Welcome to Part II of my ‘blasting your belly fat’ blog! As mentioned in Part I, to start this process you MUST change your diet, this is essential to losing the fat around your middle – it doesn’t matter how many Ab exercises you perform, they are simply never gonna show with that layer of tummy flab. So once you have the calories ‘IN’ under control you need to look at calories ‘OUT’ i.e energy expenditure.
Now, any movement is good, especially if you’re starting from a place where exercise has not been part of your routine. You need to work out appropriately – if you are larger and not used to exercise, just start by walking, adding in hills and intensity as you improve. If you are just out of shape and want to reboot your fitness regime, you need to start adding in variety, either at the gym or at home – or both!
Resistance work (lifting weights) is essential, to improve your muscle mass (which will deteriorate naturally after you hit 30), & therefore burn fat more efficiently, but also to help prevent osteoporosis and simply maintain a strong body.
Today I am talking about fat burning though, so will be looking at some cardio exercises you can do at home (or in the gym or the park – wherever). The key here is INTENSITY. You do not need to spend hours at the gym to achieve great results. The idea is to work out consistently, with little time to recover in between sets, to raise your heart rate and increase your metabolism and calories spent – up to 12 hours after you stop working out – the aim being for your body to use its fat stores as the energy source, this it will do after it has used the more easy to access glycogen stored inn your muscles -this takes a little time though, so 5 mins will not cut it!
By doing ‘compound’ exercises you can target different muscle groups with one movement, saving time and getting results. Many of these can be performed simply by using your body weight, but also if you have a set of dumbbells handy, increasing the resistance will only accelerate your results.(Start with just 1-2 kg’s).
The idea is that you can build up your own ‘arsenal’ of exercises and then mix and match them, to confuse your body to avoid over training and the plateau effect – your body wont even get the chance to get used to a particular way of training and so lose effectiveness associated with doing the same thing over and again (the training effect). By mixing it up like this you also improve your mobility, flexibility, balance and endurance to be able to get to the next level.
So, where do you start?
Always start with a bit of a stretch/warm up, if you do Yoga, a couple of Sun Salutations will suffice (see my Yoga video), or do a cardio warm up by simply jogging on the spot with some knee raises (see home workout video).
You can do exercises by themselves, or ‘superset them’ i.e do one directly after another with no break. For example…
Jumping Jacks followed by pushups (on knees is easier) – just do 10 jumping jacks then go down to the floor and do a push up – perhaps time this for 1 minute, or simply do 3 rounds of these – its up to you.
Also you can ‘pyramid’ these, to add intensity, so start by doing 10 jumping jacks, then go down and do 1 push up (of your choice), next do 9 jumping jacks, then 2 push ups, 8 jumping jacks then 3 push ups and so on. Work up to 5-10 push ups or just as far as you feel able, then work your way back.
The jumping jacks work your cardio (heart rate) and the push-ups are the resistance/strengthening part.
Get-Ups… here you simply lie down, holding 1 are in the air (with a weight if you choose, for extra resistance) – keeping your hand in the air you just ‘get-up’ (only using 1 hand) – this is not as easy as it sounds – do 5 of these and you’ll really feel it!
Likewise ‘Burpees’… start by standing up straight, jump in the air, then go down to the floor in ‘crouch’ position, jump your feet backwards to plank (lower knees to floor to make it easier if you desire), do a push up, (optional!) – then jumping feet back to ‘crouch’ & follow through by standing back up straight and start again, doing as many as you can. 10 of these should be a killer!!
Your legs are the biggest muscle group & can be worked in many different ways.
Squats with shoulder press. Start with your feet hip width apart and parallel, slowly go down to a comfortable squat position, pause then stand back up before pressing 1 arm into the arm like a salute, holding a weight here for extra resistance if you so choose, or when you are ready to progress.
you can do a lunge (working all the legs and butt) and in lunge position do a rotation to one side (again holding a weight for the extra resistance), step back and perform again but otationg to the opposite side. Do this at least 5 times on each side, or if you want top push yourself just do as many as you can keeping correct form. Always ensure the core is engaged so you are also working the mid-section.
All this can be done easily in 20 mins to half an hour – push yourself and give yourself challenges, write down your results and track how you go – The hardest part is STARTING this sort of routine, once you become familiar with it and actually start doing it – well, thats the easy part, when the results start coming, then thats your motivation. Consistency is key, and essential to achieve and continue to get results!