The belly is considered problem zone number one. With the right mix of sports and nutrition, a flat middle does not have to remain a pipe dream. We show you the most important steps toward your goal.
A flat, well-toned stomach is the ultimate for many people.
No wonder, since the six-pack is often celebrated in social media as an ideal of beauty. A lifebelt, on the other hand, is generally considered unaesthetic.
But much more serious than the supposed visual flaw are the health risks of “evil” belly fat.
Why is belly fat unhealthy?
In earlier times, belly fat was essential for human survival during periods of food shortage. Unlike fat reserves on the buttocks or thighs, so-called visceral abdominal fat, i.e. lower abdominal fat, can be converted by the body directly into sugar and thus into energy.
Today, however, this protective mechanism is superfluous, especially in Western industrial societies. Nevertheless, abdominal fat has remained with man.
The dangerous thing about it is that visceral fat is very metabolically active. It contains around 200 messenger substances and inflammatory molecules that have mainly negative effects on the body.
The dangerous abdominal fat attaches itself to organs such as the liver and pancreas, thus increasing abdominal girth. Consequences of years of increased abdominal fat can be diseases such as:
- High blood pressure
- Arteriosclerosis (calcification of arteries and vessels)
- Fatty liver
- Inflammation of organs
According to the German Federal Center for Nutrition, a waist circumference of over 80 centimeters for women and over 94 centimeters for men is considered unhealthy. It becomes dangerous from 88 and 102 centimeters respectively. This corresponds to a fat percentage on the abdomen of about 30 to 35 percent.
A healthy abdominal circumference can be said to be between 19 and 25 percent for women – or 29 percent with increasing age – and between 13 and 25 percent for men.
How can I lose belly fat?
The most important information first: Exercise can help you to lower your body fat percentage, but it is not possible to lose weight specifically at certain body parts by training.
A six-pack will therefore not be visible through daily abdominal training, but rather through a combination of full-body training and the right diet.
To reduce your body fat and thus also lose weight on your stomach, you should focus on strength training and short, intense interval training (HIIT).
Why. Through full-body strength training alone, you increase muscle mass, which lets you burn calories even when you’re at rest, such as sitting or standing. Every extra kilo of muscle increases your daily basal metabolic rate by about 100 kcal.
So when training, concentrate on challenging larger muscle groups at the same time. These full-body exercises are ideal for this:
- Trains: Buttocks, thighs, abdomen, lower back
- Difficulty: difficult
- Note: knees and toes rotate slightly outward, and the upper body remains upright, beginners work with heel elevation
- Trains: Buttocks, thighs, abdomen, back, coordination.
- Difficulty: medium to difficult (with weight)
- Note: Front knee rotates slightly outward, upper body upright, the abdomen is firm
- Trains: the entire back of legs & buttocks, hip extensors, abdomen
- Difficulty: difficult
- Note: heels into the floor, back straight, lift pelvis powerfully, don’t lower butt, slowly back up
- Trains: Arms, shoulders, upper back, chest, abdomen.
- Difficulty: difficult
- Note: abdomen is firm, fix shoulder blades firmly and pull them down backward
- Trains: shoulders, arms, legs, buttocks, chest, straight & side abdominal muscles
- Difficulty: hard
- Note: Body like a plank, knees pull towards elbows alternately, gaze goes with it
The ideal workout mix consists of 30 to 45 minutes of strength training three to four days per week and one to two HIIT workouts or cardio sessions weekly.
Important: If possible, you should avoid too frequent and intense endurance or interval training, as this increases the production of the stress hormone cortisol. As a result, you will feel more hungry for sweets and fats will be stored, especially in the abdominal region.
In addition, the testosterone level decreases. The growth hormone favors muscle building and stimulates fat burning and is therefore important to lose weight in the abdomen.
How do I eat to lose weight on the stomach?
Whether it’s your stomach, legs, or buttocks – to lose weight you need to go into a calorie deficit. In other words, burn more calories than you consume.
If you exercise regularly and increase your basal metabolic rate by building muscle, you’re on the right track. But exercise is only half the battle. Nutrition is at least as important.
If you want to get to grips with belly fat, you should focus on a calorie-reduced diet and cut back on about 200 to 500 calories a day.
Tip: Calculate your basal metabolic rate in advance. It’s easy to keep track of calories throughout the day with a fitness tracker as well as a calorie app.
Macronutrients should be distributed as follows:
- 45% carbohydrates
- 30% fat
- 25% protein
Carbohydrates should not be completely avoided, because your muscles need the energy to grow. High-quality carbohydrates include millet, quinoa, sweet potatoes, and oatmeal. They are especially useful after a workout to replenish your empty glucose stores before your body draws energy from your muscles.
Healthy fats are found in foods such as avocado, linseed oil, olive oil, and nuts (almonds, walnuts). You should not demonize fats at all, because the body needs them to produce endogenous testosterone. A high testosterone and progesterone balance promotes fat loss and muscle mass building.
Also, reach for foods rich in protein. They not only help you reach your ideal weight faster and stay full longer but also regulate your metabolism, muscle building, and fat loss.
Good sources of vegetable protein include lentils, pumpkin seeds, kidney beans, soy flakes, and tofu.
To lose weight, you should stay away from alcohol, sugary drinks and sweets, light products and sweeteners, wheat products, convenience foods, and trans fats. These are often found in chips or other fried foods.