You’ve started your new workout program, but you just aren’t seeing the stubborn fat drop off yet. You’re working incredibly hard, but the expected results aren’t rolling in.
It’s one of the most common quandaries to find yourself in, and if you google around a bit, you’ll see you’re by no means alone.
It’s not at all uncommon to run an entire fitness course and see lots of change in your body (muscle firming, weight distribution, improved balance, flexibility, strength, etc.) without actually seeing the fat disappear.
First of all, I hope you already know that it just isn’t possible to “spot reduce.” When you lose fat, you lose it all over. Men and women tend to store fat in particular areas like stomach, hips, and thighs, but targeting those areas with exercise will build the muscle, but not burn the fat.
However, there ARE methods for fat-burning that really do help, ESPECIALLY when used in concert with a great workout method.
1. You’re eating too many bagels, bread, and muffins.
Any food made from refined flour (even products touted as “wheat” or “whole wheat” or even “whole grain”) has an incredibly high carbohydrate content. These particular carbs are digested incredibly quickly since they are already so refined and processed, which means your body typically sends them straight to fat storage. The worst part is that they aren’t satisfying to your hunger, which makes you want to eat even more of them!
2. You haven’t cut back the potatoes, pasta, and rice.
These are three more of the dreaded “white foods” that simply won’t help you burn off that stubborn fat. High-carb foods cause your body to flood your system with insulin to deal with these carbs, which function as simple sugars, and again, they go straight to fat storage.
3. You’re doing too much long, slow cardio.
Over and over again studies are showing that repeated bursts of intense exercise (think intervals of one or two minutes, with 30 second recoveries in between) burn up to 9 times more fat than long, slow cardio workouts. Doing interval work (like fartlek runs, etc.) turbo-charges your metabolism, and lets your body build muscle and release fat.
4. You need to increase your protein intake.
If you’ve been eating lots of processed foods all your life, you have convinced your body that it’s starving, because you’re feeding it high-calorie, nutritionally worthless foods. Since your body believes it’s starving, it works extra hard to store enough fat to tide you through the nutritional desert. But you can turn the process around by adding lean proteins back into your diet (as you eliminate the processed carbs).
5. You need more sleep and recovery time.
Getting less than six hours of sleep (or more than eight) increases your chances of having too much belly fat, especially if your 40 years old or younger. In addition, people who are under a lot of stress (read, not getting enough rest) also have high levels of the hormone cortisol, which is connected to the build up of fat tissues.
What’s working for you?
Join in the conversation by leaving a comment below. Let us know what you’re finding works well (or what doesn’t work at all) in the war against fat.