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A Healthy Approach to Six Pack Abs

How do you lose belly fat? That seems to be the million-dollar question. A firm, flat stomach is the ultimate symbol of sex appeal. But researchers have also found that losing abdominal fat is one of the most important things you can take to stay healthy for life.

While you probably realize that excess fat is unhealthy, you should also know that where the fat is distributed is key to health. People who are fattest in the abdomen (the so-called apple shaped body) have a greater risk of heart disease and diabetes than those with pear shapes (fattest in the hips, buttocks, and thighs).

You won’t be surprised to learn that the best way to lose abdominal fat is to eat right and exercise regularly. And there's a growing body of evidence showing that the quickest way to burn off the fat from your belly is with a mix of weight-training and aerobic exercise.

One study tracked 30 obese women for six months. The women were assigned to either a control group, an aerobic exercise group, or a combined exercise group. The aerobic exercise group did a full hour of cardio exercise for six days a week. The combined exercise group did weight training on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, and aerobic exercise on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays.

At the end of the six-month period, the women in the aerobic group had lost 23.1 cm of abdominal subcutaneous fat while the combined group lost 61.8 cm, nearly three times as much. The combined group also did better on the abdominal visceral fat measure with 93 cm lost compared to 82 for the aerobic only group. There was no change in the control group.

How do you lose belly fat starts with developing a combined exercise plan that is strenuous? 30 minutes a few times a week won’t cut it. You need a full body training program combining cardiovascular and resistance exercises. You don’t need to do hundreds of crunches, sit ups or any of the complicated routines being touted by the “six pack abs” hype machine. The key to losing belly fat is to burn more calories than you eat. These fancy exercises don’t burn the kind of calories you need in order to be really successful.

Getting killer abs has a lot less to do with training and everything to do with lowering your total body fat. The next step is to eat the right foods. There is a lot of conflicting information on nutrition. From the Atkins “eat no carbs” people to those who eschew all fats, there are radicals on every side.

How do you lose belly fat starts with taking in enough protein to maintain muscle mass. At least 20 to 30 percent of your diet should come from fats. Then, you balance your carbs around the other two factors depending on whether you want to lose weight or not. And if you are trying to lose belly fat, you do want to lose weight. You must take in fewer calories than you burn.

How do you lose belly fat? Basically, if you lose the excess fat in your system, your belly will go away too, allowing your abs to show.

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