By Rehan Jalali
Stubborn abdominal fat is like those annoying distant relatives at a family BBQ – it’s the last thing to go! Not only is abdominal fat detrimental to appearance, but it can also be an indicator of many health risks. Research has shown that an increased amount of abdominal fat is linked to hypertension, diabetes, coronary heart disease, and stroke. Scientists have also linked abdominal fat to depression, anxiety, and even social difficulties. So you can see that getting a six pack is not only good for the beach, but also good for your health. Having lean abs is good inside and out! That said, there are some things you need to do that are as essential to getting six pack abs.
Keys To Lowering Abdominal Fat
1. Reduce Stress: Relax and try not to get too stressed out. Take an evening walk with a loved one or a nap when you get a chance. Try adding a 15-minute period of “relaxation time” daily to think about nothing while taking long, deep breaths.
2. Get Some Sleep: Researchers have shown that individuals who sleep for seven hours or less a night have greater levels of cortisol (the stress hormone) in the afternoon than when they slept for nine hours, so try to get that much sleep every night.
3. Zap Sugar And Alcohol Consumption: Obviously controlling sugar levels is important for reducing fat, but if you must satisfy your craving, right after a hard weight training workout is the best time to indulge, with minimal damage. When it comes to alcohol, research has found that lipids accumulate in most tissues in which ethanol is metabolized, meaning alcohol can increase your fat storage and lower your metabolism. When scientists in Sweden compared non-drinkers to recreational boozers, they found that alcohol consumers had two to three times the number of abdominal fat deposits. I guess they call it a “beer belly” for a reason! If you’re looking to lose your belly, skip the alcohol.
4. Manage Estrogen Levels: This is a very interesting topic and one that men don’t pay enough attention to because they think of estrogen as a female hormone. But men also produce estrogen, and high levels can cause abdominal fat storage, bloating, gynecomastia (male breast growth), and fatigue. TIP: Make sure you don’t have any mineral deficiencies such as calcium or zinc, as this may be linked to estrogen. Drinking green tea and eating flaxseed may help too.
5. Water Retention
Have you ever lowered your body fat levels significantly but still felt fat? Or had a hard time seeing your abs even though your body fat is low? Well, holding water weight may be your main problem. Water retention in the abdominal region can hide abdominal muscles no matter how lean you get. Eating too much sodium can often increase water retention.