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Belly fat busters

May 22, 2019

Our two experts – a personal trainer and clinical dietitian – offer tips in this two-part series

Part I – Exercise tips with Robby Heimann, NCH Wellness Center Certified Exercise Physiologist/Corrective Exercise Specialist

Can you recommend some exercises that help to address belly fat?

Unfortunately, it is not possible to spot reduce and just target belly fat. Exercise has an effect on the entire body, meaning you can build muscle and reduce fat from all over. Making sure that workouts are mainly focused on compound exercises is going to be best. Compound exercises, such as squats and deadlifts are the most effective because you are working multiple muscle groups which require more energy. That means that you’ll be using more energy to burn fat – such as belly fat – when you do them.  

Does strengthening the core help to reduce belly fat?

Strengthening the core will not help to directly reduce belly fat. Having a stronger core will, however, allow you to lift heavier weights, especially when it comes to squats and deadlifts.

Why can’t you spot reduce when exercising?

Excess fat is stored energy in your body. It gets used equally from all over your body and then your muscles use it as the energy to be burned when exercising. Fat in your body is like gas in your gas tank. Thinking that you would be able to only lose belly fat would be like saying you only want to use the gas from one side of your gas tank.

Why do certain people carry more belly fat than others?

It’s mainly due to genetics. Men tend to carry more fat in their midsection, and women tend to carry more fat around their hips and thighs. Everyone puts on body fat in different places on the body. Most people have a tendency to gain fat around their waist because of genetics. If you look at the shape of your parents, that’s most likely going to be the same shape you’ll have. 

What are some tips on reducing overall body fat?

The best way to reduce overall body fat is by regularly exercising and also making sure to have proper nutrition. The best way to exercise is going to depend on each person. If you’re busy and don’t have a lot of time to dedicate to the gym, two to three full body workouts focused on compound exercises each week along with some cardio will be effective. If you have more time and can strength train two to three days a week and then do cardio two to three days that’s even better. The best schedule will be one that works for you.

Do stretching and yoga help belly fat?

Yoga assists in reducing belly fat since it causes you to be more active and burn more calories which is the biggest factor to help drop belly fat. Being in a caloric deficit and burning more calories than you take in are going to reduce belly fat.

Do crunches help?

Unfortunately, crunches will not help reduce belly fat. They will help develop the strength in the abdominal muscles, but they will not have an impact in reducing belly fat. However, doing abdominal exercises and reducing belly fat will eventually help you show off a lean and toned stomach.

Where does belly fat come from? 

Excess fat comes from an overconsumption of calories. If a person is eating more calories than they need to maintain their body weight, they’re going to put on more body fat. 

Learn more about the NCH Wellness Center’s programs, equipment and specially trained staff that can help you achieve all of your fitness goals. Call 847-618-3500 to become a member.