I will go straight to the point. To trim down belly fat, which has been certified as one of the hardest fat to lose, these are the tips for you.
This is the toughest bit of a healthy lifestyle, most people say its 70% diet and 30% workout however, both are very important. A typical Nigerian diet majorly comprises of tons of carbohydrates and fats and a little bit of protein to the side, this doesn’t do much good because it’s not adequately balanced.
One of the key culprits of belly fat is too much sugar. We all need sugar to function, it’s the quickest source of energy but do not forget carbohydrates are complex sugars that get broken down into simple sugars in our system. When we consume too much sugar required by the body, our liver converts these excesses into fatty acids that are carried around in our blood vessels and store them in our belly. Same goes to the consumption of fatty foods too.
Why have I bored you with this irrelevant information? Reason is I’ve put a picture of what goes on in your body when you eat food in your head and now you know why most African people have pot bellies at young ages. It is what they eat!
The food we ignore the most which are proteins, fibre, fruits and vegetables are essential in burning belly fat so incorporating the habit of eating more will go a long way in bringing that change you desire.
A person once asked Arnold Schwarzenegger how much protein do we need to eat, his answer was All of them! Cheeky isn’t it? Most fitness enthusiast say you eat 1 gram of protein for every 1 pound you weigh but I wouldn’t go that far, except if you’re looking to compete in the next Olympia.
So I’ll give you a list of food items you should consider eating that are attainable here in Nigeria.
PROTEIN: Eggs (lots of them, preferably egg whites), Beans, Peanut butter, Soybean derivative products, Milk and dairy products, Skinless chicken (chicken breasts are best since they have the largest amount of protein in a serving portion compared to other parts of the chicken), Lean beef, fish (fresh fish, sardines, tuna or any decent swimming creature – just kidding). Always remember to go hard-core on the protein, you need them.
CARBOHYDRATES: Sweet potatoes, Rice, Pasta, Traditional foods (amala, pounded yam, semolina, eba, wheat and the likes), Oats, Plantain, etcetera. N.B: Try and cut down your carbs intake.
FAT & OIL: Here we have the good and bad cholesterol. Good fatty foods are unsaturated fats, coconut oil, egg yolk, avocado, extra virgin olive oil, nuts and its oil derivatives. Fatty foods to avoid are the likes of saturated fats, hydrogenated fats or trans fats, these are common in processed food. Always look at food labels.
It’s essential you get enough sleep; it enables your body recover from strenuous workouts and also metabolic breakdown of complex food items. Also reduction of alcohol intake or total riddance could give you a better result on belly fat reduction.
Burning bell fat requires consistency and hard work. You can easily begin with getting up in the morning and going for a run 3 km, 5 km or 10 km run depending on your endurance. It’s preferably to do it in the morning as your insulin level is low at this stage and the only source of energy your body has is generated from the fat stored in your body (it’s also termed as fasted cardio). If you want to get explosive, try 100 m sprint with 60 seconds rest interval between each run. Trust me you’ll feel the burn. Also you can try out burpees, it’s a killer cardio; do 10 reps of 4 sets with 60 seconds rest interval between each set. Other workouts that train your abs are leg raises, bicycle crunches, dragon flag and mountain climbers. You can always mix them with your workout plan. Other full body workout such as press ups, planks, chin ups work on your core muscles also as they are the centre of gravity when exercising.
IT IS IMPORTANT TO START WITH SMALL REPS AND INCREASE THE INTENSITY AS YOU PROGRESS.
Also always go that extra mile, sometimes you feel knackered and want to stop but try to push yourself a little bit more and what seems difficult today will be a walk in the park tomorrow.
All the best.
Shed and Shred is a column by Idowu Olawoye, who applies his scientific mindset into his love for fitness.
Reach him on twitter if you’ve got any questions or you need extra tips @idowuolawoye
And check out his occasional post workout videos on his Instagram page @hydogram