- High-intensity interval training (HIIT): It is probably one of the fastest and most efficient ways to lose stomach fat and reduce the overall body fat percentage. HIIT is a high-intensity short period of exercise that usually doesn't exceed 30 minutes, with short breaks of recovery periods of 30-60 seconds. Based on the individual’s fitness level, a typical HIIT session can vary between 15 and 30 minutes. It’s a harsh and difficult type of workout, hence requiring high motivation to maintain a consistent program.
- Strength training: Lifting weights boosts the metabolic rate and ensures the maintenance of an efficient fat-burning rate, meaning fat continues to burn even after the workout. Weighted exercises burn fat and build muscles, reducing the body fat percentage, and tone up the body. Strength training should ideally be combined with HIIT and cardio exercises such as running, swimming, and cycling.
- Running or brisk walking: Because there’s no way to target stomach fat, exercises such as running burn calories and reduce the body fat percentage, reducing fat around the stomach and other parts of the body.
- Elliptical trainer: Using an elliptical trainer has a low impact compared with running and jogging, but it is an effective low-impact cardio workout. 30 minutes on an elliptical trainer can burn around 300 calories. Running burns more calories, but there’s more joint wear-and-tear, hence may not be ideal for older individuals who are not used to it or those who have arthritis.
- Bicycling: Bicycling is an effective low-impact cardio exercise. One can cycle outdoors or workout on a stationary bike. With high speed and intensity on a bicycle, one can lose 500 calories during a 30-minute workout.
- Russian twists: One should sit down on the floor and keep the legs straight or bend the knees and lean back slightly forming a V shape. This posture should be held while twisting the upper body from side to side without moving the legs. The hand can be joined together in front of the chest. Russian twists can also be increased in intensity by holding a dumbbell in front of the chest and gradually increasing the weight of the dumbbell. This increases resistance strengthens muscles and burns more calories. Around five sets with 30 repetitions can be helpful.
- Bicycle crunches: Bicycle crunches help burn stomach fat and strengthen abdominal muscles. In this exercise, one has to lie on the back with hands behind the head and then raise the knees to the chest while lifting the head and shoulders off the ground. This has to be continued in a pedaling motion by switching sides. One to three sets with 12-16 repetitions is recommended.
- Reverse crunches: These exercises help burn lower belly fat. One has to lie down on their back on a yoga mat with the knees together and the legs bent to 90°, with feet firm on the floor. The palms should be placed down on the floor for support. The abs have to be tightened to lift the hips off the floor while simultaneously the knees are drawn inwards toward the chest. Hold this position for a second at the top of the movement. The legs should be lifted up in the air before doing the crunch with the chin off the chest.
Diet tips to lose stomach fat
MyPlate diet plan: The US government (U.S. Department of Agriculture [USDA]) developed a helpful guide for adults and children to be as healthy as possible. “MyPlate” replaces the familiar “food pyramid”, which has been found to be obsolete. The MyPlate model shows the five food groups (fruits, vegetables, proteins, grains, and dairy) in a proportion set, making it easier to understand the types of food and quantity to include in each meal to have a healthy and balanced diet.
The plate is divided into four unequal sections to represent different food groups.
The main food groups are as follows:
Vegetables make up the largest portion on the plate, which is 40%, followed by grains, which is 30%. Fruits make up 10% of the plate, and protein makes up 20%. Fruits and vegetables fill half the plate, whereas proteins and grains fill the other half. A small amount of dairy in a glass (milk) or cup (yogurt) is incorporated into the diet.
Intermittent fasting: Any form of fasting helps in weight loss because of the reduction in the calorie content. There are three methods of intermittent fasting, namely, alternate-day fasting, periodic fasting, and daily time-restricted feeding. The most effective method of intermittent fasting is something that can be easily maintained, based on the individual’s daily routine. The eight-hour window for eating is commonly recommended. For example, if a meal is being eaten at 6 p.m. in the evening, the next meal should be taken at 10 a.m. the next day. The individual can eat from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. (an eight-hour window for eating) and fast from 6 p.m. to 10 a.m.
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