A frequent question that I get from my male clients is “How can I lose my belly? I used to have a flat stomach when I was in my twenties, I just don’t know what’s different now…“.
First let’s start with how your belly got there… as we get older, our metabolisms slows. For men, after the age of thirty your metabolism will slow somewhere between 2%to 5% per decade. You probably didn’t wake up one morning with a belly (even if that’s how it seemed). Your belly grew through a combination of consuming too many calories and not exercising enough.
Now let’s get to how you can get rid of it… getting rid of a belly requires a combination of exercise, nutrition and rest.
On the exercise side of things: add intensity to your workouts. A good way to do this is to keep yourself moving with circuit style strength training and interval style cardiovascular exercise. A workout that gets your heart rate up and then brings it back down repetitively will ensure that your body continues to burn calories even when you stop working out.
On the nutrition side, up your intake of vegetables and leafy greens. Stick to lean meats and whole grains. Avoid highly processed foods – read your labels! You should recognize the ingredients that are going into your body. Ideally, cook for yourself at home so that you have complete control over what goes into your food. You may want to add a whey protein supplement to help with the extra need for protein your body might experience from lifting. Make sure you’re getting plenty or water. And lastly, watch 1. your portion sizes and 2. your alcohol intake – keep it minimal.
Get enough sleep. Your body needs rest to recover adequately. Not getting enough sleep can increase your cravings for heavy comfort foods and processed snacks. Anything to act as a “pick me up”.
Harder said than done… yes, it is. Find encouragement that’s right for you. Get healthy with your partner or spouse, hire a trainer, or become active in an online community like sparkpeople.com. Take the time to acknowledge where your greatest weaknesses are in regard to your wellness. If you know that you get REALLY hungry around 10am, plan ahead and have a healthy snack on hand. If you know that you tend to skip out on workouts in the evening after work, hire a trainer to make you accountable or workout in the morning before work.
If you have any questions, comments or tips, we’d love to hear from you!
Hartman, Bill, P.T., and C.S.C.S.. “Metabolism | Men’s Health.” Men’s Health Magazine : Men’s Guide to Fitness, Health, Weight Loss, Nutrition, Sex, Style and Guy Wisdom. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 July 2011. <http://www.menshealth.com/fitness/metabolism/page/3>.
“Johns Hopkins: Nutrition|Weight Control on metabolism|aging: Johns Hopkins Special Reports.”Johns Hopkins Health Alerts: News on Prostate Cancer, Arthritis, Heart Disease, and other conditions which affect Health After 50. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 July 2011. <http://www.johnshopkinshealthalerts.com/reports/nutrition_weight_control/1811-1.html>.