The bad news first.
-Spot reduction with specific exercises doesn’t work.
Good news- you don’t need much exercise to lose fat.
Bad news – belly fat goes last.
Bad news again- you’ll have to go on a diet.
The belly fat that you’re desperately trying to lose, actually has a purpose, other than making you unattractive to the opposite sex.
It is a storehouse of calories that you’ve picked up over the years. It is there to help you tide over a crisis, that the body thinks, is coming.
Think of it, in that way and you’ll see how you can get rid of it.
1. Prevent new excess calories from ending up around your midriff
2. Go into a caloric deficit to burn off the excess you’ve already gathered.
3. Convince your body that it is not under threat. (stress control)
But the devil is in the details.
Fat deposition isn’t always based on calories in and calories out.
It depends on the hormonal environment of your body. And your hormonal environment will depend on
1. The kind of food you eat
2. The lifestyle you live
3. Your genetics.
I hate counting calories. So what I’m describing below avoids that. It isn’t optimal, but it simplifies life. And to me that is very important
You’ll need to avoid eating excessively. Obviously. You don’t need me to tell you that. Eat to a point where your hunger is satisfied. Not to where your appetite is satisfied.
Full tank petrol vs 3/4th petrol tank is the image in going for here.
What do I eat?
This is simple too. But most people complicate it unnecessarily.
Eat real food. Vegetables, meat, fish, eggs, fruits.
Avoid processed foods.
Avoid dairy. (Ghee and butter are exceptions)
Eat quantities that are described in the previous section.
When do I eat? How do I eat?
I found it best to eat within a feeding window that lasts 8 hours.
Eg- breakfast at 10am, lunch at 2pm dinner at 6pm.
You can have your breakfast earlier or later, provided the dinner happens within 8 hours of when you had breakfast.
The above schedule is what I use.
The 16 hour gap without food daily will teach your body to use fat as a fuel, more efficiently. The 16:8 fasting described above is the least disruptive method of intermittent fasting for an office goer.
Some people might do better with an earlier feeding window, some with a later feeding window. Depends on individual physiology.
A calorie free drink as soon as you wake up is supposed to be good. You may try it.
I’d recommend a glass of lime juice with
salt. Coffee and tea, even if black, are best avoided. Just plain water as soon as you wake up, is also a good idea.
A stressful lifestyle will cause you to gain more fat around your belly. That stress might be from work, relationships, or even your training.
I will write about controlling training related stress. (separate topic)
You need to be waking up without an alarm everyday. At the same time. Preferably a little before the sun rises. 5.30 – 6am?
And when you wake up you should be raring to go. Ready, physically, for whatever the day is going to throw at you. There should be no fatigue, or “5 more minutes” feeling.
If you can’t do that, you’re not sleeping enough, or, the quality of your sleep is deficient. Try for 8 hours every night.
Sleep hygiene is a whole different topic, that I’ll write about some time. :p
The above should get you started. Getting that all important “six pack” will need a lot more than the above. But, you need to decide why you need a “six pack ” and whether the effort is worth it to you.
I want to hammer in the fact that diet is everything, if you want to lose fat.
Two kinds of exercise are the most beneficial for fat loss.
1. Long walks on an empty stomach.
2. HIIT (another big topic, that I’ll write about, some time)
Resistance training that helps increase muscle mass helps lose fat faster. (separate topic)