People ask me all the time how to get a flat stomach or a bigger butt. Some people are even looking to shake off their post pregnancy belly in order to regain their figure once more. If you’ve ever wanted to lose weight (or build up) a specific part of your body, I have not so great news for you. It may come as a total shocker, but we cannot control where our bodies lose fat! And that is exactly why lifting weights is SO important.
What most people don’t realize is that weight lifting has numerous benefits for improving body composition. If you have been going to the gym and not touching the weights, you’re doing it all wrong! Lots of people ignore that side of the gym for many reasons.
First, it can be daunting because you’re not sure how to use the machines or lift properly. Second, what muscle groups do you focus on? Maybe you’re not sure of a good routine to follow. But the most common thought is that it’s only for more experienced athletes, younger people, etc. and that couldn’t be further from the truth!
If you’ve ever said “I’d love to have a flat stomach” I’m here to tell you that we cannot spot reduce fat specifically from our midsections. The only way we can lose fat from our bellies is to lose fat from our entire body. Our body shapes and where we lose/gain weight is strictly up to our genetics. Thanks Mom and Dad! My body shape is extremely similar to that of my Grandma, Aunt and Cousin.
We know there are so many other benefits to working out that have nothing to do with out bodies. If you want to lose fat, you must incorporate strength training. Why? Muscle burns more fat at rest. Muscles at rest require calories, while fat cells at rest do not. So the greater your muscle mass, the more calories you will burn throughout the day, including when you are sleeping.
Muscle burns more fat at rest than fat does. The more muscle you build, the higher your resting metabolic rate is, the more calories being burned at rest, the more weight you lose.
The body will burn more calories in the 24 hours after a strength training workout than a cardio one. So while the calories burned during exercise might not be as much as a good cardio workout, you’ll continue to burn calories after you stop working out.
In a study done with dieters who 1) didn’t exercise, 2) only did aerobics, 3) strength trained, concluded that those who strength trained lost the most weight. [Source]
Here are 6 quick weight training tips for a smaller stomach:
- The tougher you’re working, the more energy demanded. So it’s important to push yourselves and not just go through the motions.
- Weights should be heavy enough to be a challenge, but light enough to make it through a set.
- Lift three times a week. Focus on targeting large muscle groups. Then wait at least 48 hours before you train the same muscle group again.
- Weight lifting will lower our overall body fat percentage which will help slim our waistlines.
- Nutrition is also very important! There’s a saying that “abs are made in the kitchen” which is SO true! Stay away from foods with trans fat (which increases belly fat), anything with added sugar and never drink soda and juices. *Also avoid ALL foods with high fructose corn syrup!!!
- Don’t give up your cardio! Focus on doing high intensity-full bodies workouts (running hills, stairs, circuit training) on your days off from weight training.