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Losing That Stubborn Tummy Fat

Belly fat can be very difficult to lose.

Whether you gained a few pounds over the holiday season, just had a baby, or you're finally committing to losing the stomach you've built up over the years, it's doable, according to trainer Nikki Kimbrough of Bally Total Fitness.

With any exercise routine, you are unlikely to have success unless you focus on your diet and nutrition at the same time, Kimbrough says. There are many diets that work, but it's important to find one that make sense for you and that will be easy for you to stick to.

Unless you're genetically blessed with flat abs, you can do all the crunches in the world, but without proper nutrition and cardiovascular exercise, a flat stomach is nearly impossible, Kimbrough points out.

She recommends a particular diet plan to clients looking to lose weight and inches in the stomach area:

  • It's important to keep excess sugar, sodium and processed foods out of your diet. These high-glycemic ingredients activate the insulin in your body and turn into fat, which can eventually wind up as that spare tire or flabby tummy. It's important to eat complex carbohydrates, in foods such as yams and brown rice.
  • Fiber-rich foods, and fiber-rich leafy vegetables help give you energy to do cardiovascular and abdominal exercises. Leafy vegetables are great, because they also have very few calories.

    The combination of diet, cardio and strength training exercises will help kick-start your body to lose that belly fat.

  • You always want to combine a source of protein and a complex carbohydrate with every meal. Or you can substitute "good fats," such as nuts, seeds and foods made with olive oil, for the carbs.
  • Water is incredibly important. Drink it abundantly. You should exclude fruit juices in order to help limit sugar intake.
  • Five to six small meals a day, every two to three hours, is the best way to go. The body digests food more efficiently this way, and you're less likely to succumb to sugary snacks, because you're not as hungry.

    Kimbrough says you should make sure to incorporate 30 to 45 minutes of cardiovascular exercise into your workout three to four times a week. It will help you shed pounds, increase your metabolism and improve your cardiovascular health.

    A total body workout is very effective in eliminating belly fat. Pilates movements, squats, lunges, compound exercises and good, old-fashioned pushups are all very effective for the stomach, because you're using your core muscles to help support your weight. For example, when you do a pushup, you have to keep your abdominal or core muscles tight when lowering your body to the ground. After the pushups, go straight into the plank position, which also engages your core muscles to help flatten the tummy.

    As always, the first thing you should do is check with your doctor before you start any exercise routine.

    Some specific exercise routines:

    1. Push up straight into a plank position on the mat. This exercise is a compound exercise that includes the arms and legs as well as the core muscles, all critical to eliminating body fat.
    2. Ball Tucks: While sitting on the Resist-a-ball, do tucks to strengthen both the lower and upper abdominals.
    3. Using a medicine ball, you can twist and throw for an advanced workout. In a sitting position, you twist to strengthen the obliques and throw the ball to get a full body workout.
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