With millions of search results being generated for “how to lose belly fat for women” and “how to get six pack abs,” it would be safe to say that men and women are obsessed with having a flat stomach and a sculpted midsection. Unfortunately, not all of the belly fat loss information available online is reliable. Don’t be too disappointed though, because there are just as many helpful articles on how to achieve belly fat loss on the web. You just have to understand some basic facts about your abdominal muscles first before you can fully grasp the mechanics of belly fat loss.
Abdominal Anatomy 101
Your abdominals run from the bottom of your chest all the way to your pelvis and pubic area. The most prominent abdominal muscle is the rectus abdominis, which extends vertically between the pubis and the fifth, sixth, and seventh ribs. A well-defined rectus abdominis is what is referred to as a six-pack (or eight-pack).
The external obliques hug the sides of your abs, running diagonally from your lower ribs to your hipbone. Men tend to deposit fat over the external obliques. The internal obliques, on the other hand, start at your pelvis and end at the base of your ribs. Finally, the transverse abdominis, which sits under your rectus abdominis, forms the backbone of your six-pack.
Exercises for Belly Fat Loss
Your six-pack is hidden under the layer of fat in your belly. If you want to achieve belly fat loss and expose your rectus abdominis, you will need to combine a variety of extension, functional, stabilization, and traditional exercises. Extension exercises are performed to strengthen your lower back muscles, which enhance the agility, stability, and strength of your trunk. Raising your arms and legs at the same time above the floor while lying on your stomach is an example of an extension exercise.
Functional exercises, as the name suggests, resemble the movements done in everyday life. They target almost all of your abdominal muscles and stabilize your body while you are moving. Cable chops and exercises performed on a stability ball are examples of functional exercises. Stabilizing exercises draw your transverse abdominis into your spine and boost the stability of your lower back. Planks, side planks, and reverse planks are examples of stabilizing exercises.
Crunches or sit-ups are traditional ab exercises. Contrary to popular belief, crunches generate the least amount of muscle activity among all abdominal exercises. For best results, add all four types of abdominal exercises to a regular workout regimen that includes aerobic exercises, anaerobic exercises, and strength training.
Foods for Belly Fat Loss
The book Flat Belly Diet suggests that increasing your intake of monounsaturated fat, which is found in foods like avocados, dark chocolate, flax, nuts, olives, and seeds can help minimize the accumulation of belly fat and subcutaneous fat as well as control satiety. Consuming vegetable juice can also help boost your belly fat loss efforts. But remember: there is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all-diet. What may work for others may not necessarily work for you.