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BELLY FAT – REDUCING IT SHOULD BE YOUR NO. 1 GOAL

Mayo Clinic researchers have found that those with “weight central obesity” were twice as likely to die from heart disease as those who were overweight or obese but didn’t have that excess body fat; and they were 87 percent more likely to have fatal heart disease than people with a normal weight and flatter bellies. And now, another new report says  “skinny fat” – a normal weight plus a belly pooch – is a lot more deadly than simply being overweight. Got your attention yet?

Do You Have Health-Threatening Belly Fat?

Measure your middle, not your waistline. Here’s how: get a tape measure and wrap it around your bare torso at your belly button. Make sure the tape’s tight, and suck in your gut. As a general rule if your belly’s bigger than 35 inches for women or 40 for men, you have deep abdominal fat.  Another goal that some experts recommend is that your waist should be less than half your height in inches; this is the standard that we use at Empower Fitness since it takes into account differences in height, like say between a 5-foot tall and a 5-foot-10 inch woman.

The Good News – You Can Lose Belly Fat and Keep It Off

Research shows that getting rid of deep belly fat reduces blood pressure, lowers bad LDL cholesterol, and improves the way your body processes blood sugar (this is crucial). But it requires a commitment on your part to make some lifestyle changes after you assess your particular situation. In general, the best approach combines healthy eating, the right exercise, more sleep, and better stress management.

Step One – The Food You Eat

Research consistently shows that overindulging in alcohol or sweetened drinks (soda, juice, etc.) can add inches to your waistline. Processed foods and sweets do it, too. The best change you can make is to reduce sweets and processed food consumption immediately. Instead, eat more fiber-rich vegetables (prepared without excess fat and sodium) and fruits. Include lean proteins and calcium from low-fat dairy products.

Step Two – Exercise The Right Way

If you’re not already getting 30 minutes of cardio a day, start now. If you’re already active, boost it up by adding higher-intensity intervals to your workout; like 20 seconds of every minute, move faster or add an incline and produce higher heart rate. And add or intensify your strength training, since more muscle burns more fat. Remember that while sit-ups and crunches may tone your abs, they won’t burn belly fat.

Step Three – Sleep and Stress

The stress hormone – cortisol – can pack the fat into your mid-section and getting less than five hours of sleep per night releases cortisol. So if you don’t get enough sleep, it’s worth your time and effort to learn about “sleep hygiene” and work to improve your rest. In a like manner, many of us don’t manage stress as well as we could. There is naturally some stress in every person’s life,  but how we choose or learn to manage it affects our health in very direct ways. The first step is making yourself aware of  your own stressors, and the effectiveness of your own stress management techniques. Then, it’s time to make improvements tailored to your particular circumstance.

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Lawrence Shopping Center
(near Burlington Coat Factory)
2495 Route 1 at Texas Ave.
Lawrenceville, NJ 08648

Contact info:

phone: 609.882.4500
fax: 609.406.1471

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