You exercise regularly and eat all the right foods, but you’re stuck with belly fat that just won’t shift.
It’s a situation thousands of Australians find themselves in every year and according to fitness expert, Kristy Curtis this type of fat is notoriously difficult to get rid of.
While Kristy notes stress and genetics play a part in causing fat to accumulate in this area, lifestyle is also a contributing factor.
Here, the wellness coach shares a list of suggestions specifically designed to target this troublesome issue and she reveals her belly fat ‘exercise prescription’.
Australian fitness expert Kristy Curtis (pictured) has shared a list of suggestions specifically designed to target troubling belly fat
1. Make sure you keep moving
Any type of exercise that increases your heart rate – jogging, biking or swimming – helps melt away stomach fat.
While Kristy agrees all forms of structured exercise taken throughout the day is beneficial, she advises taking a balanced approach.
‘Too many sessions of a particular exercise can lead to overuse injuries such as inflammation in the tendons and joints and muscular strains,’ she said.
Apps that allow you to record your food intake:
MyFitnessPal: This app tracks your weight and calculates a recommended daily calorie intake
Lose It: LoseIt comes with an easy-to-use food diary and and exercise log
Argus Calorie Counter & Steps: This app doesn’t just count these two aspects, but also includes a sleep and heart rate tracker as well as meal plans and recipes for keto, paleo, vegan dietary requirements
‘Variety is definitely the spice of life when it comes to exercise prescription.’
And she said to ensure a workout regime also included resistance training at least two to three times a week.
‘Having muscle on your frame is important as it supports your bones which decreases osteoporosis, cardiac disease, and it helps maintain your weight,’ the expert added.
2. Track your calorie intake
If you want to lose weight, tracking how much you eat is a simple way to ensure you’re not eating more food than your body needs.
Kristy explained weight loss is built on the principle of a calorie deficit meaning more energy needs to be burned than consumed.
She said the equation works out to be a 7,700 calorie deficit for every kilo of weight you are trying to lose.
Kristy recommends apps or wearable technology to help you record how much energy you have burnt in an exercise session or to track your calorie intake.
If you want to lose weight, tracking how much you eat is a simple way to ensure you’re not eating more food than your body needs (stock image)
3. Lower your sugar and refined carb intake
‘Sugar and refined carbs have absolutely no nutritional benefits and are what I would term “empty calories”‘, the expert said.
She said sugar wreaks havoc on blood sugars and blood insulin by sending them spiking and then causing them to plummet a short time later.
Insulin is a hormone that promotes fat storage and inhibits your ability to burn fat. Keeping insulin levels low, will allow the body to burn fat properly.
The fitness expert (pictured left) recommended a workout regime that also included resistance training at least two or three times a week
Why should you take 10,000 steps a day?
The recommended 10,000 steps a day originated in Japan in the early 1960’s.
Japanese researchers led by Dr Yoshiro Hatano determined the average person took 3,500 to 5,000 steps per day, and that if they increased their steps to 10,000 per day, the result would be healthier, thinner people.
Dr. Hatano’s calculations also showed that we should walk 10,000 steps a day to burn about 20 per cent of our caloric intake through activity
4. Take extra opportunities to move
While a workout routine is essential, there are always opportunities to burn extra calories.
Incidental exercise or ‘non-exercise activity thermogenesis (N.E.A.T)’, Kristy said, is an easy way to contribute to the number of calories burnt over the course of a day.
‘Incidental exercise can come from activities such as taking the stairs instead of the lift at work, getting off the bus a stop early, performing housework or gardening.
5. Eat a protein-rich diet
According to Kristy, a protein-rich diet is essential for building lean muscle and it’s this tissue which burns calories even when we’re at rest.
‘The more lean muscle we have on our frame the more calories we burn therefore the more food we can eat.’
Protein can come from meat sources such as red or white meat or seafood and it can also be found in dairy and eggs, cheese and yoghurt.
Vegan sources include soy products, legumes, beans, green leafy vegetables, edamame beans and tempeh.
‘The daily recommendation of protein in your diet is 0.8-1.5g per kilogram of body weight, sometimes more if you are regularly weight training or an athlete,’ Kristy said.
And she advised as protein is slow to digest, it will keep you fuller longer, which helps control appetite and satiation levels.
‘Having muscle on your frame is important as it supports your bones which decreases osteoporosis, cardiac disease, and it helps maintain your weight,’ the expert said (stock image)
6. Keep your post-workout indulgences to a minimum
Working up a sweat after a workout can leave us feeling ravenous and looking to consume anything in sight.
Kristy’s recommendation regarding a post-workout snack is to eat a snack or meal within an hour of finishing training.
She explains the cells in the body are ‘open and ready’ to receive a nutrient dense meal so make sure it’s one of high quality and proportion.
‘Aim to eat a protein, carbohydrate and fat so you cover all of the vital macro-nutrients the body needs.’
Her suggestions include coconut yoghurt with berries and almonds, hummus with vegetable sticks or some boiled eggs on gluten-free rice crackers.
Alcohol and food equivalents:
A 500ml bottle of cider can contain up to 200+ calories (875 kilojoules), which is around the same as a traditional cinnamon Krispy Kreme doughnut.
One glass of champagne contains 90 calories which is the equivalent of eating one chocolate biscuit.
A 1.25mL shot of spirits contains 60 calories which is equivalent to eating one small banana.
7. Don’t overdo your alcohol consumption
It can be incredibly tempting to blow out on the weekends, especially if you’ve eaten well and exercised during the week.
However, while there’s room for a small indulgence, it’s one that needs to be carefully managed so you don’t end up sabotaging everything you’ve done Monday to Friday.
‘Calories from alcohol are what I would describe as ’empty calories’, they have no nutritional value and contribute to excess fat around the midsection or belly fat, the expert said.
‘Alcohol can be disastrous for our weight as it is made from sugar or starch. It contains lots of calories – seven calories per gram in fact! Almost as much as pure fat!’