Exercise and a healthy diet can help you reduce body fat, but it can be hard to target problem areas. If you want to lose belly fat or target body fat in other areas, here's how to do it.
1. Eat a Healthy Diet
A healthy diet is key to any weight loss program. Lower your calorie intake, but don't starve yourself; eat at least 1,300 calories per day. Most adults require 2,000 calories per day.
Fats should make up no more than 25 to 35% of your daily caloric intake. You should try to eat mostly monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats; saturated fats should make up no more than 7% of your daily intake. Trans fatty acids should make up less than 1% of your daily intake.
A healthy diet also includes plenty of fruits, vegetables, nuts and legumes, as well as low fat dairy and lean meat products. The USDA recommends eating five servings of fruits and vegetables per day, and six to eleven servings of whole grains per day. If you get hungry between meals, you can satisfy your hunger with healthy snacks like nuts, peanut butter, low fat yogurt, unsalted and butter free popcorn, or low sodium beef jerky.
You can use Fitday to track the food you eat and your daily calorie count.
2. Get Plenty of Aerobic Exercise
Aerobic exercise encourages your body to burn stored fat as fuel. While strength training exercises might tone muscles, they won't help burn body fat from problem areas. You can do dozens of sit ups and crunches per day, and while you might have toned abdominal muscles, you won't be able to see them, because they'll be buried under a layer of fat. Aerobic exercise increases your heart rate and forces your body to use energy.
Your body won't begin to burn stored fat as fuel until you've elevated your heart rate for at least twenty minutes continuously. Until that point, your body is simply burning the calories from the food you ate that day; after that point, you're burning calories stored as fat. Therefore, you'll need to perform aerobic activities for at least thirty minutes at a stretch in order to burn any calories.
3. Use Strength Training Exercises to Target Problem Areas
You can use strength training exercises in combination with aerobic exercise to target problem areas such as the abdomen, thighs and buttocks. Strength training exercises can tone the muscles in these areas, while aerobic exercises help burn off the body fat. Remember, you can't lose body fat from just one area at a time; you'll lost fat throughout your entire body. Some areas may have higher concentrations of body fat, and these stores of fat will be the last to go.
Strength training can also help reduce your risk of injury during exercise, because it strengthens joints and improves balance. It can also increase your endurance and stamina, which will improve your ability to perform the aerobic exercises that help burn fat. Strength training also raises your metabolism, which means you'll continue to burn more calories even when you're resting, and this can be vital to weight loss.