Men at any age, and women over 50, tend to carry their fat around their middle. While 30% body fat is unhealthy no matter where we’re carrying it, when it all settles around our middle it really sticks out like a sore thumb. It’s kind of like our fat has a personal grudge against us and is trying to make us look bad in public.
We all want to lose that fat around our middle, and even once we get very lean, that last little bit of fat is going to be over our lower abs. I know this because believe it or not, fitness fanatic that I am, I am constantly fighting to keep my six pack. If I don’t exercise almost perfect dietary discipline my six-pack quickly becomes a four-pack. So no matter what your weight or shape, we want to get rid of that belly fat.
So now I have a confession. I used the title of this article to get your attention. It can’t be done.
You can’t spot reduce, no matter what you might have heard. Surgery and other medical procedures are the only way to remove fat from one specific area of your body, and I strongly recommend you stay away from these methods. They can be highly dangerous. There is no form of exercise that will do it either. It doesn’t matter how many sit-ups you do, it won’t make one bit of difference to your amount of belly fat.
So what do we do? The only way to reduce that belly fat is to reduce our overall body fat, and understand that the lower our body fat gets, the harder we have to work to get rid of that last layer over our abs.
Since we know that we can’t spot reduce, then obviously what we want to do is to reduce our overall fat as quickly as possible. Starving ourselves is definitely not the answer. In a previous article I discussed weight loss vs. fat loss and how losing muscle mass is very, very bad. If you haven’t read that article, I strongly recommend that you do. The information in it is vital to long-term fat loss success.
So how do we reduce our body fat as fast as possible without losing muscle mass? While I’m not a registered nutritionist, so I have to be careful not tell you what to eat, I can tell you how I do it. While I’ve never been a competitive bodybuilder, I have done a lot of fitness modelling and I go through the same regimen when training for a photoshoot that bodybuilders do when losing fat for a competition. There is no athlete out there who knows more about how to shed body fat quickly than bodybuilders, so I simply copy their methods.
Here’s what I do. Please consult your physician before following this regimen. It is difficult and hard on your body. Nothing about this is easy!
3 Months Pre-Shoot
I remove all sugars from my diet. This includes any food products that contain glucose. Read the labels. If it has glucose (usually just listed as ‘sugar’), or high fructose corn syrup (really bad!), or any other form of sugar beside natural fructose, the sugar that occurs naturally in fruit and some vegetables such as beets, I don’t eat it!
I also remove all dairy other than small amounts of cheese. Cheese is good for us, but it is very high in calories. In addition, I don’t consume oils other than in very small quantities. Foods that I might ordinarily cook in oil I will use a cooking spray for. Virtually all oils contain 120 calories per tablespoon!
I also stop drinking my calories. This means no fruit juice or milk and certainly no sugary drinks such as soda or non-diet energy drinks. I do drink diet soda, and no, contrary to what you may have been told, artificial sweeteners do not cause cancer.
I do make sure I’m getting proteins with at least 4 of my six meals per day! Remember, your body needs the seven essential amino acids, and can’t make or store them. They only come from the foods we eat.
In addition to all of this, I of course keep up my regular exercise regimen, lifting weights three times per week and doing two cardio workouts per week.
8 to 6 Weeks Pre Shoot
I start being extra disciplined in eating 5 to 6 small meals per day, rather than only 3. I don’t eat anything after dinner and I start working out five or six days per week after my last meal of the day using the method described in the article title 'The Truth About Weight Loss Exercise'. Note that you should always take at least one day off from exercise per week to let your body recover.
How Fast Do I Lose the Fat?
The above two methods give me rapid progress. I am typically able to drop from above 10% body fat to around 7 or even lower in 4 to 6 weeks, depending upon how disciplined I am. On my body, this equates to losing about 3 - 4 kilos in less than two months, without any reduction in muscle mass. I could lose weight faster, but I would almost certainly lose some muscle along with the fat. Did I mention that losing muscle is bad?
While I do have other things I do in the last week before the shoot, they’re not really relevant to losing fat, and they can be dangerous if you don’t do them right, so I’m not going to discuss those methods here.
If you follow the same regimen that I do, you will see rapid fat loss while keeping the muscle. Do consult your physician, though, before doing this. I am not a doctor or a certified nutritionist. This method is very hard on your body and your self-discipline, but if you really want to reduce your body fat as quickly as possible and get rid of that fat belly, I guarantee this method works better than any other.
To find out why your body stores fat in the first place, check out this post.