My job is to keep it real with you every day and bring you the most reliable, scientific and accurate information available. My goal is to enhance your lifestyle and give you the guidance to achieve the most of out of your life!
If we are keeping it real, we all know that we would love to rid ourselves of belly fat once and for all. A flat, defined (or toned), and ripped midsection is one of the top priorities for any weight-training enthusiast. The problem is that belly fat seems to be the hardest and most stubborn body fat to lose. Let’s take a look at why this is the case and how we can strategically overcome this problem.
HOW YOUR BODY BURNS FAT
Burning fat is a two-part process: releasing energy from fat stores into the blood (this is called lipolysis) and cells taking those molecules in and utilizing them (oxidation).
This first step, lipolysis, is triggered by chemicals known as “catecholamines.” Adrenaline is a catecholamine, for example, and once these chemicals are in your bloodstream, they attach to “receptors” (attachment sites) on fat cells, which causes them to release some of their energy stores.
After these molecules release (free fatty acids), they are then used as fuel (burned or “oxidized”) by different types of cells in the body. Well-trained muscle is particularly good at oxidizing fats, by the way, which is why it’s much easier to lose fat when you have a good amount of muscle.
Now, here’s where we get to the difference between belly fat cells and fat cells that are easier to lose on other parts of the body.
Fat cells have a certain number of receptor sites for catecholamines, but they aren’t all the same. One type of receptor is known as an “alpha-2″ receptor, and another is a “beta-2″ receptor. The physiology gets pretty complicated, but here’s the bottom line: beta-2 receptors accelerate lipolysis, and alpha-2 receptors hinder it.
What this means is fat cells that have more beta-2 receptors than alpha-2s are relatively easy to mobilize, whereas fat cells that have more alpha-2 receptors than beta-2s are harder to mobilize.
This is the problem with belly fat, and all other forms of “stubborn fat“ – the ratio between beta-2 and alpha-2 receptors is heavily weighted toward alpha-2 receptors (it has many more alpha-2 receptors than beta-2). Thus, when you’re losing fat, you immediately start seeing reductions in fat masses with high amounts of beta-2 receptors, but the masses with amounts of alpha-2 receptors are slow to respond.
For most of us, this means rapid reductions in places like our arms, shoulders, chest, face, and legs, and slower reductions in our stomachs, hips, lower back, and thighs. These latter areas are always the last to really get lean, because they contain the most fat cells high in alpha-2 receptors.
That’s a lot of scientific info for you, so now let’s makes it simple Here are the steps to take to lose that stubborn belly-fat – and to keep it off.
1. Gradually reduce overall body fat. The body is wired to lose fat in different places first, but by gradually reducing your overall body-fat you will eventually tap into that stubborn belly-fat.
2. Stay patient. The body is smarter than anything on the planet –therefore it takes time to change it. Belly –fat for most people is the last to go.
3. Don’t over-diet. A small caloric deficit (meaning you burn more calories than you eat each day) will help coax body-fat off and keep you sane!
4. Don’t go crazy with cardio. Focus most of your efforts on building lean muscle with a smart weight training routine. This will keep your metabolism high and also allow cardio to be used as a tool versus a used and abused crutch.
5. Know how to properly reverse diet. Once you’ve achieved the desired look you want you need a plan in place to keep it off!
I will have many more blogs coming to dig into each of these steps and how to properly set up the right program to fit your lifestyle. I trust that this blog will help get you started in losing that belly-fat once and for all!