Let’s talk about the big misconception of targeting belly fat.
The Big Misconception
I often get asked a similar question over and over by many people. The question being: “what exercises can I do to get rid of this lower belly fat?” or “Love handles” as many like to call it. I still get this question from my mother (she doesn’t refer them to love handles) even after explaining to her a thousand times. It’s a big misconception that certain exercises, abdominal crunches for one example can burn the fat around the belly. This is usually referred to as ‘targeting belly fat’ or ‘spot reduction. The only people to blame for this thought process are the money scheming health and fitness ‘gurus’ trying to sell you a 6 pack abs program for thousands of dollars. Don’t believe the hype!
The Harsh Reality
I’m sorry to break it to you, but it is not possible to target a certain area of fat on the body, let alone belly fat. You can do all the ab crunches, leg raises, sit-ups you like, but this may only result in a strong core and not necessarily burn fat. The body makes up its own mind when reducing fat, and I hate to break it to you, the lower back, lower belly area is usually the last place it will go.
What can I do?
Unfortunately, there is no quick fix to get those 6 pack abs you’ve always dreamt of. No magical pill to take, no certain exercise to do, no easy way. It pains me to say it, as I too wish this was the case. ‘Okay get to the point Matt, tell me what to do’.
So you will have to ensure you are in a calorie deficit. This means each day you will need to burn more calories than you consume. I will break it down for you and make it as simple as possible.
Workout 3 times per week
Let’s create an example and use a makeshift person in the name of Dan.
Dan is struggling with his weight, he wants to start losing some pounds but can’t shift his eating habits.
All Dan needs to do to start losing weight is to eat the same as he does but workout 3 times a week. Why will this work you say? Dan on average consumes the same calories week after week. He has an office job and is sedentary. Whatever Dan is eating, he is not really burning off but his body has adapted to his calorie intake and now his weight is stagnant.
So Dan decided to workout just 3 times a week. If he was going to do this, he wanted to go to the gym feeling comfortable and confident. He decided he needed some Gym Apparel to wear. He invested in some Gym Joggers and Hoodie. By doing this, he almost felt obliged to workout.
So Dan now is now working out 3 times per week. He could potentially be burning 1000/1500 calories more than usual by doing this. This is around 1lb of fat. Great, Dan is now losing 1lb a week. Unfortunately for Dan and everybody else, the body is very adaptive and after 4/6 weeks Dan starts to notice his weight isn’t dropping anymore. The metabolism is a crazy thing and it will adapt to your calorie input fairly quick.
Decrease calorie intake
Dan now has to greaten his calories deficit again. He is already working out 3 times per week therefore his next move is to decrease his calorie intake. If you don’t know how to count calories or don’t have an app to chart your intake, do not worry. Simple changes can make a huge difference.
Dan has a can of Coke and a chocolate bar every day at work (amongst other meals). Dan decides to cut down and have a coke and a chocolate bar every other day. This is a huge difference. One can of Coke contains up to 140 calories. A chocolate bar on average contains 200-250 calories. Cutting both of these out 3 times a week can make another calorie deficit of around 1000/1250 calories. Dan will start losing weight again and there are no real drastic measures he has taken.
Creating a habit
Dan now feels 10 times better, a habit has caught on from a prolonged & consistent effort. He gets the bug for workout out so he adds an extra workout in per week. He now feels bad for having a can of Coke and a chocolate bar because he doesn’t want to ruin his efforts at the gym. His life has now completely changed with a shift in his mindset and a few little tweaks.
Dan now feels like the man, Dan is the man, he did it and so can YOU.
So this started off as a small article about losing ‘belly fat’ and the misconceptions around it. My real aim here was to hopefully grab your attention, make you realize that anything is possible. Through small change can bring big change. If you are like Dan and feel you need to lose some weight or eat healthier, there’s no time like the present. Be like Dan, make the change and live a healthier lifestyle physically and mentally. If Dan can do it so can YOU!