Everyone has toned abs just waiting to be revealed from beneath that layer (however thick) of belly fat. Like most people, I have spent countless hours throughout my life doing sit-ups, crunches and leg lifts in an attempt to gain that elusive six-pack. Unfortunately, something that most people are unaware of is that it is impossible to achieve washboard abs through targeted muscle training alone. There is no way to spot reduce fat – sit-ups, crunches and other abdominal exercises simply will not get rid of your belly fat. Don't get me wrong, there is certainly a benefit to adding abdominal exercises to your weekly routine, however if a six-pack is what you're after, there are several other steps you have to take in order to get there.
- Weight training
One of the key ingredients to fat loss is building muscle. Strengthening and bulking muscle on any part of your body will speed up your metabolism, and help to increase the amount of fat that your body burns throughout the day. Weight training doesn't burn as many calories as cardiovascular exercise does, but it is still a good way to work off the slice of pizza that you had for lunch.
- Cardiovascular exercise
I think it's fair to assume that most of you have probably tried some cardio exercise in your life. Running and jogging are probably the most common, and certainly one of the best calorie burners, however if running doesn't appeal, there are plenty of other ways to get your heart rate up. If competition gets you going, joining a local sports team is a great way to increase fitness and burn that belly fat. If you prefer to work out alone or in a more passive environment, try taking a day out of your weekend and go rock climbing, or take a friend and go for a hike on a local track. Cardio doesn't have to be daunting or un-enjoyable – anything that gets your body moving and your heart rate up is going to help, even if it's just dancing with friends.
Probably the most important component of loosing belly fat is your diet. There are a few super-foods such as peppers and certain seeds which are rumoured to help, however I have found the most reliable way (and you probably don't want to hear it) is cutting out the refined sugars and saturated fats. Try eating more vegetables, lean protein like chicken and fish, and add whole-grains to your meal, like brown rice and quinoa instead of white bread and pasta. Diet is key for fat loss, and without adjusting what you eat, you'll likely never be rid of your belly fat.