I’ve mentioned it before, I’ll mention it again…to lose fat you need to create a caloric deficit (burn more calories than you eat).
This caloric deficit can be accomplished by:
– Cutting calories via your diet (eating less)
– Exercise more (burn more calories)
Nope, doesn’t work that way. You may think you can just stop eating to burn more fat. But as I mentioned in a previous article, 3 Strategies To Create A Caloric Deficit: Which Is The Best?, cutting too many calories can have the opposite effect as it can shift the body into “starvation mode” where the body stores fat for future energy reserves rather than using it for current energy. Starving yourself also has a negative effect on your metabolism as your body can break down muscle (the driver of your metabolism) when you don’t eat enough calories. They key is to create the right calorie deficit, without sparring muscle tissue. A safe daily calorie deficit usually includes a 500 calorie deficit/day.
By adding exercise to your daily lifestyle you’re creating an even greater caloric deficit. Having a good cardiovascular program and muscle building weight lifting program is a great way to burn more fat, build more muscle, and increase your metabolism.
If you want to join a gym the best thing to do is hire a personal trainer. However, if you don’t want to join a gym, you can still get a good workout in. Walking is one of the easiest and most fundamental exercises that anyone can do. Here’s the BIG KEY to walking…you must increase the intensity of your walk so your heart rate elevates to 65-80% of your max heart rate. Your walk needs to be a form of exercise and not just a physical activity,
Max heart rate = (220 – Age)
If you’re 50 years old, your max heart rate = 170 beats per minute (bpm).
Simply multiply 65-80% by your max heart rate (170 bpm) to figure out where your heart rate needs to be to burn fat.
If you’re 50 years old, your heart rate should be elevated between 110-136 bpm (170 * .65 or .80).
Studies show doing 3 x 10 minute walks burns the same amount of calories as 1 x 30 minute walk. Just ensure you’re walking at a high enough speed that your heart rate remains in the 65-80% max heart rate zone. Invest in a heart monitor. They’re well worth the $100 plus great for peace of mind to know you’re making the most of your time.
You’d be surprised at how many calories you can burn with a brisk walk if you previously lived a sedentary lifestyle. Not only will walking burn calories, it also helps the circulatory system, lower blood pressure, help your cholesterol levels by increasing healthy (HDL) cholesterol and lowering bad (LDL) cholesterol, and ultimately incinerating your stubborn belly fat!
Consistency is key. A daily walk can easily be incorporated into your lifestyle. It doesn’t matter if it’s raining or snowing (that’s why we have umbrellas and coats). Make it a habit. Book it in your schedule like a doctor’s appointment. If you’re a beginner, start slowly and let your body adapt to the new stimuli. Starting slow will also prevent injuries. Once you feel comfortable, start pushing yourself and get ready to say goodbye to the belly fat.
Final note: if you get to a point where you can’t raise your heart rate to the 65-80% max heart rate zone, it may be time to move up to a more intense cardio routine. I have you covered…click here for a free 12 week cardio program. Enjoy!