The spare tire, muffin top or jelly belly around your middle is unsightly and bad for your health. Abdominal fat that surrounds your organs is called visceral fat and has been linked to heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, high triglycerides and diabetes. You can't expect to spot reduce your spare tire; you will have to take on a well-rounded approach to reduce overall body fat, using proper diet and regular exercise.
An effective way to get rid of fat is by increasing your activity levels to burn more calories. If you are unfit try making small lifestyle changes like parking your car further from work or when shopping -- and use stairs instead of elevators. You should aim for at least 30 minutes of exercise five days a week. Depending on your fitness level try walking, swimming, running, dancing, hula-hooping, jumping rope or attending aerobics classes. These are all cardiovascular exercises that will burn calories.
Weight training builds muscle and burns calories even when you are resting; your body needs to work harder in order to maintain the added muscle. That means the benefit of working out is long-lasting. You can use dumbbells, kettlebells or weight machines at the gym to work your muscles. But strength training is not limited to those devices; you can use your own bodyweight for resistance -- lunges, squats, pushups and pull-ups are all effective at building muscle. It's important to keep correct form for each exercise in order to prevent injury and get the most out of your routine. Aim for a minimum of two total-body workouts per week, and leave at least 48 hours between them to allow for maximum benefit.
High intensity interval training, HIIT, involves working at high intensity for short periods then moving on to another exercise. You should work at 85 to 90 percent of your capacity for at least 30 seconds with 10 seconds of rest before your next interval. Select exercises that work your full body and complement each other, such as a leg exercise followed by an upper-body workout. A HIIT session once or twice a week has been shown to be effective at fat burning and will help get rid of your spare tire.
Core exercises strengthen the muscles underneath your spare tire, but do not actually whittle away the upper layer of fat. But, a spare tire can weaken your abdominal muscles which can result in back pain. Performing core exercises two to three times a week can strengthen the abdominal muscles. A stronger core leads to better posture; core exercises are more effective than those that target the abs only, as these can cause lower back pain. Good exercises to strengthen your core are planks, lying leg raises, bicycle crunches, donkey kickbacks and cable rotations. Perform five to 10 repetitions of three different core exercises every two to three days.
While exercise will increase your calorie burn, monitoring your diet will also help you get rid of a spare tire. Swap out sugary, highly processed and fatty foods for whole grains, lean meat and fresh fruit and vegetables. Include many vegetables like broccoli, spinach, kale, cauliflower, celery, lettuce, cabbage, asparagus, radishes and brussels sprouts as they are low in calories but high in nutrition. Drink eight glasses of water a day to keep well hydrated. Sleep is also important for weight management; you should have eight hours sleep a night. Fortunately, if you increase your activity you should find it easier to sleep.
- Harvard Medical School: Abdominal Fat and What to Do About It
- American Council on Exercise: 6 Strategies for Losing the Spare Tire
- Void: Ditch the Gut: 4 Steps to Get Rid Of That Spare Tire
- Muscle Evo: How to Lose Belly Fat as Fast as Humanly Possible
- American Council on Exercise: High-Intensity Interval Training
- A Workout Routine: Does Building Muscle Burn Fat, Burn Calories & Increase Metabolism?
- ExRx.net: Fat Loss & Weight Training Myths
- Harvard Medical School: Calories Burned In 30 Minutes for People of Three Different Weights
- American Council on Exercise: American Council on Exercise (ACE)-sponsored Study Reveals Best and Worst Abdominal Exercises
- Daily Mail: The 10-Minute Workout That Rolled Away My Spare Tyre in Six Weeks