11 Ways to Reduce Body Fat: From Health Experts
Just the right amount of fat in all the right places can be a good thing. But when you’re squeezing into clothes, and can’t sit down without your tummy tumbling over your belt, then you know it’s time to address how much you actually have. This doesn’t mean you necessarily have to lose weight, but it does mean that you have to burn off the excess soft stuff and ensure you have some firmness to your figure, especially because excess belly fat can be linked to heart disease, diabetes, liver failure, depression and dementia. So, what can you do?
Get the inside scoop on what’s happening in the world of weight loss from experts who know just what triggers excess fat.
1. Cut out the junk food.
“When you want to burn fat from your midsection it’s important to first look at what you’re eating,” says Kit Rich, who is a celebrity trainer and co-owner of SHIFT by Dana Perri. “Before anything else, decrease the amount of sugar, alcohol and processed, starchy foods in your diet. Then replace these foods with high-protein foods and healthy fats like butter, ghee and coconut oil. Not only will this strategy boost satiety, which aids weight loss, it will also help the body burn fat.”
2. Incorporate vinegar
Incorporate apple cider vinegar into your daily diet for an added boost of health. “Foods that help keep blood sugar stable aid fat loss,” says Lauren Slayton, MS RD founder of Food trainer in NYC. “When blood sugar rises, insulin is secreted. The more insulin secreted the more fat we store.”
Mix 1 tablespoon ACV in water and top with some cinnamon. Bonnie Micheli and Tracy Roemer, who are the co-founders of Shred415, suggest mixing some hot water with a tablespoon of ACV, along with ½ a tablespoon of lemon juice and a teaspoon of honey. “It suppresses your appetite and reduces water retention,” Micheli and Roemer say.
3. Get some hemp in.
“Omega 3 fatty acids found in wild salmon, walnuts, chia and hemp seeds increase lipolysis so you lose fat instead of storing it,” explains Slayton.
4. Up your amount of thermogenesis
To boost the amount of thermo genesis in your diet, consume lean proteins and cruciferous veggies, which will burn more calories as you digest them. “If most of your diet came from these two food sources, you’d work off a couple hundred calories per day just digesting your food—which is what you’d burn on an hour long walk. Ultimately this can help you decrease body fat,” says Juan Carlos Santana, owner of the Institute of Human Performance in Boca Raton, Florida.
5. Make sure to stay hydrated.
“One of the most under-appreciated magic fat-burning elixirs is water,” notes Ajia Cherry, who is the personal trainer and Founder at Functional Innovative Training. “As soon as you wake up in the morning, grab a glass. Every time you eat, drink a full glass of water before and during bites. The more water you drink, the fuller you will feel, the easier it is to cut back on unnecessary calories. That’s an essential element of weight and fat loss,” she says. And other trainers agree with this ideology. “Every chemical reaction in your body needs water,” says celebrity trainer and creator of Methodology X Dan Roberts. “Even if you’re just mildly dehydrated, that could affect your fat metabolism and your performance in the gym.”
6. Eat your biggest meal of the day after you workout.
Big workouts call for a good recovery, which means giving your body the carbs and starches it needs in order to replenish blood-sugar levels as well as to stop your muscles from breaking down. When your body wants energy after an intense session, it’s important to adhere to that, especially since your insulin sensitivity and metabolism are highest.
7. Pick a time to cheat.
Looking forward to a night out complete with dinner and drinks? Though this can feel indulgent, it’s important that you treat yourself. However, you need to ensure you’re eating right to make up for it. “One meal won’t kill your goals, but being consistently inconsistent will. Get constant with good habits and plan ahead if you’re going to cheat,” notes Kelvin Gary, who is the founder of New York City’s Body Space Fitness.
8. Don’t drink or eat anything labeled “diet.”
Diet versions of your favorite sugary drinks are no better than drinking the regular stuff. And recent studies concur, which have found a link between consuming diet sodas and the expansion of waist circumferences. Also, the journal Obesity noted that those who drink diet sodas have a higher percentage of belly flab than those who don’t consume the beverage do.
9. Try out circuit training
Rather than do cardio every day, incorporate HIIT workouts. “High-intensity circuit training with dynamic movements is one of my favorite ways to build muscle and burn fat all over the body, says Rich. “There is no possible way to spot-reduce fat, so it’s important to train the entire body to lose fat overall. Performing moves like burpees, jump squats, mountain climbers and fast push-ups are great examples. If you have 40 minutes to work out, do twenty minutes of cardio and twenty minutes of circuit resistance training. You’re sure to see the difference in your body.”
10. Get more active
“When a client comes to me looking to go down a size or lose fat around their midsection, I’ll often suggest that they do more cardio,” notes Cherry. “Many assume that they need to increase their number of abdominal exercises, but the reality is cardio is the most effective strategy—and it doesn’t all have to take place in the gym. Walk more, take the stairs, get up every hour at work. All this extra movement will help to strip away the layers of fat covering your abdominal muscles.”
11. Eat up some nuts.
“Nuts like pistachios aid in fat loss because they’re a good source of protein and fiber,” says Tammy Lakatos Shames, RDN, CDN, CFT, co-author of The Nutrition Twins’ Veggie Cure. “These nutrients stave off hunger and ward off energy crashes that lead to sugar cravings and binges. Plus, they’re one of the lowest-calorie nuts. I suggest opting for the in-shell variety. Seeing the leftover shells is a visual reminder of how much you’ve already eaten, which can potentially curb your intake,” she continues.