Losing belly fat can be confusing. And with so many different weight loss fitness plans and diets, sometimes it can be tough to tell the facts from fiction. As you move into a healthy lifestyle with proper nutrition and exercise, keep an eye out for these top 10 myths of losing belly fat.
1. Sit ups and crunches will help you lose your belly. It might seem to make sense that if you want to lose belly fat, then you should do exercises that involve your stomach. But this is not true. Fat loss training should involve full body movements that get your heart rate cranked. And sit ups, crunches, and other typical “ab” exercises do not move the body through a great enough range of motion to garner this effect. Abdominal exercises may give you strength in your core area, but they will do little to actually reduce the fat around your waist.
2. You have to count calories to lose weight. It is true that you have to eat less calories than you use for energy in order to lose weight, but you do not have to count your calories to create this deficit. A simpler way is to use basic portion control guidelines that do not require the tedious counting of every calorie you eat. Counting calories can work for losing belly fat, but it is not necessary.
3. You have to follow a low fat diet to lose fat. There are plenty of foods that are high in fat that are good additions to your weight loss diet. Almonds, walnuts, avocados, and extra virgin olive oil are a few examples. The important thing to avoid is trans-fat. Trans-fat is the result of a man-made process and is found in junk foods such as crackers, cookies, and cakes.
4. Jogging is one of the best ways to lose belly fat. Any exercise is better than sitting on the couch. But long slow cardio training such as jogging around your block or on a treadmill, using the eliptical machine, or pedaling a stationary bike while you read a magazine is inferior to other training methods for weight loss. Instead focus on compound movements such as squats, lunges, and push ups performed in high intensity interval or circuit format. Keep in mind that intensity needs to be relative to your personal fitness level – the important thing to remember is that the training should be challenging. If you can read a magazine, watch television, or talk on a cell phone during exercise, then it is not intense enough for optimum fat loss.
5. Losing more than two pounds per week is “too fast”. As long as you are following a good nutrition program that includes real food in appropriate quantity, it is very possible that you will lose more than two pounds per week (especially during the first few weeks of your weight loss journey). As you get closer to your ideal weight, your weight loss may slow down to only a pound or two per week. But in the early stages of losing your belly, losing over five pounds per week is not uncommon when following a good program.
6. You need to spend hours in the gym to lose belly fat. First, you do not need to go to the gym at all. Effective fat loss workouts are possible in your own home without using any equipment. But whether you workout at home or at the gym, ideal fat loss training should be short and intense. If your training session goes much longer than twenty minutes, you are likely lacking the intensity level necessary for the best fat loss workout.
7. Pre-packaged frozen meals are the best thing to eat for losing weight. You’ve seen these cardboard boxes in the freezer section of your grocery store. They have bright colorful labels that say things like “Healthy” and “Lean”. Nearly any prepackaged food is going to include ingredients that are best avoided when trying to lose weight. Instead, focus on real foods that for the most part do not have any packaging. Foods such as broccoli, spinach, asparagus, apples, berries, beef, chicken, and eggs are all examples of foods that are not processed, come with little or no packaging, and are excellent choices for losing belly fat.
8. A “special” workout is the key to weight loss. Maybe you saw the latest action movie so you did an internet search of how the star of the show trained to get in such great shape. Or perhaps you’ve been mesmerized by a late night infomercial that shows a bunch of sweaty smiling people going through a workout with some fancy name that can be shipped to your home as a library of DVD’s. The truth is that diet is the key to losing belly fat. Exercise is certainly important, but it is Robin to diet’s Batman. No amount of working out is going to erase the effects of a crappy diet. For weight loss success, focus on the food you eat.
9. You need the latest shake, bar, potion, or pill to lose weight. You do not need any supplements to lose weight. Again, a diet focused on real food in appropriate quantity is the key to losing your belly fat. Your body needs vegetables and fruit and healthy natural protein sources. It does not need some powder or pill to lose weight.
10. Losing weight is complicated. Losing weight can be confusing with all of the different fat loss programs available. But the only thing that truly works is consistent application of eating less and moving more. It is creating the habits of a healthy diet and regular exercise where the true challenge comes in – the problem is not knowing what to do, but in actually doing it.
There are not many mysteries when it comes to losing belly fat. It comes down to consistently eating real food, training hard, and allowing for adequate recovery. Nearly anything else that you hear about weight loss will likely fall into one of the top 10 myths above.