For many men, the days of a flat toned stomach may seem long gone. A combination of age, unhealthy diet, pandemic-related lockdowns and a busy working life can all conspire to make it all but impossible to achieve, let alone maintain the rock hard abs that many of us can only dream about.
Working out how to lose belly fat has more advantages than the aesthetic, however. As well as making your clothes feel tight, belly fat can out you at greater risk of serious medical conditions such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, sleep apnoea and high blood pressure. It can make working out harder and can be demotivating when you are tracking your health via the scales or how well your clothes fit. Generally speaking, a waist measurement of 40 inches or more for men (and 35 inches for women) denotes that you could have a problem and would be well advised to think about how to get rid of belly fat safely and effectively to help lead a fitter life.
The good news is that, once you have identified the problem and are ready to make changes to your lifestyle to decrease the inches around your middle, there are plenty of things you can do to reduce belly fat safely. Here are a few suggestions.
Watch what you eat for the fastest results when it comes to the best way to lose belly fat. Choose foods that are lower in saturated and trans fats and calories and focus on leaner meals that contain plenty of vegetables, pulses and whole grains. Cut down on the amount of fatty meat products you consume and check your portion sizes to make sure that you are not overloading your plate each time. Eat lots of soluble fibre to help you feel fuller and protein to help you retain muscle mass and increase your metabolic rate.
We all love a beer after work, or a glass of wine to unwind of an evening, but alcohol has been proven to be a major contributor to belly fat and central obesity (storing fat around your middle). Try cutting down how much you drink of a day and see what the results are for your stomach and other parts of the body. We tend to forget that alcohol contains many calories too, so pay closer attention to what you are drinking, how often and at what time of day.
Sugar can contribute hugely to belly fat as it contains sucrose, which is a leading factor of obesity, diabetes and other chronic health conditions when consumed in excess. So, cutting out sweetened tea or coffee and switching to water instead of fruit cordials or cola will soon make a real difference. Lower sugar intake can also help you maintain better dental hygiene and overall healthiness and energy levels. Have plenty of healthy snacks in the house such as raw vegetables and dips, nuts and breadsticks, to stave off hunger between meals and stop you reaching for yet another chocolate bar.
For most healthy, adult men, it is recommended that moderate aerobic activity such as brisk walking or jogging for at least two hours a week, or a more vigorous activity such as running or playing in a team sport for at least 75 minutes can be of huge benefit to health and lifestyle. It gets the heart pumping, increases stamina and helps to burn off excessive calories, which will help with losing lower belly fat. Other good examples of exercise for belly fat include aerobics, spin classes, swimming, cross fit and circuits. Aim to take it slowly but regularly for a steady weight loss and to help you build up your strength over time.
As counterproductive as it sounds, resistance, or weight training can help reduced belly fat as it helps the body to build up muscle to replace fatty deposits, tone the body and build stamina. Start with a professionally qualified instructor to make sure that you are lifting the right weights for your fitness level and health condition. Doing this in combination with a carefully planned aerobic exercise regime designed to help burn belly fat will reap the fastest, most effective results.
A combination of healthy eating and tailored exercises can help you tone up the abs so that your belly fat can start to disappear and your six-pack make its entrance instead. Cardio is your friend here, as is HIIT (high intensity interval training) that attacks the abs fast and make real inroads into any excess fat or untoned muscle. Stay hydrated, eat protein-rich foods and cut back on processed meals and refined carbs. Watch portion sizes too – some exercise gurus recommend eating six small meals a day, rather than three large ones. Always consult your doctor before making major changes to your diet, exercise regime or lifestyle.
Believe it or not, the way we handle anxiety and stress can also have a direct impact on our belly fat and overall weight. When we feel stressed, our adrenal glands produce cortisol as our body’s reaction to a perceived threat, and this stimulates our appetite and drives abdominal fat storage processes. Choose some enjoyable activities to help you wind down after a hard day at work or a stressful situation such as a family argument or exam. Calming activities such as yoga or meditation can really help keep stress down to benefit your body, mind and soul.
Sleep is when the body replenishes itself and it the perfect time to devote to losing belly fat. People who don’t get enough sleep tend to be more prone to putting on weight. This turns into a vicious circle of sorts, as being overweight can lead to a condition called sleep apnoea where the person’s breathing stops intermittently as they sleep, causing them to wake frequently in the night and therefore not have the time for their bodies to heal and rest. The average person should aim for a minimum of seven hours of sleep per night.
Once thing that can work for certain personality types is to start thinking like a person without any belly fat. Visualise how you want your body to look and research ways to achieve it. Hang out with friends who will encourage you to make healthier diet choices or join in fitness activities to help you achieve your goals, rather than those who will tempt you to stay in the same state. Follow inspirational social media sites and go online to find fashion brands that makes you look and feel great. Respect your body by giving it regular haircuts, good skincare and a healthy, robust hygiene routine from head to toe. If you feel better in yourself, you will start to believe that you can achieve more and lose the weight that has been troubling you for ages.
Belly fat surgery, or abdominoplasty is a commonly performed surgery that can remove fat quickly and help reshape the abs and lower stomach area. This is by no means a quick fix, as you will need to be in the right state of health before the operation and follow the medical advice you are given afterwards around after-care, diet and exercise to maintain your new figure. Another surgical option is liposuction, where excess fat is suctioned out of the belly to produce a flatter shape. Again, this procedure must be carefully considered before proceeding and all after-care instructions must be followed to the letter to ensure a full and safe recovery.