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I was in the book store today doing some research for one of my clients when I came across at least 5 different books on how to lose unwanted belly fat.  Belly fat, clinically known as visceral fat, accumulates around your middle and surrounds your internal organs. Unlike subcutaneous fat, located right under the skin on the thighs, hips, booty and abdomen, visceral fat is located deeper inside, around the vital organs located in the chest, abdomen, and pelvis.  It is thought that visceral fat, or abdominal fat, is particularly risky because it is near the main vein that carries blood into the liver from around the intestines.  While anyone with unwanted body fat, especially around the mid-section should reduce fat, men with a waist thicker than 40 inches and women with one bigger than 35 inches should make immediate efforts to slim down.  Although all of these books I browsed through gave great diet and exercise advice, it really comes down to this.  Reduction, reduction, reduction of calories going into the body, combined with 4-5 days of aerobic exercise (preferably high intensity interval training) and a regimented strength training program.
 
Let's start with the need for incorporating strength training into your health and fitness goals.  Remember, it's your lean body mass that's burning calories throughout the day, even when you're doing nothing.  When you are at a caloric deficit in order to lose weight, it is vitally important that you maintain or even increase you lean body muscle in order to not only increase your metabolism but keep it from slowing down.  Simply having more lean muscle will mean that you burn more unwanted body fat because your body needs to burn this fat in order to produce the energy it needs to maintain the muscle mass.  One of the reasons why I keep telling my personal training clients to stop measuring their fitness results by the numbers on the scale is because muscle weight weighs more than fat weight, but muscle is more condensed than fat.  When you step on that scale, you are wishing for a lower number than when you started your "Total Body Change."  Right?  The scale shows not only body fat reduction, but also lean body mass increase, if you are eating, exercising and strength training correctly.  So the numbers you see can become frustrating.  Instead, I tell my clients to focus on the results from the body fat testing as well as overall loss of inches especially around the waist.  Try on an old pair of jeans that you have wanted to get into.  Are they fitting you even better than before? That, my friends, is all the proof you need.  You can refer to my article on "The Benefits of Strength Training" for all of the additional reasons to incorporate strength training into your weekly workouts.
 
For a 1-lb. weekly fat loss, find your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) and then reduce that number by about 500 calories a day.  This caloric deficit could mean a lot of much needed nutrients also eliminated from your body.  Besides the obvious low calorie choice of lean meats, fruits and vegetables, let’s look at what foods might be the best for reducing unwanted body fat while maintaining or even increasing your metabolism.  A diet high in fiber is a great way to start.  Foods high in fiber such as fruits and vegetables help you feel more satisfied and promote fat loss. Fiber takes longer to digest, allowing you to feel full for longer.  Make sure to slowly add fibrous foods into your daily meals to avoid that uncomfortable “bloating” feeling in your belly.   Let’s now go to monounsaturated fats found in certain foods.  Studies have shown that monounsaturated fat boosts fat burning especially in the abdominal area.  Cooking with olive oil, adding avocado to your scrambled egg whites in the morning, and eating a variety of nuts at least 4 times a week, all aids in the process of burning belly fat.  Monounsaturated fats also have a positive impact on your blood sugar levels.  If your blood sugar levels drop too low, which is very common in long distance runners, you may experience cravings, overeating, and low energy, which strongly affect your workouts.  I know you have all heard about the great metabolism boosters found in fish oil.  Eating at least 400 calories worth of salmon every week has been shown to benefit the metabolism. GNC also offers a great fish oil supplement that can help with this essential omega-3 fatty acid boost.  Remember that no matter how healthy the food, everything in moderation is the key calorie deficit for body fat reduction.  Check out the sample meals at the end of this article for metabolism boosting ideas.
  
When we exercise, our bodies require more energy and our metabolism, speeds up to supply that energy.  Aerobic activity at least 5 times a week for 30 minutes is my favorite way to burn unhealthy body fat.  The more exercise and energy you exert the better your metabolism will perform.   Aerobic exercise (walking, running, swimming, biking), is any exercise where the body uses up the energy in the muscles and then needs to plunder the fat stores around the body for more.  Your metabolism is boosted by any aerobic exercise that produces energy.  The more intense the workout, the greater the boost to your metabolism for longer periods of time following that workout. 
 
So, let’s simplify all of this.  Aerobic activities like running burn more calories than strength training activities like weight lifting.  But it is important to note that muscle burns calories, while fat does not.  This means that the more muscular you are, the higher your metabolism will remain at all times.  Both intense aerobic activity and strength training require nutrients to supply higher levels of energy, but there are certain nutrients that when eaten actually assist with increased energy levels therefore an increased metabolism.  What it all comes down to is what I stated earlier.   Reduction, reduction, reduction of calories going into the body, combined with 4-5 days of aerobic exercise (preferably high intensity interval training) and a regimented strength training program.
 
***Metabolism Boosting Sample Meal***
 
1 full glass of cold water
4 ounces of Salmon cooked in a small amount of olive oil.
1 small Sweet Potato with butter buds and cinnamon sprinkled on top – The lower carbohydrate content plus the added fiber keeps your blood sugar stable and you feeling fuller for longer.  The combination of low carbs and high fiber keeps your body at a healthy weight and your metabolism functioning better.
1 serving of Brussel Sprouts




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