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Updated: May 12,2023





Belly Fat: 12 Reasons You're Not Losing Weight. G etting rid of your belly bulge is important for more than just vanity’s sake. Excess abdominal fat-particularly visceral fat, the kind that surrounds your organs and puffs your stomach into a “beer gut”-is a predictor of heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, insulin resistance and some cancers. If diet and exercise haven’t done much to reduce your pooch, then your hormones, your age and other genetic factors may be the reason why. Read on for 11 possible reasons why your belly fat won’t budge. You drink a lot of alcohol. Booze has a lot more calories than you might expect: 153 for a 12-ounce regular beer and 125 for a 5-ounce pour of red wine. (Don’t even get us started on the piña colada, which packs 500 calories into just nine ounces.) But alcohol may be widening to your waistline in another less obvious way. The calories in alcohol can’t be stored for later, so the body’s metabolism has to focus on alcohol first when it’s in the body. This diverts it from its task of burning fat, and fat burn especially drops in the belly. But there is such a thing as drinking responsibly for weight loss. Older women who drink about one alcoholic beverage per per day seem to gain less weight over time than women who don’t drink, probably because they keep other healthy behaviors and are more physically active. You’re getting older As you get older, your body changes how it gains and loses weight. Both men and women experience a declining metabolic rate, or the number of calories the body needs to function normally. On top of that, women have to deal with menopause. “If women gain weight after menopause, it’s more likely to be in their bellies,” says Michael Jensen, M.D., professor of medicine in the Mayo Clinic’s endocrinology division. In menopause, production of the hormones estrogen and progesterone slows down. Meanwhile, testosterone levels also start to drop, but at a slower rate. This shift in hormones causes women to hold on to weight in their bellies. The good news: you can fight this process. Read on. You’re doing the wrong workout A daily run or Spin class is great for your heart, but cardio workouts alone won’t do much for your waist. “You need to do a combination of weights and cardiovascular training,” says Sangeeta Kashyap, M.D., an endocrinologist at Cleveland Clinic. Strength training increases muscle mass, which sets your body up to burn more fat. “Muscle burns more calories than fat, and therefore you naturally burn more calories throughout the day by having more muscle,” says Kate Patton, a registered dietitian at Cleveland Clinic. Patton recommends 250 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise or 125 minutes of high-intensity exercise a week. You’re eating too many processed foods “Refined grains like white bread, crackers and chips, as well as refined sugars in sweetened drinks and desserts increase inflammation in our bodies,” says Patton. “Belly fat is associated with inflammation, so eating too many processed foods will hinder your ability to lose belly fat.” Natural foods like fruits, vegetables and whole grains are full of antioxidants, which have anti-inflammatory properties and may therefore actually prevent belly fat, Patton says. You’re eating the wrong fats The body doesn’t react to all fats in the same way. Research correlates high intake of saturated fat (the kind in meat and dairy) to increased visceral fat, says Patton. On the other hand, monounsaturated fats (the kind in olive oil and avocados) and specific types of polyunsaturated fats (mainly omega-3s, found in walnuts, sunflower seeds, and fatty fish like salmon) have anti-inflammatory effects in the body, and if eaten in proper portions may do your body good. But Patton warns that eating too much fat of any kind increases your calorie intake and could lead to weight gain, so enjoy healthy fats in moderation. Your workout isn’t challenging enough To banish stubborn belly fat, you have to ramp up your workouts. In a study published in the journal Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise , people who completed a high-intensity workout regimen lost more belly fat than those who followed a low-intensity plan. (In fact, the low-intensity exercises experienced no significant changes at all.) “You need to exercise at full intensity because the end goal is to burn more calories, and high intensity exercise does just that,” says Natalie Jill, a San Diego–based certified personal trainer. High intensity workouts mean you’re going all out for as long as you can. If this sounds intimidating, think of it this way: you’ll burn more calories in less time. You’re doing the wrong exercises Doing crunches until the cows come home? Stop it! When you’re down to your final inches of belly fat, the dreaded crunch won’t be the exercise that finally reveals your six-pack. “You can’t spot reduce,” Jill says. Instead, she suggests doing functional exercises that use the muscles in your core — abdominals, back, pelvic, obliques — as well as other body parts. “These exercises use more muscles, so there is a higher rate of calorie burn while you are doing them,” she says. Planks are her favorite functional exercise — they activate not just your core muscles but also your arm, leg and butt muscles. You’re stressed Tight deadlines, bills, your kids — whatever your source of stress, having too much of it may make it harder for you to drop unwanted pounds, especially from your middle. And it’s not just because you tend to reach for high-fat, high-calorie fare when you’re stressed, though that’s part of it. It’s also due to the stress hormone cortisol, which may increase the amount of fat your body clings to and enlarge your fat cells. Higher levels of cortisol have been linked to more visceral fat. You’re skimping on sleep If you’re among the 30% of Americans who sleep less than six hours a night, here’s one simple way to whittle your waistline: catch more Zs. A 16-year study of almost 70,000 women found that those who slept five hours or less a night were 30% more likely to gain 30 or more pounds than those who slept seven hours. The National Institutes of Health suggest adults sleep seven to eight hours a night. You’re apple-shaped If you tend to pack the pounds around your middle rather than your hips and thighs, then you’re apple shaped. This genetic predisposition means ridding yourself of belly fat will be harder, Dr. Kashyap says, but not impossible. You’re sick If your testosterone levels are high — something that can occur with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) — you might have difficulty losing weight. “If you’re an apple shape and overweight, it’s a good idea to see your doctor,” Dr. Kashyap says, since there may also be a chance that you are prediabetic or diabetic. You’re unmotivated Are you committed to the work needed to lose belly fat? “Reducing belly fat takes a combination approach of a low-calorie diet that is high in fiber and low in carbohydrates and sugar along with cardiovascular and weight training,” Dr. Kashyap says. “If you are willing to do the work, you can move past genetics and lose it.”


10 Ways to Tone and Strengthen Your Thighs. Shaping, toning, and strengthening your thigh muscles is good for you. Stronger thighs mean you’ll you faster, jump higher, and improve your overall stability. That’s why strengthening the legs is a much better goal than simply attaining smaller thighs. And, it’s important to remember that overall cardiovascular and muscle health is what’s important — not the size of your jeans. While you can’t do one exercise to target just one specific body part, there are certain exercises that focus more on leg strength and endurance than other areas of the body. So if you’re looking to strengthen and tone your thighs, consider a few of these exercises. These 10 activities will help you on your fitness journey towards stronger thighs and healthier life! If you’re familiar with indoor cycling classes, you know how much this type of workout uses your thighs. That’s why indoor cycling is an excellent choice not only for toning the legs, but also for cardiovascular health and weight loss. In fact, results of one 2010 study showed a decrease in body weight and fat mass in sedentary, overweight women after 24 sessions of indoor cycling. On average, running burns 295 calories per 30 minutes and 590 calories per hour in a person who weighs 154 pounds. When you include stairs in your running workout, you amp up the use of your thigh muscles. Since every step requires you to lift your body upward, it forces your leg muscles to fire. If you’re lucky enough to live near a beach, certified trainer Armen Ghazarians recommends beach walking as a way to strengthen your thighs. “The extra tension of walking on the sand will help tone and firm your thigh muscles,” he explains. To get familiar with exercising on the sand, start with walking in the sand for 20 minutes each day. As your body gets used to exercising in the sand, you can add time to your daily workouts. It’s no secret that dancers have strong and powerful legs. “Dancing combines a cardio element with specific toning moves that are sure to make your legs look amazing,” says certified trainer Lyuda Bouzinova. This YouTube workout with a Pilates sequence is great for lengthening and toning your thigh muscles. Bouzinova says the specific sequence is designed to lean the thighs and create long, toned lines by working all of the important thigh muscles in a specific order. The quick change of direction required in many sports will help shape your legs from all angles, according to Ghazarians. Consider sports that require you to work your thigh muscles aerobically, such as: Participating in total-body, muscle-strengthening activities at least two days a week may help you burn calories, reduce fat mass , and strengthen your thighs. Include lower-body exercises such as lunges, wall sits, inner/outer thigh lifts, and step-ups with just your body weight. The key to strengthening the legs without bulking up is to keep the reps high (at least 15 reps per set). Perform three rounds of each exercise with minimal rest between each movement. You can also add upper-body movements to your lower-body exercises for a great two-in-one move for overall fitness. For example, grab some dumbbells and do lunges with a bicep curl, or squats with an overhead shoulder press. Bodyweight squats, which is squatting using your own bodyweight as resistance, burn calories, strengthen your leg muscles, and tone your thighs. Plus, you can do them anywhere, anytime. Ghazarians recommends starting with 25 bodyweight squats, two times per day (50 total). You can squat while watching TV at home or after climbing a flight of stairs at work. If you’re ready for even more of a challenge, try this 30-day weighted squat challenge. Bouzinova says the inner thighs are notoriously difficult to target, and the exercises that do tone them are a little awkward. So, many people skip them altogether. But if you feel funny doing the workouts at a gym, do them in the comfort of your own home. One great move is the “platypus walk” that you can see in this Mission Lean YouTube workout. It works your inner and outer thighs as well as glutes for a completely toned look. You can do balance work at home or at the gym. “The balance work tones all of the smaller muscles in your legs and thighs, tightens them up quickly, and makes for beautiful, lean legs,” explains Bouzinova. She says a good move to try is single leg dead lifts on the Bosu ball or doing your whole workout on a sandy beach to really test your balance. Cardiovascular exercise burns calories and strengthens your heart. It also helps reduce body fat. Including both high-intensity-interval-training (HIIT) and steady-state cardio in your overall exercise plan will help you reduce your total body fat and tone your thighs. For a more advanced workout and calorie burn, consider adding one session of metabolic conditioning to your fitness plan. The CDC recommends that adults get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity, or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity, each week. Combine both moderate and vigorous aerobic activity to get a total body workout. It’s important to note that improving your fitness does not necessarily mean losing weight. But, if getting leaner and changing your body composition is also a goal, you’ll need to burn more calories than you consume. Many of the above workouts will burn calories and strengthen your muscles simultaneously. Remember, losing weight slow and steady is the best way to maintain loss over time. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends losing about one to two pounds per week. People who do so are more likely to keep the weight off. It’s also important to avoid going on an extreme diet that cuts out one food group entirely, like carbs, or is extremely low calorie, notes Bouzinova. And, the benefits of weight loss go way beyond aesthetics. According to a 2018 study , losing inches in the thighs, hips, and buttocks may lower other risk factors for heart disease. Burn stomach fat men - Burn thigh fat



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