Belly Fat: One of Your Biggest Opponents
Your most dangerous opponent this season may not be found on the rival team's sideline. A bulging waistline is a bigger game changer than any quarterback sneak, fake bunt or squeeze play.
Not only is it unattractive and potentially unhealthy, belly fat can hinder sports performance. Below are some tips to help prevent you from huffing and puffing and letting leaner and quicker athletes beat you in sprints down the field, court or ice. (Check out The Big 3 for Losing Belly Fat.)
The easiest strategy to remove fat is to be active rather than sedentary. That means avoiding prolonged sitting and moving around as much as possible. (See 5 Tips to Kick-Start Your Metabolism.)
Whether you're walking, jogging, sprinting or strength training, moving around uses more calories than sitting and boosts fat-burning metabolism. Strength training especially reduces belly fat, because adding muscle accelerates fat-torching metabolism. Make weight room sessions even more productive by performing multi-joint standing exercises. (See Four Ways to Maximize Your Strength Training.) You will expend more calories and optimally rev up your metabolism compared to seated or lying exercises. Also, incorporate intervals of sprinting. They burn fat more efficiently than slower and longer endurance activity.
Get Adequate Sleep
Consistently getting seven to nine hours of sleep eliminates fat by enhancing muscle-building recovery between workouts. Remember: when you increase muscle through adequate recovery, fat-burning metabolism is optimized. Regularly getting less than seven hours of shut-eye deters fat loss. (Check out YOU Docs: How Sleep Improves Performance.)
Focus on Nutrition
Changing dietary habits may be the most difficult part of slimming down. (See Are There Foods to Help You Lose Belly Fat?) Follow these general recommendations to boost metabolism and shed belly fat:
- Drink water, milk, and black and green tea
- Consume more water-based, lower carb fruits and vegetables; starchy high-carb pasta, white rice and bread promote fat storage
- Eat high-protein foods
- Choose whole grains
- Avoid sugar and fried foods
- Consume five or six small nutrient-dense meals comprising protein, complex carbohydrates and healthy fats at two- or three-hour intervals every day