So, you want to decrease your levels of body fat and lose weight but, if you are like most people, there are a few areas of your body where you seem to accumulate more body fat. So how can you get rid of it? First, you need to understand where you accumulate the most fat.
Most folks accumulate body fat subcutaneously and viscerally. Subcutaneous body fat usually occurs on the arms, hips, thighs, buttocks, and back. However, visceral body fat accumulates around the waist and inside your abdomen surrounding your internal organs.
The problem with abdominal body fat accumulation is that this type of body fat is more dangerous than the subcutaneous type. Abdominal body fat is closely associated with a greater degree of insulin resistance, inflammation, fatty liver, and cardiovascular disease risk.
This is why it can be the hardest type of body fat to lose because this type of fat is relatively insulin resistant which makes it a great deal easier to store body fat in this location and much harder to burn it off as an energy source.
Another problem is that it’s impossible to “spot-reduce” areas of excessive body fat accumulation. For example, if you have excessive belly fat you wish to lose, performing sit-ups, twists, ab-roller or crunches will strengthen your abdominal muscles under the fat deposits, but will not influence the belly fat—which is usually what most people want when they are trying to lose weight.
In order to lose this type of body fat, it’s important to understand a few simple concepts:
1. Stored body fat is used by your body as a source of energy.
2. You have to encourage your body to utilize this source of stored energy.
3. You have to discourage your body from storing more body fat.
In order to access this stored body fat, you have to perform cardiovascular exercise for at least 45-60 minutes per day. This includes any type of sustained activity where you can keep your heart rate at approximately 50-60% of your maximum heart rate. This allows you to target stored body fat as an energy source.
You should also perform weight-training exercises at least three to four times per week for 30 minute intervals. These sessions should stress full-body circuit-training routines which are high-intensity but shorter-duration.
For example, to lose weight, one circuit should include at least eight different stations which target different body parts completed sequentially without a rest. The circuit can be repeated several times as you progress through the different stations.
Here is the secret to weight training, and losing weight. Although most of the fuel your body needs during circuit training comes from blood sugar and stored carbohydrates, after you are finished, the muscles will continue to burn stored body fat as a fuel source for several hours! When you are at rest after an exercise session, approximately 60% of muscle fuel is in the form of triglycerides from stored body fat.
In order to discourage fat storage, improve insulin resistance and lose weight, you should also avoid sugar, bread products, breakfast cereals, fruit juice, baked goods, candy, frozen entrées, soda and high fructose corn syrup sweeteners.
For an effective weight loss plan, you must combine exercise with a healthy diet. Try to eat more whole grains, legumes, oily fish, poultry, vegetables, yogurt, avocado, nuts, and extra virgin olive oil.
This type of diet will limit body fat accumulation, improve insulin action, and help you battle the belly fat bulge much more effectively.
Lim, S., et al., “Ectopic fat and cardiometabolic and vascular risk,”Int J Cardiol. November 2013; 169(3): 166-76.
Kaess, B.M., etal.,“The ratio of visceral to subcutaneous fat, a metric of body fat distribution, is a unique correlate of cardiometabolic risk,”Diabetologia.October 2012;55(10):2622-30.