Sculpt Your Core: 6 Tips for Burning Belly Fat
WARNING: Always check with a health professional or trainer prior to beginning a new workout routine.
From the dreaded diet to good old-fashioned exercise to your mental health, there are a ton of factors that play into your weight. If you want to clear out a little clutter in the midsection, you’re going to want to take a good, hard look at them all. Learn a few ways to help you beat belly fat, from packing in protein to getting a few extra hours of sleep. Here are some tips to help you get started and burn off that spare tire once and for all.
Stave Off the Snack Attack
As many of us know all too well, calories are not created equal. The candy bar you eat at your desk may come pretty close to the chicken breast you could choose for lunch, but the proteinpacked latter will keep you full much longer. Try to incorporate as much protein and soluble fiber in your diet as possible to stop you from reaching for that mid-afternoon bag of chips.
Pinpoint the Pitfalls
In addition to knowing what to eat, you need to figure out what to avoid. Stay away from trans fat whenever possible, which is associated with weight gain and lots of problematic health conditions. Carbohydrates (especially sugar) are packed with calories yet won’t keep you full for long, encouraging you to over indulge throughout the day. Prioritize protein and healthy fats whenever possible to stop snacking in its tracks.
Take a Little You Time
Our body has lots of ways of dealing with the stresses of daily life, and some of those are not so great for the gut. Stress releases a hormone known as cortisol, which can increase appetite and send our brain’s pleasure center into overdrive (such as eating to cope with a hard day at work). Be sure to give yourself personal time to unwind every day, and try to regularly engage in activities that help you relax. If you need help getting started, yoga and meditation practices are great ways to keep your cool.
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Go to Bed
Our brains do some wacky things when we’re tired. Not getting enough sleep can seriously inhibit your decision-making skills and impulse control, which can completely derail your diet come mealtime. Being well rested will not only give you the mental strength to choose a fresh salad over a greasy burger, it’ll also ensure you have the energy to hit the gym after work. Try to aim for at least seven hours of sleep each night to make sure you’re always on guard against unhealthy temptation.
Put Your Heart in the Right Place
A healthy dose of cardiovascular exercise does wonders for your waistline. In addition to the calories you burn during the workout, your metabolism spikes to help continue to do so even after you’re finished. Cardio also causes your body to release feel-good chemicals called endorphins, which help to reduce that calorie-craving stress. Whether it’s running outside, using an elliptical or doing some simple calisthenics on a fitness mat, get your blood pumpin’ and your cravings slumpin’.
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Make Room for Muscle
Though many see cardio as king of calorie burning, weight lifting is just as important for getting lean. A proper diet and cardio regimen may help you lose weight, but what you lose will likely be a combination of fat and muscle mass. Proper resistance training will help your body build and retain muscle, which helps to ensure that more of what you’re burning off is unwanted fat. Try some core exercises to strengthen your abs and work your way toward that coveted six pack.
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