How to be healthy and lose fat the 3 minute hit health hack that helps burn fat

These science-backed steps can help you reduce abdominal fat.

Excess weight in your midsection can be annoying—not only because it’s so darn tough to ditch, but because it also has an impact on your overall health. Extra belly fat ups your risk of issues such as heart disease and diabetes, and, according to certified strength and condition specialist Michele Olson, PhD, life is filled with sneaky little saboteurs that make putting on the pounds in this area way too easy.

“Due to changes in hormones, daily stresses, lack of sleep, coupled with possibly pregnancies, the fat women gain is often stored increasingly in the belly area,” explains Olson, also a senior clinical professor at Huntingdon College in Montgomery, Alabama.

And while you can’t exactly spot reduce, you can make lifestyle changes that can help you lose belly fat. Here, healthy-living pros offer their best science-backed strategies for reducing abdominal fat.

Clean up your diet

If you’ve heard it once, you’ve heard it a million times: Abs are made in the kitchen. Unfortunately, if you regularly eat ultra-processed foods (think chips, store-bought baked goods, and candy), you won’t be able to see yours. “These foods are produced using sweeteners like high fructose corn syrup, which in high amounts has been shown to promote visceral fat accumulation in the liver, leading to weight gain, inflammation, and related diseases,” explains Rachel Fine, RD, owner of To The Pointe Nutrition.

Instead, opt for eats that have healthy amounts of soluble fiber such as oatmeal, sweet potatoes, avocado, and citrus fruits. Research reveals that an increase in these foods is linked to a decrease in visceral—aka belly—fat.

Slow down on spirits

Reducing alcohol intake can also help, says Fine. Alcohol contains about seven calories per gram—”just under fat, which equates to nine calories per gram.” And because alcohol is absorbed quickly, “when over-consumed, alcohol metabolism impairs metabolism of other macronutrients, such as carbs and fat, promoting…fat storage rather than breakdown,” she says.

While you’re rethinking your drinks, limit your consumption of carbonated beverages as well, advises Vanessa Voltolina, RD, a New York City-based registered dietitian, noting that those fizzy drinks, though yummy, can cause belly bloat. (Sorry LaCroix!)

Instead, stick to water, which Emily Incledon, RD says can act as an appetite suppressant, as well as help flush out your body to decrease the feeling of being bloated.

Make sure you exercise

Great news: Working out is good for more than just adding years to your life, boosting your brain health, and reducing stress levels—it can also help you rein in your gut. In fact, research in the journal Cell Metabolism reveals that exercise specifically helps reduce visceral fat.

The key to losing belly fat with exercise, though, is making sure your sweat session is intense. You’ll want to be working at 85% of your max heart rate at least, says Olson. “The higher your heart rate, the higher the release of epinephrine into the bloodstream and cells,” she explains. “A positive side effect of epinephrine is that it also activates greater release of abdominal fat into the bloodstream to be used for energy.”

So what type of exercise is best when it comes to burning belly fat? Olson recommends intense weight training, Tabata interval training, sprint-style cardio, and kettlebell exercises. Of course, a little ab work won’t hurt either—especially moves (like dead bug) that target the transverse abdominus, the deep core muscles that act like a girdle for the waist, cinching you in all over.

Don’t skimp on sleep

Falling short on zzz’s is also a surefire way to put your waistline in jeopardy. That’s because sleep deprivation knocks your hunger hormones out of whack, leading to an increase in ghrelin, which stimulates appetite, and a decrease in leptin, which signals when you are satiated. What’s more, research has shown that when you aren’t well-rested, you’re also more likely to reach for junk food (hello Ben & Jerry’s!)—and it may even become harder for you to build muscle mass.

To help keep belly fat in check, aim to cuddle with your pillow for at least seven to eight hours each night. And if possible, hit the hay at the same time each night—one study found that women who did so and clocked around eight hours of sleep per night had lower body fat.

Just relax

Stress, which can come in many forms, can wreak havoc on your health. Whether it’s something you consider to be a “big” deal, like working on a project to meet a crucial work deadline, or something smaller, like someone cutting you off on your morning commute, your body treats it all the same way—by enacting your fight or flight response.

“As your body’s perception of stress increases, cortisol, often called the stress hormone, is released from the adrenal glands,” explains Nana Yaw Adu-Sarkodie, MD, a board-certified family physician practicing home-based care in Baltimore. “Normal levels are released when you wake up in the morning or during exercise. Chronic stress can lead to increased cortisol and other stress hormones, leading to increases in sugar in the bloodstream, weight gain, digestive issues, depression, and a host of other health effects.”

A study in Psychosomatic Medicine confirms the link between stress and weight gain, revealing that women who are most vulnerable to the effects of stress are more likely to have excess abdominal fat and higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol. One reason could be that women tend to eat more, especially sweets, on days they are stressed, according to a study in the journal Psychoneuroendocrinology.

Which is why it pays to keep your cool. One way to do so: practicing mindfulness. According to a 2011 Journal of Obesity study, women who experienced the greatest reduction in stress by effectively mastering stress-reduction techniques tended to lose the most deep belly fat. So go ahead and take some deep breaths, hit the mat for some anxiety-relieving yoga, or open up one of those guided-meditation apps. Your belly will thank you in the long run.

To get our top stories delivered to your inbox, sign up for the Healthy Living newsletter

Harvard researchers discover a hormone released by exercise.

When you’re taking a brisk walk on a beautiful day, what are you thinking about? The sun, the breeze, how good it feels to loosen up the stiff parts. The last thing you’re thinking about as you pick up the pace is what’s happening to your body chemistry.

When you exercise, your body chemistry changes in ways that we only now are coming to understand. Over the past 20 years, scientists have identified natural molecules in all of us that influence our appetite and our metabolism—and, hence, our weight. Now, researchers at Harvard Medical School and elsewhere are identifying the molecules that not only affect our weight, but also cause other health benefits of exercise.

“Our muscle cells need a source of energy when they exercise,” says Dr. Anthony Komaroff, a professor at Harvard Medical School. “Muscles get that energy by burning fat and sugar brought to them by the blood. That’s been known for nearly a century. However, it’s not the whole story. “

The hormone irisin

In January 2012, a research team led by Dr. Bruce Spiegelman, a Harvard Medical School professor, published a new study in the journal Nature. The study was done in mice, but may well apply to humans. The study showed that exercising muscle produces a hormone called irisin.

“Irisin travels throughout the body in the blood, and alters fat cells,” explains Dr. Komaroff. “Body fat is stored inside fat cells. Most of these fat cells are called white fat cells, and their function is to store fat.”

White fat vs. brown fat

Why do we store fat? When we eat more calories than we burn by exercise, the extra calories have to go somewhere. They’re stored partly as fat. Our distant ancestors didn’t eat as regularly as we do. Forty thousand years ago on the Serengeti, our ancestors were able to get a serious meal only a few times each week. In between meals, they needed some source of energy. A large part of it came from the fat they stored away after a meal.

In 2009, studies from Harvard Medical School and elsewhere discovered that humans have not only white fat cells but also brown fat cells.

“Brown fat cells don’t store fat: they burn fat. If your goal is to lose weight, you want to increase the number of your brown fat cells and to decrease your white fat cells,” says Dr. Komaroff.

Irisin does that, at least in mice. And those newly-created brown fat cells keep burning calories after exercise is over. But it gets better.

Irisin’s other effects

We’ve known for some time that a regular program of moderate exercise protects us against type 2 diabetes. For example, a lifestyle program that included regular moderate exercise reduced the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by nearly 60%—more than any medicine yet invented. How does that happen? Irisin may be an important part of the answer. In addition to its effect in creating brown fat cells, it also helps prevent or overcome insulin resistance, which leads to type 2 diabetes.

Although Dr. Spiegelman did his studies in mice, he found that humans have irisin, too. While not yet proven, it is very likely that irisin has similar effects in humans.

“Studies like these are just plain interesting, in and of themselves,” says Dr. Komaroff. “They help us to understand better how our body works. However, the discovery of irisin also could have some very practical and beneficial applications. Theoretically, irisin could become a treatment to help us maintain a healthy body weight and reduce the risk of diabetes.”

Yes, other medicines with a similar promise have come and gone. However, irisin is not an unnatural pharmaceutical. Rather, it’s part of our natural body chemistry. That may make it more potent and less likely to have adverse effects. So there is justifiable excitement about the discovery of irisin, and about the speed with which science is discovering the chemistry of exercise, appetite, metabolic rate and body weight.

However, our environment, and its effect on our own behavior, plays a huge role in determining how much we exercise and how much we eat, and therefore how much we weigh.

“We don’t have to wait for a magic potion,” says Dr. Komaroff. “We already have a proven treatment that profoundly protects our health: exercise.”

Share this page:

  • Share this page to Facebook
  • Share this page to Twitter
  • Share this page to Google Plus
  • Email this page

Print this page:

Disclaimer:
As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of last review or update on all articles. No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.

How to be healthy and lose fat the 3 minute hit health hack that helps burn fat

The road to losing weight, specifically stomach fat, can be such a discouraging process, especially when you have to deal with stubborn belly fat. But it is possible to trim off a muffin top even while you sleep. We want to share several bedtime drinks that will help burn stomach fat faster:

Here Are 10 Bedtime Drinks That Help Burn Stomach Fat

“Both belly bulge and love handles are about excess body fat, not lack of muscle… The best way to reduce these problem areas is to reduce your overall body fat percentage, and we all know that that requires diet and exercise.” – Jillian Michaels

1. Cucumber juice

Juice fresh cucumbers for a flavorful and healthy bedtime drink. Add water as desired if the cucumber blend is too strong to drink “straight”. To make the drink tastier, squeeze some lemons and grate ginger on the juice before drinking. Drink this every night for a month and you will notice your stomach fat trimming.

Cucumbers are low in calories but loaded with antioxidants, fiber, minerals, and vitamins that work for weight loss. An intake of cucumbers in plenty amounts won’t have you packing the pounds.

Instead, it helps the body level off its blood sugars and promotes hydration.

2. Lemon and cucumber juice

Do you notice how some restaurants serve water with slices of lemon? Drinking lemon water provides heaps of benefits, including losing stomach fat.

A study published in the Journal of Ayurveda and Integrative Medicine showed that people who drank lemon juice four times a day while fasting reduced their body fat mass and improved their lipid profile.

To make your bedtime lemon drink taste better and be more effective, combine the fruit with two cucumbers, an orange, and a pitcher of water. Add honey to taste and garnish this drink with mint as well, if you like.

3. Cucumber and cilantro drink

Here’s another drink filled with antioxidants that will help flush the toxins and bad fat from your body. Combine cucumber, a cup of cilantro (or fresh parsley), lemon, and half a glass of water in a blender.

Sprinkle the drink with grated ginger and a tablespoon of Aloe Vera juice. Let this combination sit for a few minutes before drinking it all the way down.

4. Ginger tea

Ginger has widely-known medicinal properties but a study published in the Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences revealed it also works effectively against obesity. Drinking ginger tea before bedtime also helps the body absorb nutrients better. Additionally, it aids in food digestion and alleviates stomach discomfort (especially if you’ve had a bad meal a few hours before going to bed).

If you want to make ginger tea tastier, squeeze in some lemon and add a tablespoon of honey to your drink. You can also make it into iced ginger tea if you’re drinking this concoction during the summer.

5. Pineapple juice

Pineapple adds positive value to your weight loss goals because it’s an antioxidant, low in calories and rich in fiber. According to the Joslin Diabetic Center, fiber-rich foods and drinks make you feel full without adding to your stomach fat.

Like lemon, a glass of cold, delicious, and freshly squeezed pineapple juice is always refreshing. However, you can enjoy this as a warm and soothing drink instead. Blend or squeeze pineapple juice with lemon.

Add slices or chunks of pineapples to your drink, if you like. If the fruit is sweet enough, you won’t need to add honey.

6. Strawberry with lemon and herbs

Strawberries and other berry extracts have phytochemical properties that aid in diet and protect the body from cancer and heart disease, according to a study in the Journal of Medicinal Food.

This fruit has components which block the hormones that trigger inflammation, raise blood sugar levels, and hinder weight loss.

Juice a lemon or lime and add a few slices of the peels into the cup. Then cut up strawberries and include herbs such as mint and tarragon into the mixture. Pour hot water over it and let this mixture settle together. Remove the lemon or lime peels and transfer the mixture to a jar. Pour cold water and ice and then add honey, depending on your preference. Drink away!

7. Dandelion tea

Dandelion tea is effective in relieving stomach bloating, heartburn, and other forms of stomach upset. As a natural diuretic, dandelion tea also helps flush out water weight so you will feel lighter after having a cup at bedtime.

8. Green tea

Green tea’s chemical composition is so complex that even experts debate on its health benefits. But scientists from Japan stated, in a 2017 study published in the journal Nutrients, that drinking green tea before bedtime can promote better sleep quality among middle-aged people.

The caffeine content found in green tea is low, so it helps the body become more relaxed. And if you sleep better, you can boost your metabolism better to prevent weight gain. But there’s an added benefit to this drink. Because green tea is an antioxidant, it also aids in weight loss and cutting down that unwanted stomach fat.

9. Apple cider vinegar juice

Whether freshly made or bought in stores, apple cider vinegar juice offers many health benefits. As it has antibiotic and antibacterial properties, this drink can help with stomach upset, bacteria-causing diarrhea, and intestinal spasms. Mix one to two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar in a glass of water. If you prefer, you can combine this with lemon juice and a few slices of fresh apple.

How to be healthy and lose fat the 3 minute hit health hack that helps burn fat

10. Grapefruit and cinnamon juice

People who love a detoxifying diet mainly eat or drink grapefruit because it’s hydrating and filling. Aside from that, it’s packed with nutrients and helps with metabolism. Grapefruit juice may also be freshly blended or store bought. Extract at least half a glass from this fruit, which will be added to a syrup mixture.

You can make the syrup by mixing a glass of water, sugar to taste, and cinnamon sticks. Let this mixture simmer in a pan for seven minutes before adding the grapefruit and cold water in a pitcher. Garnish the drink with mint.

Final Thoughts

These drink suggestions are so easy to prepare. You can modify or add more healthy ingredients to any of these bedtime drinks to your preference. If consumed regularly, you will soon see the effects of the drinks on your stomach fat. Remember, positive thinking and the will to lose weight is all you need to achieve your stomach fat weight loss goals!

Harvard researchers discover a hormone released by exercise.

When you’re taking a brisk walk on a beautiful day, what are you thinking about? The sun, the breeze, how good it feels to loosen up the stiff parts. The last thing you’re thinking about as you pick up the pace is what’s happening to your body chemistry.

When you exercise, your body chemistry changes in ways that we only now are coming to understand. Over the past 20 years, scientists have identified natural molecules in all of us that influence our appetite and our metabolism—and, hence, our weight. Now, researchers at Harvard Medical School and elsewhere are identifying the molecules that not only affect our weight, but also cause other health benefits of exercise.

“Our muscle cells need a source of energy when they exercise,” says Dr. Anthony Komaroff, a professor at Harvard Medical School. “Muscles get that energy by burning fat and sugar brought to them by the blood. That’s been known for nearly a century. However, it’s not the whole story. “

The hormone irisin

In January 2012, a research team led by Dr. Bruce Spiegelman, a Harvard Medical School professor, published a new study in the journal Nature. The study was done in mice, but may well apply to humans. The study showed that exercising muscle produces a hormone called irisin.

“Irisin travels throughout the body in the blood, and alters fat cells,” explains Dr. Komaroff. “Body fat is stored inside fat cells. Most of these fat cells are called white fat cells, and their function is to store fat.”

White fat vs. brown fat

Why do we store fat? When we eat more calories than we burn by exercise, the extra calories have to go somewhere. They’re stored partly as fat. Our distant ancestors didn’t eat as regularly as we do. Forty thousand years ago on the Serengeti, our ancestors were able to get a serious meal only a few times each week. In between meals, they needed some source of energy. A large part of it came from the fat they stored away after a meal.

In 2009, studies from Harvard Medical School and elsewhere discovered that humans have not only white fat cells but also brown fat cells.

“Brown fat cells don’t store fat: they burn fat. If your goal is to lose weight, you want to increase the number of your brown fat cells and to decrease your white fat cells,” says Dr. Komaroff.

Irisin does that, at least in mice. And those newly-created brown fat cells keep burning calories after exercise is over. But it gets better.

Irisin’s other effects

We’ve known for some time that a regular program of moderate exercise protects us against type 2 diabetes. For example, a lifestyle program that included regular moderate exercise reduced the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by nearly 60%—more than any medicine yet invented. How does that happen? Irisin may be an important part of the answer. In addition to its effect in creating brown fat cells, it also helps prevent or overcome insulin resistance, which leads to type 2 diabetes.

Although Dr. Spiegelman did his studies in mice, he found that humans have irisin, too. While not yet proven, it is very likely that irisin has similar effects in humans.

“Studies like these are just plain interesting, in and of themselves,” says Dr. Komaroff. “They help us to understand better how our body works. However, the discovery of irisin also could have some very practical and beneficial applications. Theoretically, irisin could become a treatment to help us maintain a healthy body weight and reduce the risk of diabetes.”

Yes, other medicines with a similar promise have come and gone. However, irisin is not an unnatural pharmaceutical. Rather, it’s part of our natural body chemistry. That may make it more potent and less likely to have adverse effects. So there is justifiable excitement about the discovery of irisin, and about the speed with which science is discovering the chemistry of exercise, appetite, metabolic rate and body weight.

However, our environment, and its effect on our own behavior, plays a huge role in determining how much we exercise and how much we eat, and therefore how much we weigh.

“We don’t have to wait for a magic potion,” says Dr. Komaroff. “We already have a proven treatment that profoundly protects our health: exercise.”

Share this page:

  • Share this page to Facebook
  • Share this page to Twitter
  • Share this page to Google Plus
  • Email this page

Print this page:

Disclaimer:
As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of last review or update on all articles. No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.

In this Article

In this Article

In this Article

  • Exercises to Help Belly Fat
  • Safety Considerations

As people get older, it’s common to see an increase of belly fat collect along the waistline. This is usually because muscle mass decreases with age as fat increases. Belly fat can make you feel self-conscious or can cause difficulty fitting into your favorite pair of pants.

However, there are also some health risks associated with excess belly fat, including:

  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Breathing problems
  • Heart disease

Because of these risks, it’s a good idea to try to control your belly fat. There are three types of belly fat: subcutaneous, intramuscular, and visceral. Visceral fat is the type that sits between your organs and is known as belly fat. Even if you have a normal weight and body mass index (BMI), too much visceral belly fat can still lead to a variety of health problems.

Exercises to Help Belly Fat

There are many exercises out there, but not all are created equal when it comes to banishing belly fat. However, scientists and doctors alike agree that incorporating physical activity into your daily routine is a great way to burn off unwanted belly fat. Here are some exercises for belly fat that you can try to help you slim down your waistline.

Aerobic or Cardio Exercise

Your first step in burning off visceral fat is including at least 30 minutes of aerobic exercise or cardio into your daily routine. Studies show that aerobic exercises for belly fat help to reduce belly fat and liver fat.

Some great cardio of aerobic exercises for belly fat include:

  • Walking, especially at a quick pace
  • Running
  • Biking
  • Rowing
  • Swimming
  • Cycling
  • Group fitness classes

When choosing a cardio activity, make sure it’s something that you enjoy doing. This way, you’re more motivated and will look forward to your exercise routine.

HIIT or Interval Training

High-intensity interval training (HIIT) and interval training are exercise routines that incorporate short bursts of intense exercise mixed in with lower intensity moves and rest periods. Research shows that HIIT exercises for belly fat help control weight and improve your overall physical condition.

Continued

These routines aren’t very time-consuming but still get your heart pumping and work your entire body. Each routine has a selection of activities that include the following movements:

  • Pushing
  • Pulling
  • Squatting
  • Deadlifting
  • Loaded carries

Typically, a HIIT routine pairs 30 seconds of intense activity with 30 seconds of rest right after before moving on to the next activity. The sequence can be repeated a few times to get the maximum benefit.

Some HIIT exercises that people of all fitness levels and ages can try are:

  • Jumping jacks
  • Burpees
  • Push-ups
  • Jump squats
  • High knees

To get started, choose a handful of HIIT exercises for belly fat. Perform one activity for 30 seconds, then rest for 30 seconds. Do the next activity, and then rest. When you finish all the activities, you can repeat the cycle a few more times.

Abdominal Exercises

Because belly fat sticks to the waistline and stomach region, doing some abdominal exercises can help to combat it. They can help to tone and flatten the stomach while providing you with a good source of exercise.

These exercises are great for men and women of any age. Some abdominal exercises for belly fat that you can try at home include:

  • 60-second planks
  • Bicycle crunches
  • Abdominal crunches
  • Leg lifts

Weight and Resistance Training

Weight training is also an important component of burning off belly fat. Since muscles burn off more calories than fat does when the body is at rest, having more muscle tone can help you to burn off more fat. Researchers have also found that resistance training, which includes weight training, can increase lean weight while decreasing fat, and it can boost metabolism at the same time.

Some weight training exercises for belly fat to include in your routine are:

  • Bicep curls
  • Lunges
  • Squats
  • Tricep kick-backs

With these exercises, you can do 12 repetitions with lighter weights, between five and eight pounds. Another option is to use heavier weights with fewer repetitions and rest time between sets.

Safety Considerations

While it’s important to get at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise a day, you don’t want to overtrain and push yourself too hard. Sometimes when you overtrain, your body can produce too much cortisol. This is a stress hormone that is associated with belly fat, so overtraining may actually make it more difficult to burn off belly fat. Just keep in mind the recommendations for moderate regular exercise, and talk with your doctor if you have questions about how else your exercise routine can benefit your waistline.

Sources

Current sports medicine reports: “Resistance training is medicine: effects of strength training on health.”

For Care, Education, and Research: “The 12 Best Exercises to Lose Belly Fat for Men and Women.”

Journal of hepatology: “Effect of aerobic exercise training dose on liver fat and visceral adiposity.”

Mayo Clinic: “Belly fat in women: Taking and keeping it off.”

Rush University: “Losing Belly Fat.”

Texas Health: “Fit After 40: How to Fight Stubborn Belly Fat.”

Crunching the nutritional numbers to help you hit your goals

How to be healthy and lose fat the 3 minute hit health hack that helps burn fat

If you’re looking into macros for weight loss, chances are you think you want to lose weight, right? Makes sense although, more accurately you’re probably looking for the best macros for fat loss .

Do your goals include sculpting lean muscle and learning how to lose body fat? (No, we’re not mind readers – we’ve just got a pretty good suss of how to help you achieve your goals safely and sustainably.)

Enter: macro counting. AKA nutritional number crunching to help quantify the amount of each macronutrient you’re eating.

Learning how to count your macros is nothing new, (especially if you’ve been using our handy macros calculator), however, this approach to healthy eating hasn’t always been as mainstream as it is today. Very much the realm of gym-lovers and bodybuilders, learning how to count your macros for weight loss is only just making it into pop culture.

But, before we get nostalgic over the origins of macro counting, let’s recap on what it actually means.

What are macros?

The word ‘macros’ is shorthand for ‘macronutrients’, a term used to describe the three key food groups you require for your body to function:

  • carbohydrates (to give you energy),
  • fats (to keep you satiated) and,
  • proteins (to build and repair muscle)

Striking the right balance of these macros and being aware of your overall calorie consumption can be the game-changing hack to effectively build muscle, maintain weight or lose fat.

Why do I need protein?

As you might have already guessed, protein is crucial if you want to maintain or build muscle. An important factor of healthy nutrition, adequate protein helps to increase lean body mass by building muscle – the most sustainable path to long-term weight loss.

How to be healthy and lose fat the 3 minute hit health hack that helps burn fat

How to be healthy and lose fat the 3 minute hit health hack that helps burn fat

‘Protein is the building block of all muscles and muscles synthesis,’ says Catherine Rabess, dietitian and NHS dietetic manager. ‘It’s really important to have it in our diet because protein is a source of essential amino acids, which we aren’t able to get anywhere else.’

Amino acids are vital for things like nutrient absorption and tissue repair – both crucial in recovering from exercise. Rabess suggests grabbing some protein within an hour of your workouts. ‘It doesn’t have to be a protein shake or protein bar – a glass of milk or a handful of nuts will get the job done too.’

Why do I need carbohydrates?

Fact: carbs are a necessity. Your body digests them quickly and turns them into sugar, or blood glucose, which you then store in your liver and muscles as glycogen. Together, blood glucose and glycogen fuel high-intensity exercise (e.g. those HIIT workouts at home you’ve been doing) – the kind you need to burn fat and build metabolism-boosting muscle.

Why do I need fat?

Fat makes up cell membranes, promotes nerve and brain health, and increases the absorption of the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K. It also helps protect your bones and organs, as well as being a back-up fuel store for energy. Bonus: it’ll also keep you feeling satiated which cuts back on snacking.

How to be healthy and lose fat the 3 minute hit health hack that helps burn fat

Related

  • Is Sprinting or Distance the Quickest Way to Lose Belly Fat?
  • The Best Exercises for Short Periods
  • Does Cardio Speed Up the Metabolism for Hours?
  • How to Workout on the Elliptical to Slim Legs
  • Does a 1/2-Hour Workout Help You Lose Weight?

High intensity interval training, or HIIT, is a vigorous exercise regimen that involves short bursts of sprinting followed by short periods of rest or low-intense exercise. Using HIIT with a treadmill is an effective way to benefit from this type of training because it’s easy to vary speeds, and inclines if desired. HIIT is a more efficient way to burn fat compared to steady-state exercise as it takes less time and promotes a beneficial after-burn effect. This causes your body to burn calories at an increased rate even after the exercise session ends.

What to Expect

As with any training program, results may vary. However, treadmill HIIT can lead to fast weight loss results; more importantly, fast fat loss results compared to steady-state training at a moderate intensity. A realistic, and attainable, weight loss goal using three 20- to 30-minute HIIT workouts per week is 1 pound per week. You may lose more or less, but this is the average amount of weight loss to expect. Pushing yourself to exercise at near maximal effort will lead to optimal weight loss results. It’s worth noting that HIIT promotes fat loss and helps maintain lean muscle mass, whereas steady-state exercise may lead to small decreases in lean muscle mass over time. It’s the body fat you’re really looking to lose, and losing 1 pound of pure body fat per week will help tighten your waistline fast.

Scientific Research

The benefits of HIIT have been well studied, and the research shows its an effective way to lose weight. One study, published in the Journal of Diabetes Research in 2017, found that HIIT cardio just as effective as longer bouts of steady-state cardio for belly fat loss — but allows you to finish your workout much more quickly. If you struggle to schedule in cardio, HIIT could be a great way to get the same benefits in a fraction of the time.

Safety

Because HIIT is such a vigorous training program, it’s not right for everyone. If you have past or existing cardiovascular problems, talk to your doctor before trying interval training. Additionally, you may decrease your workout intensity during your HIIT workout to keep your heart rate within safe levels as suggested by your doctor. It’s also important to be safe on your treadmill when exercising at such a high rate of speed. Always attach the treadmill belt cut-off key to yourself in case you fall. Finally, warm up with a three-to-five minute moderate jog or walk prior to your HIIT workout, and do the same to cool down afterward. Failing to do so could lead to lightheadedness or nausea.

Sample Workouts

An effective HIIT treadmill workout for beginners takes only five minutes plus a warm-up and cool-down period. Sprint for 30 seconds at near your max speed followed by a 30-second rest period. Repeat this cycle a total of five times. A second HIIT treadmill workout is to utilize the treadmill’s ability to increase the deck angle for a more intense workout. Try jogging on an incline for 30 seconds – the steeper, the better – followed by a 60-second brisk walk at a zero incline. Repeat this interval cycle for a total of 12 minutes. Always take at least a day of rest between HIIT sessions because of its vigorous nature. Your body needs rest to maximize fat loss and promote full muscle recovery.

January 17, 2011 / 8:20 AM / CBS

NEW YORK — In the battle of the bulge, belly fat is an especially tough opponent. But there are actually a number of foods that are great for your taste buds and your waistline. They help you fight belly fat. And you may find this hard to believe, but they’re so delicious, you probably already eat them!

On “The Early Show,” Self magazine Editor in Chief Lucy Danziger not only named the foods Self highlights, she discussed some things Self says you can do without being noticed that can also help, and the opposite – things Self says you may do that can sabotage your efforts.

Belly Fat-Fighting Foods

Merely half of one avocado contains 10 grams of healthy mono-saturated fats, which stop the blood sugar spikes that tell your body to store fat around your midsection.

Not only do healthy fats in avocado help thwart belly bloat, they also help our bodies better absorb carotenoids, cancer-fighting compounds found in colorful fruits and veggies like tomatoes, carrots, spinach and winter squash. In fact, people who ate salads with avocado had 15 times higher absorption of carotenoids, a study from The Ohio State University at Columbus found.

The fruit packs 422 milligrams of potassium, a mineral that can help limit the amount of belly swelling sodium in your body.

A cup encourages the growth of good bacteria in your gut, throwing out other bugs that can cause bloating.

Creamy Greek yogurt is yummy, but it’s also much more than that: Its combo of carbs and protein help stabilize insulin, a hormone that tells your body to store calories as fat when levels get too high.

Antioxidants can improve blood flow, delivering more oxygen to muscles — so ab revealing cardio is easier. Have some yogurt and berries before your workout to get those muscles ready for action.

5. Chocolate Skim Milk

A glass teams carbohydrates with protein to promote muscle building. Drink POST workout to speed recovery. Plus, you are getting that calcium to make your bones stronger. Chocolate milk is not just for kids!

6. Green Tea

Three cups daily may rev up your metabolism and burn 30 calories, a study in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise shows. The compound ECGC in the tea makes it easier to burn fat.

7. Citrus
Supermarket shocker: Vitamin C in colorful produce, like oranges and red peppers can help you zap up to 30 percent more fat during exercise, research from Arizona State University at Mesa suggests.

8. Whole Grains

Carb lovers, Rejoice! The filling fiber in foods like oatmeal, brown rice, and bulgur aids in keeping your body’s insulin levels low. Researchers speculate this may shrink fat cells. Your body absorbs and burns these more slowly for longer-lasting energy than the refined carbs in white bread and rice.

Stealthy stomach slimmers

While you’re working out: On the elliptical or treadmill, keep your back straight, head forward and abs tight. Perfect posture will target your tummy as you sizzle calories.

When you’re in the car: Tighten and release abs repeatedly at red lights. It’s the ab equivalent of Kegels: a little move that yields results almost without your noticing.

When you’re at your desk: Give belly pooch the pink slip with pilates breathing: Gently suck in your gut as if you were buttoning a tight pair of jeans. Then breathe without allowing your abs to relax. Do this for 30 seconds. Repeat five times, advises Michele Olson, Ph.D., professor of exercise science at Auburn University.

When you’re walking Fido: Brace against leash tugging and banish your belly: Keeping torso upright with shoulders back, engage abs for five strides; relax them for five strides. Repeat until you’re back at your front door, says Torri Shack, a trainer in Los Angeles. Check out your (bow) wow abs!

When you’re in bed: Count on compliments, not sheep, with this mattress move: Place palms right below belly button. Exhale and allow stomach to expand. Then inhale, pulling belly button toward spine, drawing abdomen toward the box spring. Hold for 10 seconds. Repeat four times.

Five Saboteurs of Sexy Stomachs:

Don’t make nice. These are your ab-versaries!:

Booze: Feel free to raise a glass-but only one. Women who had one drink a day or less had a smaller belly than both teetotalers and occasional drinkers who had two or more alcoholic beverages in a sitting, a study in the Journal of Nutrition reports. We’ll toast to that!

Time in front of the TV: We love a DVR-athon, too, but people who tuned in for two or more hours daily had weaker back and ab muscles (by up to 10 percent) than those who viewed less than two hours, regardless of their overall activity level, researchers from the University of Oulu note. An hour of tube time is fine, especially if it motivates you to hit the gym. Worthy of watching: Smallville’s Tom “Clark Kent” Welling and Justin “Green Arrow” Hartley, whose super fly abs sure make us want to breathe heavier.

Stressing out:: Feeling frazzled and frantic? Increased levels of the hormone cortisol, a result of chronic worry, lead to excess stomach fat, research shows. To de-stress and weigh much less, learn to breathe. Slowly inhale through your nose, counting to four. Then exhale from your mouth for a count of eight. Repeat until refreshed.

That darned bread basket!: Those fluffy white rolls? They’re your flat-ab foe! When facing a bread basket, check its contents before digging in. If you see whole grains, go for it-in fact, feel free to enjoy 3 ounces a day. (One slice of whole-wheat bread or 1/2 cup of cooked brown rice are each 1 ounce.) Dieters who did so lost more stomach fat than those who merely cut calories and ate refined grains, a study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reveals.

Late-night munchies: We hate to be a Debbie Downer, so think of us as Debbie Downsizer: Pass up p.m. snacks. Your body may not burn nighttime nibbles as efficiently as it does those you eat during the day, a study of high-fat diets in the journal Obesity finds. Declare “last call” two hours before bed. “If you’re really hungry, have a 150-calorie snack,” says self contributing expert Janis Jibrin, R.D. If not, sip tea, cut the lights and bid farewell to the fridge until morning.

First published on January 17, 2011 / 8:20 AM

© 2011 CBS. All rights reserved.

Could this be the magic method we never knew about?

May 14, 2020 10:47am

Tips to reduce belly fat by changing your diet including adding more fibre and protein and reducing carbs.

Tips to reduce belly fat by changing your diet including adding more fibre and protein and reducing carbs.

A doctor developed a simple weight loss hack over a decade ago, which simply uses a towel to burn belly fat. So we asked an expert if it actually works.

We’d try everything to lose belly fat these days.

From hopping on the celery juice trend, to attempting intermittent fasting or the keto diet, there’s nothing we haven’t tried. And yet, that stubborn belly fat won’t seem to budge.

But one less common method many of us haven’t tried yet, is the Japanese towel method.

Over 10 years ago, a Japanese physician named Toshiki Fukutsudzi developed a unique method to get the body in shape. The method claims to help get rid of belly fat, improve posture and strengthen back pain, simply by using a towel.

The reason Fukutsudzi says it works is because he discovered that that an extra layer of fat around the belly is actually a result of misplacement of your pelvic. By correctly exercising this area and the pelvis placement, your waistline is reduced.

Like what you see? Sign up to our bodyandsoul.com.au newsletter for more stories like this.

Can you burn fat by simply using a towel? Image: iStock. Source:BodyAndSoul

How to do the Japanese towel exercise:

1. Take a medium-sized towel and roll it into a cylinder, no less than 38 cm long and approximately 10 cm wide. Wrap it with some sort of string or band so it stays put.

2. Sit yourself down on a flat, hard surface. A yoga mat on the floor will work best. Put the towel behind you.

3. Gently lie down on your back holding the towel so that it is placed at the parallel to your navel, against the small of your back.

4. Place your feet shoulder-width apart. Your toes should be touching each other.

5. Stretch your arms above your head, palms down, with your pinkies touching. Make sure your toes and pinkies are facing each other.

6. Now hold this position for at least 5 minutes.

7. Afterwards, stand up slowly as your bones and joints may have slightly moved during the exercise.

According to Fukutsudzi, you’ll notice results within a month if performed daily.

How to be healthy and lose fat the 3 minute hit health hack that helps burn fat

Results are supposed to be visible after a month. Image: iStock. Source:BodyAndSoul

Does the Japanese towel method actually work?

But as magical as the method sounds, is this just another weight loss hack we should be sceptical about? And how much truth is behind this technique?

According to personal trainer and yoga instructor Kirsten Scott, it’s a little bit more complicated than just losing belly fat.

“All our organs and limbs, including the intestine and stomach, connect to the brain via the vertebral column,” she explains to body+soul. “It is true that misalignment of the bones, reflected in bad posture, can mean that nerve pathways are constricted.

“The part of the spine between the ribs and the small of your back is where the intestine nerves are connected, so if you slouch or push your pelvis too far back, it may result in digestion issues, such as constipation, bloating, gas and acid reflux.”

So… “while constipation and bloating make your belly appear bigger, it is not fat; it’s just the waste that is not being eliminated.”

Basically, some of the weight you may lose as a result of practising the method every day might just be a result of your food baby disappearing.