’s tough to calculate body fat percentage at your home. You can compare your body structure with the above pic and try to calculate the approximate body fat percentage.
But, you’ll end up with an inaccurate number. The best way is to get a professional body composition analysis.
We offer a free weight loss quiz which will help you estimate the time you’ll need to reach your ideal body type.
Once you find your body fat percentage, you can set your weight loss goals. It’s always good to set goals before starting your weight loss journey.
I know this article is titled belly fat loss. But, it’s not actually possible to reduce fat in the belly without focusing on losing those fat reserves.
Spot reduction is not the best way to go.
Here’s a snip from Wikipedia:
Several studies show that it is not possible to reduce fat in one area by exercising that body part alone.
You need a holistic approach.
You can only gain muscle by exercising in a specific region.
Say you are working out your abdominal area.
It doesn’t mean that it’ll reduce your abdominal fat, it only increases your abdominal muscles mass. Muscle growth in the abdominal region does not reduce fat in that region alone.
There is a way to lose fat, but it’s not exercising.
Neither does all these myths:
- Eating “clean.”
- Eating fewer carbs.
- Eating less fat.
- Eating less junk food.
- Eating less sugar
- Not eating after 6 pm
These things will definitely help you with your fat loss and achieving your weight loss goals. But doing these alone will not result in fat loss.
You need to make sure one thing is always done in order to lose fat.
The only way you can lose fat is by having a caloric deficit.
A caloric deficit is a metabolic state in which we burn more calories than we consume.
Every one among us has a unique maintenance calorie limit. It’s the number of calories we need in order to maintain our current weight.
If we eat less than our maintenance calorie, then we are in a caloric deficit, and we lose weight.
If we eat more than our maintenance calorie, then we are in a caloric surplus, and we gain weight.
My friend Ankit has maintenance of 2000 calories.
Say he increases his intake to 2500 calories- he is then in a caloric surplus, and he will start to gain weight.
If he decreases his intake to 1500 calories, he’s in a caloric deficit, and he will start to lose weight.
This is true irrespective of what he eats (carbs, fats, proteins, healthy, unhealthy, processed, unprocessed) or when he eats ( after 6 pm, 5 meals a day, every 3 hours).
This is the science behind fat loss.
We just created a caloric deficit by reducing our intake. The same deficit can also be created by exercise.
For instance, Ankit could have eaten the same maintenance calories and burned the 500 calorie deficit through exercise.
Both of these scenarios cause the same fat loss.
One Kg of fat is an approximate 7700 calories. Ankit will need 15 days (7700/500(deficit)) to burn 1 Kg of fat at a deficit of 500 calories per day.
It’s always best to have a mix of scenarios 1 and 2 (Diet and Exercise).
For example, to have a deficit of 500 calories, a 300 caloric deficit by diet and burning 200 calories with exercise is an easier alternative.
No matter which way you do it, there has to be a caloric deficit to lose fat.
I’ve explained how to calculate your maintenance calories and help you to create your own caloric deficit Indian meal plan before.
Make sure you read that blog post and come up with your own meal plan.
Now that you have your own meal plan:
You can argue,
“I’ve seen other diets work and they didn’t mention having a deficit”.
There are several diets such as paleo, vegan, low carb etc that have various eating methods and sciences behind them.
There are people who lose high amounts of belly fat on these diets. And they don’t talk anything about being in a caloric deficit, but they work anyway.
So they don’t require us to be in a caloric deficit to lose weight and belly fat, right?
These diets and eating methods help you indirectly to create a caloric deficit.
The basic rule of fat loss always stays, we should burn more calories than we consume.
Did you notice my choice of words?
It’s always fat loss and not weight loss.
Aren’t they the same?
Not at all.
Weight loss = (Muscle + Fat) loss
Fat loss is just fat loss, which is definitely good.
The goal of successful weight loss is to preserve as much muscle as possible. Your bf % (body fat percentage) is a key indicator of your progress, not your scale. (think of how bodybuilders always show how fit they are by mentioning their body fat percentage and not their weight).
Sometimes you may lose fat and gain even muscle, which is a good thing. But your scale will show an increase in weight, but the truth is your bf % has decreased significantly while you lost several inches.
This is why it’s better to stay off your scale.
When you start to go on a deficit, it is recommended that you track your progress using methods other than weight scales. You need tools that can measure the progress of your fat loss, not weight loss.
Body fat calipers, body measurements using tape, pictures, cloth sizes are all going to be way more useful for you.
At YoursTruly, we like offer a weekly body composition analysis and change your diet and exercise plans depending on your progress.
People tend to eat too little while dieting thereby consuming very low nutrients resulting in muscle loss. This can ruin your fat loss journey.
To prevent this, make sure you have enough food and nutrients as your body requires. Eat a lot of protein and carbohydrates and don’t skip on muscle building exercises.
It’s always better to combine diet with exercises.
Talking of exercises, a good mix of resistance training and cardio will work wonders for you.
A little muscle science
Muscle plays a significant role in burning fat. They have mitochondria which are responsible for the production of energy.
And because of this, they play a very important role in fatty acid oxidation (fat loss).
Fat loss occurs when fatty acids are mobilized from fat stores and sent to mitochondria to be oxidized so that they can be used for energy.
There is a direct correlation between the number of mitochondria and the amount of muscle you have. The more mitochondria (or muscle) you have the more potential you have to burn fat.
Let me drive that home:
The more muscle you have, the more potential you have to burn fat
This is why every fitness expert recommends resistance training combined with cardio.
You would have also noticed gyms having a mix of weight training and cardio in every workout.
Full body workouts are great for beginners and are done three days a week. The biggest advantage of a full body workout is its metabolic benefits and that it burns more calories than a split workout.
Studies show that rates of muscle protein synthesis are raised for the next 36 hours. Which leads to muscle growth and increased strength.
When you do splits you workout your whole body only once a week whereas you can do it thrice with a full body workout. Thereby increasing the synthesis 3 times a week.
Combine this full body workout with some cardio.
Not just some old school cardio. According to research conducted on 43 participants Interval training appears to be the predominant strategy for controlling obesity because of its time efficiency.Intense training in shorter bursts more calories and fats. A.K.A Interval Training.
If you’re a beginner and out of shape it’s recommended to stick with conventional steady-state cardio.
But if you’re an intermediate trying to burn those stubborn love handles, Interval training is the right choice for you.
With interval training, you have a greater increase in growth hormone and adrenaline. Both of these help in burning fat and suppressing your appetite.
Not only is interval training less time to consume, but it’s also more effective than normal workouts.
So, let’s sum up:
- First, calculate your maintenance calorie limits. You need to have a caloric deficit to lose belly fat.
- Start with full body workouts at the gym (weight training) 3 times a week.
- For the cardio workout element, try interval training. It’s more effective.
Now that we have the basics covered, let’s talk about some of the most common reasons why fat accumulates near the belly, and how you can overcome it.
Here are Tips to Avoid the Most Common Factors That Lead to Belly Fat.
Step 1: Control portion size.
This is the #1 reason for pot bellies. It is imperative to keep a check on the quantity of food that we eat. Consuming too much food will make you go on a caloric surplus.
Try having your meals in smaller plates, it causes us to eat fewer thanks to an optical illusion known as the Delboeuf Illusion.
If you put a small piece of food on a large plate, your mind will tell you that you are eating a small portion and you will add food on the plate. However, if you put that same food on a smaller plate, your mind will tell you that you are eating a large portion and you’ll stop adding food.
Nifty, huh 🙂
Step 2: Drink a lot of water
Water is one of the main things that our body runs on. Almost every bodily function is based on the water content in our body.
The human body consists of 75% of water. Consuming at least 1.5 liters of water is necessary for an average adult.
Drinking water can reduce your appetite. Studies indicate that drinking water also increases your resting energy expenditure.
Water keeps you hydrated and makes sure that there is enough water for the rest of the bodily functions. Over the years, we’ve noticed that most customers who don’t drink enough water have high body toxicity, and in effect, health issues.
Step 3: Have a proper sleep pattern.
This one shouldn’t be very hard. It’s not for me. I love my sleep.
But did you know that sleep deprivation – the one thing that we all make memes on – is a horrible thing for our body?
Okay, so not being able to get the sufficient hours of sleep (8 hours for most of us), the following things are seen to decline:
Mental health, appetite, physical health, memory and focus, and learning ability.
Not getting enough sleep at night is also said to increase your appetite and make you gain weight.
And do you know where we’ve seen this trend the most?
Well paid professionals, and management consultants who travel a lot. They have poor sleep habits, and this results in weight loss.
Stats point out that almost every single pot bellied person you come across will have a sleep problem.
Studies also indicate that you lose more fat when you have enough sleep. The fat loss reduces when you are deprived Having a proper schedule in place is a great way to start off your healthy lifestyle routine and truly take care of yourself.
Step 4: Reduce stress levels.
It is imperative to reduce your stress levels as it can completely ruin your healthy lifestyle plans.
That is because when you are under high levels of stress, the body releases cortisol (a stress hormone), which tends to trigger “stress eating” and increases the blood pressure levels in the body.
Stress eating contributes to excess calories and if done often, puts you in a caloric surplus without you knowing it.
To sum up, losing belly fat is not just about those Orbi-trek ads and pull bar ads you come across every day.
They will work. But only if you follow the basics. Have a caloric deficit. And focus on losing more fat and gaining more muscle mass with resistance training and cardio.
Got any questions’ regarding how to reduce belly fat? Let’s chat in the comments below!