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How to Get Rid of that Gut

Updated on January 6, 2010

Big Heavy Gut = Less Sex Life

Belly fat is the worst! Spot reducing lower abs is virtually impossible! By this, I mean, there is no magical way to zap fat from your gut area. To reduce that protruding gut, you'll need to reduce overall body fat, and even then, there's no promise you'll be happy with the results. But, toning up will make that area look a lot better.

The body has four major abdominal muscles. One runs along the length of the torso, between the sternum to the pelvis area, and is called the rectus abdominis. Many people think it's a waste of time to exercise the upper half of this long, wide, flat muscle. While others believe regular crunches work the upper rectus fibers and reverse crunches hit the lower fibers.

Additionally, there are two types of body fat: subcutaneous (pinchable) fat that can be found just under the skin surface. Visceral fat develops deep inside the abdomen, known as belly fat, and interferes with the body's liver function. Specifically, visceral fat hampers processing cholesterol and insulin, and can compromise other tissue and system functions. Recently, the University Medical Center, found definite links between belly fat and capillary inflammation (a contributing factor to heart disease), and insulin resistance (known to be a pre-cursor to diabetes).

The flow of fat from arms, legs, and hips to the stomach area is natural and part of the aging process. Estrogen levels in women, and testosterone levels in men control fat allocation and keeps it away from the abdomen, that is until around the age of 40. When hormones decrease, excess calories are easily stored deep inside the belly area. Although you have no control over the buildup of belly fat, lifestyle habits can influence just how much midlife fat you accumulate.

To avoid gaining weight, decrease calorie intake by 100 calories for each decade past 40. This is because the body burns fewer calories (metabolism) as it ages. When trying to minimize fat and belly fat, the need to be selective about which foods are eliminated must be taken into consideration.

Do not cut protein to lower calorie intake. To maintain healthy bones and muscles, the body needs 60 to 70 grams of protein a day. The Journal of Nutrition found that keeping adequate protein in the diet, helps to ward off muscle loss while increasing the fat burning process. Choose eggs, skinless poultry, and lean meat or fish. Avoid fried or fatty meats and high-fat cheese.

Be sure to maintain adequate amounts of fiber, whole grains, fruits and vegetables in your diet. Women over 50 need 21 grams per day, while men over 50 need 25 grams per day. Eating high fiber foods keep your gut healthy and require more time to be processed by the body, so you'll feel full longer and won't feel the need to eat or snack so often.

Don't cut fat out of your diet, entirely. Healthy fats are important to bone and heart health, as well as loaded with antioxidants that help decrease the risk of cancer. Healthy fats that you want to include in your diet are: monounsaturated and omega-3 fatty acids, and should make up 20 to 35 percent of the daily diet. A tablespoon of olive oil, a quarter cup of nuts, or two tablespoons of peanut butter each have about half of what is needed in the daily diet. Better choices are: tuna, salmon, sardines, avocados, peanuts, and olive or canola oils.

So, exactly what foods are off limits? Eliminating the big five C's: candy, cookies, cake, cola, and chips! Deep-fat-fried foods should only be eaten once a month, and only as a treat! This includes chicken nuggets and other fast food chicken. Go easy on breads, crackers, and other snack foods. In general, if it is white, or made from a white ingredient (such as flour) do not eat in large quantities or avoid it all together!

Diet and exercises that concentrate on the belly region help to get noticeable results quicker. When beginning an exercise program or routine, don't try to do as many exercises as you possibly can. Trying to do more than you're capable of will only set you on a path to failure!

Learn how to correctly perform specific exercises, from a gym or trainer. Start out slow, and increase repetitions and add more exercises to your routine, as your body becomes stronger. A trainer can help you to decide which belly exercises, among the 25 or more specific ones would be best for you. But, remember the exercises must be done on a daily basis, not a now and then thing!

Some belly targeted exercises include: Crunches, Reverse Crunches, Abdominal Crunches, Stomach Twisting, Inclined Sit Ups, Knees In and Out, Crab Ab Workout, Air Cycling, Front Squat, and Hip Raise Exercise.

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