Losing belly fat is no easy task if you're metabolically broken. Millions of people every year fail at losing belly fat and blame themselves, their programs, and even other people. If you're struggling with unwanted jelly around your belly, then I've got the best news ever for you today…
You can, and will, find out how to lose your unwanted belly fat in the next few minutes. Plus, I'm going to show you why all the gimmicky fat loss programs don't work, and how you can avoid them forever. Sound good?
Well, let's dig in.
The first thing to “get” when getting rid of belly fat is knowing exactly what you're dealing with here. Most people jump the gun and want to know HOW to do something, without knowing the WHAT first.
So what is this unsightly belly fat, and where does it come from?
I opened by saying that losing belly fat is no easy task if you're metabolically broken. This is because the #1 culprit behind the extra fat storage around the midsection has nothing to do with crunches, but EVERYTHING to do with hormones.
Hormones are chemical messengers that communicate information throughout your body and literally direct your metabolism. Any breakdown in function here, or misfiring by your hormones, can spell DISASTER for your waistline.
This should be an epic “Ah-ha!” moment for you… It's not about calorie maintenance, or exercise maintenance, it's 100% about hormone maintenance.
What your hormones are doing will determine whether you can easily reduce caloric intake and feel good or turn into a mindless zombie with one objective… To eat. Hopefully not brains, but you get the picture.
You have to STOP thinking in terms of calories, and START thinking in terms of hormones.
The big player in the storage of fat around your midsection is a hormone that you and I both know and love… let's give it up for our friend insulin! (Que the hand clapping).
Insulin is your body's major fat-storing hormone, so take a picture, write it down, file it away in your mental roledex under “Important”. Whatever you need to do, just please remember this.
You hear fat-storage, and you probably think, “Oh no, none for me, thank you.” But insulin is also your companion because it helps your body to store energy and build attractive lean muscle too.
So guess what, insulin is the biggest double-edged sword of all time. You need it to build muscle (your body's fat-burning machinery), yet it will also encourage your body to store more of the jiggly stuff if you use it the wrong way.
Fat storage around the waistline is a classic sign of insulin resistance.
Here's a quick version of how insulin works: You eat food, then your blood glucose levels rise which sends a message to your pancreas to start pumping out insulin. Insulin is able to signal your cells to open up and receive the glucose (sugar) that's floating around in your bloodstream. Insulin regulates how much glucose gets allocated where in your body (fat cells, muscles cells, or your liver). Depending on how insulin sensitive you are, the glycemic index of the foods you eat, your lean muscle mass, and several other factors, determines how likely your body is to store the “energy” around your waistline.
The biggest insight here is that this glucose is potential belly fat if not handled by insulin properly.
Your muscle cells are significantly more insulin sensitive than your fat cells (this is a GREAT thing if you know what to do with it). But if you have a lack of lean muscle on your frame, and/or you're insulin resistant due to diet and lifestyle factors, then your muscle cells become less insulin sensitive and your fat cells become more insulin sensitive. Now guess where the storage is going to go…? That's right, in your fat cells.
Even if you're lean other places on your body, if you're carrying fat around your waistline, then you definitely have some insulin resistance issues at one level or another.
Where the wild things are.
The other component of knowing EXACTLY what you're dealing with when we talk about belly fat is the type of fat that it is. There's 2 types of fat that come into the equation here: visceral fat and subcutaneous fat.
Subcutaneous fat is the fat just beneath your skin that you can easily grasp with your hand. Is it an issue? Yes, but not nearly as much as the visceral fat.
Visceral fat lies deep within the abdominal cavity where it essentially becomes a big padding in the spaces between our abdominal organs. This is the fat that really makes your stomach look big and puffy. You want to put your attention on getting rid of the visceral fat, and here's why…
Visceral fat has been proven to be a HUGE player in a variety of health problems. It's been linked to cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, and numerous metabolic disturbances.
The issue is not that it just looks unattractive, but all of this visceral fat actually starts working like a brand new bodily organ! This fat “padding” that you've grown begins producing it's own hormones and heavily disrupting normal metabolism.
For example, the extra belly fat produces more of a hormone called leptin (your body's satiety hormone). This will cause a down-regulation in your leptin sensitivity, which will actually make you want to eat MORE food even though you're storing fat like crazy.
And if that isn't enough, this belly fat pumps out immune system chemicals called cytokines which create systemic inflammation causing you to be puffy, bloated, and radically increasing your risk for cardiovascular disease.
Having this extra belly fat is truly is a vicious circle, and the more you have of it, the more it wants to stick around.
The secret to all of this is breaking the vicious circle in a strategic and smart way. By following the crowd who are trying to use the next new diet fad, supplement, or back-breaking exercise to do this, you're guaranteed to be one of those people that loses some weight, but can't get rid of that belly to save your life.
It's not about doing more. It's about doing things that work, in an intelligent way that helps you to keep the results long-term. To achieve this you've got to follow the 10 Flat Belly Golden Rules.
The 10 Flat Belly Golden Rules
1. Manage Insulin. Insulin can be your best friend or worst enemy when it comes to fat loss. You've got to make it a priority to manage insulin like a major league coach manages his players.
Eat lower glycemic index (GI) foods as a general rule, and combine higher GI foods with lower ones to lower their net impact on your body. The secret is you've got to know WHEN to eat your sweet/starchy stuff, not forget about them all together.
Time your meals with your exercise to get the benefits of insulin. After a weight training session, put the sweet/starchy foods in the game. This is your golden opportunity to have insulin partition the sweets you eat to your muscles and not your fat cells. For the majority of the other meals you eat, keep your fundamentally sound players in the game by focusing on protein, healthy fat, and carbs mainly in the form of non-starchy vegetables.
In The Fat Loss Code I help you to uncover the right nutrition plan for YOUR body type and match up your nutrition with your exercise to make sure that the muscle cells are getting the sugar storage and not the fat cells.
2. Exercise for a positive hormonal response. Research shows that doing traditional, long duration cardio actually down-regulates thyroid function making you LESS efficient at burning calories.
The funny thing is, most unsuccessful people trying to get rid of their belly fat believe that doing more cardio is the key. Nothing can be further from the truth, and the research show it conclusively.
You want to start looking at exercise as a means of getting the hormonal shift you want, instead of trying to burn more calories. Your hormones will, and always will, determine how many calories your body burns, stores, or ignores. If you focus on getting a positive hormonal response through exercise, then you are setting yourself up to burn more fat automatically. Number 3 will tell you how to do it.
3. Lift heavy things. O.K., so lifting weight makes you more insulin sensitive, stimulates GLUT4 making your muscles absorb more of the carbs you eat, makes you burn away glycogen stores more efficiently (meaning you can eat carbs and not worry about them getting stored as fat), AND it makes you look firm, toned, and fit versus the skinny-fat, soft look of losing weight by doing cardio.
If these aren't enough reasons to get off the treadmill and pick up a barbell, then you need a serious intervention :).
Now when I say, lift heavy things, I don't mean jumping around with 5 pound dumbbells, and I don't mean lifting a weight that you can do 20+ times. If you're going to get the hormonal response you want to burn belly fat, then you need to put a load on your body that FORCES your body to secrete those hormones.
Your body's not going to do it unless the load is heavy enough… otherwise, you're just going through the motions. Most guys get this pretty easily, but a lot of women need a little convincing because of misconceptions they've picked up along the way. The women you see on the covers of fitness magazines looking tone, fit, and petite, they're definitely lifting heavy weights. The women you see that are built like the Incredible Hulk, with nothing to differentiate them from guys (except their breast implants) they're definitely taking male hormones. So unless you don't plan on seeing Vinny in the back of your local gym for some roids, then you don't have to worry about it. Lift heavy, look amazing.
4. Eat micronutrient-rich foods everyday. This is one of the most effective tools in long-term fat loss that will keep you from going crazy. If you haphazardly cut calories, then your metabolism will respond by slowing down and conserving more energy.
To trump this, you need to eat MORE food and get in MORE nutrition. You need to eat lots and lots of foods that contain high amounts of mirconutrients (vitamins, minerals, trace minerals, phytonutrients, enzymes, etc). These critical nutrients will help the hormonal signaling in your body like nothing else can. They will help with leptin sensitivity, thyroid function, detoxification and more. This will effectively allow you to eat fewer “calories” but bring in far more nutrition.
By the way, nutrient deficiency consistently breeds over eating. If you're deficient in selenium, zinc, and B Vitamins for example, and in comes a bagel… yes, you're getting some food in your gut, but your body didn't get the nutrient it requires. So guess what, you're hungry again an hour later and looking for ANOTHER quick source of calories to satisfy you. You're body is going to keep making you want to eat until it gets the raw materials it needs to rebuild you. Make sense? So how about just eating the mircronutrient-rich foods in the first place!
5. Get the area “clean” behind the abdominal wall. Visceral fat isn't the only thing that will have your belly poking out and entering the room before you do. Having undigested and poorly processed waste in your digestive tract can create an epic distended belly too.
You've got to make sure that your digestive tract is clean, clear, and efficient (especially your colon). Your colon is your body's sewage system, and if things get backed up there, then you've got a HUGE problem in the rest of your house.
The majority of people in our modern world have impacted waste material in their digestive tract. They often feel bloated, heavy, and generally puffy around the midsection. And just because someone has a bowel movement everyday does not mean that they are properly eliminating their food.
If you've spent anytime at all in your life consuming low quality foods with preservatives, artificial ingredients, and other gnarly stuff routinely put in our food supply, then you definitely need to take some time to clean house.
A few years back, hardly anyone heard of doing a “cleanse” or “detoxing”. But now, it's become such an overused and misleading term that people have no clear idea what it means.
An intelligent cleanse must eliminate hormonal clogs, clear the body's major eliminatory channels (kidneys, colon, skin, lungs, and the liver), and deeply fortify the cells with nutrition. Does this sound like the “Master Cleanse” to you?
I don't think so!
Again, if you just haphazardly cut calories then you'll slow your metabolism long-term, and set yourself up for failure. When it comes to cleansing you've REALLY got to know what your doing. The “Master Cleanse” is great, but you'll lose the weight, then gain it all back, then think that you need to do the “Master Cleanse” again… That's a viscous circle that you'd better keep yourself out of.
I've got some important cleanse secrets here, but my exclusive, detailed program that's helped countless people is only available for my personal clients and The Fat Loss Code members. Bottom line, getting clean is a secret to getting lean. Get a plan that works and won't screw you up long-term.
6. Use sleep as a “secret sauce”. A study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism showed startling evidence that just one night of sleep deprivation can make you as insulin resistant as a type-2 diabetic. The results may be temporary, but having this happen consistently will set you up for full-blown diabetes, obesity, and even early death.
Sleep is serious business, but one of the EASIEST things that you can improve right away. I've got a powerhouse article on it right here: Sleep Problems? Here’s 21 Tips To Get The Best Sleep Ever And if you'd rather listen to the audio version, I've got part 1 for you right here: Help Me Sleep! – 21 Ways To Cure Your Sleep Problems (Part 1)
Sleep is the force multiplier of fat loss. The better your sleep quality, the faster you'll lose that gut.
There's numerous reasons why, but here's two of the big ones: systemic healing and hormone optimization.
News flash: You don't get in shape in the gym! You break your body down, get a “pump”, and create an environment that your body needs to change and adapt from. You don't adapt while you're up walking around… just being awake in and of itself is a catabolic process. You're body adapts, heals, and changes from the work you put in from your workout while you're sleeping.
Your most significant hormone secretions that help keep you fit, vibrant, and youthful also happen during different levels of sleep. If you need to, read that sentence again, because it's hugely important and commonly looked over.
Sleep is really the “secret sauce” to getting the results you want. So many people make the mistake of sacrificing their sleep to workout, unaware that they are like Sisyphus pushing the boulder uphill, only to have it roll back down again. Adjust your schedule to get your sleep in AND exercise because there's always a way to make it happen. You may need to start by not watching so many episodes of The Walking Dead… unless, of course, you're practicing to be one of them.
7. Unravel your stress. There are so many studies linking stress to obesity that it's almost absurd. The crazy thing is that most people are not internalizing this. To put it simply, you can eat your way to being fat, but you can also stress your way to being fat.
The research shows that stress can add to your belly fat problem in several different ways. The smoking gun is the higher concentration of the stress hormone cortisol in your system when you're in a chronically stressed state. Cortisol can hurt you many ways: It can breakdown your valuable lean muscle and use it for energy (a process called glyconeogenesis), it can directly cause increased fat storage, and it can down-regulate certain fat burning hormones that you really need.
We live in a world of heightened stress today that our ancestors never had to deal with: radiation, air pollution, electromagnetic fields, excessive work hours, countless hours spent sitting, internal inflammation due to poor food quality, and the list goes on and on.
Then you throw the wrong kind of exercise on top of that, and you're looking at the straw that broke the camels back. Yes, exercise can be amazing for us, but it is a huge potential stressor. If you're going to get the results you want in our world today, then you've got to have a strategy to neutralize the stress in your life. It doesn't have to be hard, as a matter of fact, it's best that it's not hard. Restorative Yoga, leisure walking, meditation, Tai chi, and Qigong are all viable choices. And one of the BEST ways to reduce the stress hormones in your body is to laugh. So stop being so serious and put a big smile on your face while you go to number 8.
8. Be an activist for activity. Recently I did a popular article regarding the side effects of sitting too long. The research actually SHOCKED me. Not only does it increase your likelihood of lower back pain, muscle loss, and obesity, the data also showed that sitting on your butt too much drastically increases your risk of cardiovascular disease and early death.
As a matter of fact, the research shows that sitting too much may be even worse for your health than smoking. And if you're sitting AND smoking then you'd better have the hospital on speed dial.
The bottom line is, sitting too much is one of those overlooked things that decreases your insulin sensitivity, and thus makes you store more fat around your waistline. The solution?
Get up!!! No seriously, get up and be more active throughout the day. Find clever ways of doing more non-exercise activity to keep your mind and body in action.
You can nullify a lot of your results from eating well and exercising if you're not being an activist for activity, so take action on tips like these to be more active throughout the day: Sitting Vs. Smoking
9. Use smart abdominal training. If you've ever heard the saying that you simply can't “spot treat” then you've been told wrong. I know people say it, because I used to say it, and I still do say it from time to time.
When I tell someone they can't spot treat it's because 99% of people need to get the foundational stuff down first to become an efficient fat burner. I don't want them to get seduced by doing fancy abdominal exercises and waste their time doing things that only get a fraction of the results.
Your body burns fat as a WHOLE, it doesn't have fat evaporate from your belly just because you've got on one of those ridiculous waist wraps. Oh, I REALLY don't like those things!
It's just marketing folks, and wearing some contraption around your waist while you're working out is actually going to inhibit your core muscles from working properly to make the changes you really want. So take that sweaty waist wrap off!
Alright, now that I've gotten that out of the way let me share with you the best exercises for abdominal fat loss. It's 2 words: compound movements. Exercises that involve numerous muscles at the same time. Why? Because muscle is your body's fat burning machinery, and the more muscles that get involved, the more metabolic output you can potentially get.
These movements typically involve your core indirectly, allowing you to stimulate the muscles from multiple angles (as a bonus). So squats, deadlifts, push ups, pull ups, lunges, overhead press, and variations of these foundational exercises are essential.
And add to the mix “vacuuming” exercises that help to shrink the size of your waist directly, and you've got a powerful exercise recipe to transform the shape of your body. The kingpin of vacuuming exercises is the static hold (or plank) IF you're doing them properly. Abdominal work is needed to train and strengthen the muscles around your midsection, but it won't matter much if you're carrying around a lot of extra belly fat (you'll just have rock hard muscles underneath an apron of fat). There is a way to “spot treat” your belly fat through exercise, but it's pretty advanced, and something that I share once you reach the appropriate level inside The Fat Loss Code.
10. Have a guide. If you don't know what you're doing, for goodness sake, just get some assistance! Seriously, every body needs it. No matter how “new” or advanced you are. If there is an area that you want to get to that you haven't been before, then intelligent guidance can save you years of struggle and failure.
Failure is a great teacher if you're aware of it, but you're not supposed to learn from your own failures alone. Invest in working with great teachers who have been there before you… who know the obstacles along the way… who can give you the specific action steps to make your journey much shorter (and results coming even faster).
I'm a big believer in having the student become the teacher. What good is having knowledge that can help somebody if you don't share it wholeheartedly? So unlike other programs that complicate things and withhold information, I share everything I have in The Fat Loss Code, and break even the most complex ideas down into easy, digestible things that you can use. Find out more about The Code here now: The Fat Loss Code
My goal is for YOU to become the expert on your body, and for YOU to no longer be dependent on someone else to help you get the results you want. With information like what you have here in this article and in The Fat Loss Code you can be able to, not only help yourself, but be an example and teacher to the people in your life. We can reach so many more people to help spread the message of health and wellness if we all work together… and that just excites me to my core!
I hope that you enjoyed The 10 Flat Belly Golden Rules. If you have anything you'd like to add or share, or any questions at all, please leave them in the comments sections below.