There’s a six pack hiding beneath your beer gut . . . you’ve just got to shed that belly fat first. And these are the five steps you should follow as you strive for that flatter stomach.
The obvious first step to cutting out your beer gut? Cutting out your beer. A pint is loaded with more than 200 calories — about the same as a hot dog or a doughnut — so when you pop in for a few beers after work on a Friday afternoon, you’re consuming as many calories as half a dozen Krispy Cremes. A healthy intake is 2000 calories a day, so you can still fit in some alcohol, but if getting blind every weekend is blowing out your caloric intake, it’s time to tighten your belt. Low-calorie beer and a chaser of water with every drink helps you consume less.
Swap carbs for protein
It’s the same story with everything else you put in your mouth — you don’t need to turn into an activewear-clad calorie-counter, only a bit of common sense to keep your consumption under control. You’ve heard all this advice before — don’t skip breakfast, eat plenty of healthy protein like eggs and lean meat, avoid processed carbs like cereal, snack on nuts and fruit rather than salty or sugary treats — while getting protein from beans and nuts rather than meat is particularly useful for weight loss, as are plenty of fibrous green veggies like cabbage and broccoli.
Do more cardio
Aim for about three hours of exercise a week to burn more energy than you’re putting in your body. Break down that three hours of cardio into manageable chunks — that’s a brisk 40-minute walk home from work every day, for instance, nothing that requires a pricey gym membership. Ride a bike with your kids, get into basketball with your mates, bush walk through the national park on the weekend . . . anything that gets your heart pulsing and your brow sweating is burning belly fat.
Target your stomach
The best exercise to carve out a flat stomach is to focus your attention on your abs — hone core strength through moves like sit-ups, crunches, and planks, which can all be done in your lounge room. Activities like yoga and pilates also helps build strength in your abs . . . but no amount of exercise is going to unveil a toned six pack if you keep slaughtering schooners and filling up on chicken parmas, which feed that layer of fat that conceals your muscles.
Burn more calories at rest
If you earn your living by sitting behind a computer, cram in extra movement by taking that extra flight of stairs, stand and walk around the office as often as possible, and even try to sneak away from your desk for a few squats, wall sits, and leg or calf raises. And also, relax! Stress produces the hormone cortisol which causes weight loss — particularly around the gut — so a good night’s sleep and plenty of time to unwind helps your weight loss (and no, nipping down to the pub isn’t the kind of relaxation we’re talking about).