The only place a muffin top looks good is on the top of a muffin. If the flabby pouch hanging over the waist of your pants or skirt has you feeling self-conscious about your appearance, don't start dressing in tent-like clothing just yet. Heart-pumping aerobic exercise that promotes allover weight loss can help you lose belly fat, too.
Creating a Calorie Deficit
To lose 1 pound, you have to create a calorie deficit of 3,500 calories. Aim for a reasonable, maintainable loss of 1 to 2 pounds per week with a combo of aerobic exercise and diet. If you want to lose 1 pound weekly with exercise alone, you've got to burn 500 calories each day. Burn those calories in one hour by getting on your bike, jogging or swimming for one hour, or playing tennis or basketball. You're more likely to stick with your exercise if you choose something you enjoy. If jogging, swimming or biking leaves you huffing, puffing and uncomfortable, you can burn 500 calories in two hours with a brisk walk or even by running around with the kids.
Boost Fat-Blasting Potential
When a hectic schedule cuts into your exercise time, you've got to find more efficient ways to blast fat to get rid of belly flab. Interval training can help you burn 500 calories daily in less time than you'd spend exercising at a moderate pace. Simply incorporate faster-paced segments of movement into your normal exercise routine to burn more calories and blast fat. Instead of jogging for one hour, you can burn the same number of calories in approximately 45 minutes by running faster for 30 to 60 seconds after every four to five minutes of jogging at your normal pace.
Tone Muscles for a Slimmer Belly
Cardio exercise helps you shed belly fat but, if you want to get sexy toned abs, you have to add some strength-training exercises into your plan. Contrary to popular belief, ab crunches aren't the be-all and end-all of toning your tummy. Instead, get a bigger bang for your buck by doing front and side planks to tone muscles all over, including your abdominals and obliques. Hold each plank for 30 to 45 seconds to tire the muscles.
Perform the alligator drag to further tighten and tone the muscles of your belly. Get in a pushup position -- either regular or modified -- with a paper plate underneath your feet or knees. Walk yourself forward 10 steps with your hands while dragging your lower body behind you. The paper plates will help your lower body to move along easily. Perform this and other ab-toning exercises two to three times weekly.
You can get rid of a muffin top much faster if a healthy, calorie-reduced diet is part of your weight-loss plan. Cut 500 calories from your daily intake for an added loss of 1 pound per week. Steer clear of sugary beverages such as soda and fruit juice since they can add to your belly pouch. Instead, satisfy your sweet tooth with fresh apples or berries in conjunction with healthy eating that consists of fresh produce, lean protein, whole grains and lowfat dairy products.
- American Council on Exercise: Why is the Concept of Spot Reduction Considered a Myth?
- Rush University Medical Center: Is There Really "One Trick" to Losing Belly Fat?
- Mayo Clinic: Exercise for Weight Loss--Calories Burned in One Hour
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Physical Activity
- Mayo Clinic: Rev Up Your Workout with Interval Training
- Shape Magazine: Abs Workout--The Fastest Way to Lose Belly Fat
Mary Ylisela is a former teacher with a Bachelor of Arts in elementary education and mathematics. She has been a writer since 1996, specializing in business, fitness and education. Prior to teaching, Ylisela worked as a certified fitness instructor and a small-business owner.