Muffin top. Belly pooch. Love handles. There are plenty of ways to describe lower belly weight gain, most of them with less-than-desirable nicknames. Everyone would love the secret of how to get rid of a lower belly pooch fast.
If you’re ready to say goodbye to lower belly fat, it’s not enough to try a few sit-ups and call it a day. The hard truth? You can’t spot-reduce belly fat. If you want to lose fat, you have to lose it all over.
Getting rid of stubborn belly fat and sculpting the muscles underneath requires both a healthy diet and ramping up your workouts.
Here, we’ll cover 9 helpful lifestyle and exercise tips to get rid of a lower belly pooch, plus a 15-minute lower ab workout to kickstart your fat burning.
The Guide to Getting Rid of Your Lower Belly Pooch
1. Get 150 Minutes of Heart-Pumping Cardio Per Week
To successfully lose weight all over, you have to shed your “extra layer” of visceral fat to see the muscles underneath. Cardio is a part of this weight-loss equation.
The CDC recommends 150 minutes of heart-pumping cardiovascular exercise per week, which can include anything from jogging, jumping rope, cycling, or a spin class. The good news? There is no “right” way to raise your heart rate, so pick what you like to do.
The bonus is you will strengthen your heart muscle and your stamina. Since heart disease is the number one killer of women in America, taking care of your heart should be high on your self-care list for overall health and calorie burning.
Related: 7 best cardio workouts for weight loss.
2. Fit in HIIT 1-2 Times Per Week
If you are willing to give HIIT a try as part of your cardio prescription, High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is a top choice for anyone looking to get rid of that lower belly pooch.
Here’s how it works: You give maximum effort through quick, intense bursts of exercise followed by short recovery periods. HIIT workouts include some of the best exercises to train and condition both your aerobic and anaerobic energy systems.
This kind of physical activity increases your heart rate and improves your cardiovascular fitness level while burning more fat and calories in less time.
Consider HIIT your intense workouts, which you only need two to three times a week. Combine your HIIT workouts with low-intensity exercise to maximize weight loss.
3. Do Ab-Toning Workouts
While you can’t spot-reduce fat in any area of your body, you can absolutely work to tone (or spot-sculpt) specific areas (especially your lower abs) by using strength training and toning exercises.
Doing core exercises and lower ab workouts will strengthen and tighten your abs and allow you to age gracefully. Strong core muscles are important for better balance and most daily activities.
Related: Belly Fat Blast Challenge
4. Create a Calorie Deficit
It’s fairly straightforward: If you want to lose excess fat and get rid of that lower belly pooch fast, you need to burn more calories than you take in. This is what is referred to as a “calorie deficit”.
In addition to exercise, here are the top three tips for creating a calorie deficit in your diet:
Maintain a balanced diet including real foods such as fruits, vegetables, plants, and foods with five ingredients or less
Cut down on processed foods, such as frozen meals, deli meats, chips, cookies, and other snacks, which are sources of hidden sugars and unhealthy additives
Watch your liquid calorie intake, including teas, sodas, and alcohol
Journaling about your food intake will help you get a sense of what you’re eating and the calories in each meal. If a journal isn’t your thing, try an app like MyFitnessPal.
5. Increase Protein and Fiber Intake
Fiber has a wide range of benefits, including aiding weight loss. Some types of fiber slow the absorption of nutrients, allowing you to feel full longer, therefore consuming fewer calories throughout the day and helping achieve a deficit.
Foods high in fiber include:
Fruits such as raspberries, bananas, avocados, and pears
Vegetables such as peas, broccoli, and turnip greens
Grains such as whole wheat pasta and quinoa
Legumes such as lentils and black beans
Protein is made up of amino acids and helps feed and repair our muscles, among other parts of our body. However, it’s where you are getting your protein that matters most.
Good sources of protein include:
Leafy greens such as kale and spinach
Broccoli and asparagus
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6. Limit Added Sugars and Refined Carbs
It’s true: you can’t out-exercise a bad diet. To maximize weight loss, especially in your lower belly, you need to significantly limit or eliminate added sugars and refined carbohydrates (or “empty” calories).
Foods high in refined carbs include:
White flour (including pasta)
White bread like bread, bagels, and rolls
Pastries, cookies, cakes, muffins
Breakfast foods like waffles and pancakes
Added sugars like those in sugary drinks (such as soda and juice), cookies, muffins, processed meals, fast food, and candy, increase your hunger and desire for more sugar, neither of which make weight loss easier.
That said, natural sugar found in fruits, vegetables, and dairy products is okay since these foods also include other components that slow down how quickly sugar is digested, preventing the harsh spike and drop in blood sugar levels.
7. Drink More Water
On average, you should be drinking at least 8-10 glasses of water a day. If you exercise regularly, add another glass or two to that.
8. Minimize Stress Levels
Although it’s not necessarily the first step in reducing belly fat, chronic stress can certainly be counterproductive to weight loss. Research suggests there is a correlation between high cortisol levels (also known as the stress hormone) and increased abdominal fat.
Some ways to help manage stress include meditation, yoga, breathing exercises, self-care, therapy, and exercise.
9. Get 7-9 Hours of Sleep
You may not think of sleep as being connected to your weight loss journey, but research shows otherwise. A study published in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine found that when dieters got a full night’s sleep, more than half of their weight loss was fat, as opposed to sleep-deprived dieters whose fat loss only accounted for one-fourth of their total weight loss.
Adults should regularly get the recommended 7 to 9 hours of sleep to stay healthy, alert, and energized.
10. Incorporate This 15-Minute Ab Workout To Get Rid of That Lower Belly Pooch
Now that you’ve learned the diet and lifestyle changes needed to reduce fat, here is the 15-minute workout that completes the picture. Perform 2-3 times per week to burn fat and get rid of that lower belly pooch for good.
Perform each of these moves for 1 minute. Take a 1-minute rest afterward—then start from the beginning and do another 1 minute for each move.
Stand with feet a little wider than hip-distance apart, knees bent, and hands held behind the back of your head.
Bend to the right, reaching right hand toward the floor behind your leg. Keep spine long.
Return to center and repeat on the left side.
Start lying on the mat with fingers at the base of your head and elbows pointed out. Bring the soles of your feet together, knees pointed outward.
Tilt your chin slightly forward and squeeze abdominals to lift your chest upward. Keep arms and neck relaxed. Slowly lower down and repeat.
Start by laying on your right side with forearm below shoulder, body lifted and legs long, and feet stacked. Keep body straight, abs tight, and place left hand on hip.
Dip your hips down towards the mat and lift back up, using your obliques and core muscles.
Start lying on the mat with arms over your head and legs long.
Sweep arms out to sides and bring head, neck, and shoulders off the mat reaching arms long and lifting one leg up and in towards the chest. Reaching arms forward on the sides of the leg. Rollback to mat lowering the leg, and repeat on the other side.
Lie on the mat and extend your legs straight up towards the ceiling.
As you exhale, tighten your low belly to push your feet straight into the air. Hips will lift slightly off the mat.
Return your hips and lower back to the mat with control. Use your abdominals vs. momentum to create the movement and avoid rolling onto the neck.
Begin in a forearm plank position with your body in a straight line and abdominals contracted.
Step your left foot out to the left; step your right foot out to the center.
Step your left foot back to center; step your right foot back to the center.
Kneel on the mat on all fours. Reach one arm long, draw in the abs, and extend the opposite leg long behind you.
Bring the elbow and knee in towards your center as you round your back remember to draw in your abs. repeat on another side.
Start lying on mat with arms extended overhead, legs long, and feet flexed.
Inhale as you lift arms up and begin curling chin and chest forward. Exhale as you roll the entire torso up and over legs keeping abs engaged and reaching for toes.
Inhale as you begin rolling your spine back down one vertebra at a time and exhale as the upper portion of the back lower and arms reach pack overhead.
Repeat moving slowly and using the abdominals to lift and lower, not momentum.
Belly fat is the result of various factors, including lack of exercise, poor diet, excess alcohol, stress, genetics, smoking, or poor sleep. For women, extra belly fat may appear as you age due to a decreasing level of estrogen.
For most people, a calorie deficit of 500 calories per day is sufficient for weight loss and unlikely to significantly affect your hunger or energy.
A great way to create a calorie deficit is to fill half of your plate with veggies and the remaining parts with lean protein (salmon, chicken) and some healthy carbs (quinoa, rice.) This will help you with portion control.
Women need 1,600 to 2,400 calories a day, and men need 2,000 to 3,000 calories, according to USDA Dietary Guidelines. However, women generally should not consume fewer than 1,200 calories per day, and men no fewer than 1,500 calories.
Men need between 30 and 38 grams of fiber per day, and women need between 21 and 25 grams per day.
For adults, you should get approximately 0.5 grams of protein per pound of body weight each day. If you are extremely active or an athlete, you can increase to 1 gram per pound of body weight.
Learning how to get rid of belly pooch fast is just the start! If you’re looking for a full-length 30-minute workout that incorporates both cardio and core movements then you’re going to want to try this workout video below.
Bringing to you a full 30-minute Cardio + Core Workout that will torch calories and focus on hitting every muscle in the abs!
Read This Next: 15 Best Ab Exercises for Women
The post How to Get Rid of a Lower Belly Pooch Fast: 10 Tips appeared first on Get Healthy U | Chris Freytag.