Unlike women, who are prone to store fat in their buttocks, thighs and pelvis, men store fat in their bellies. A potbelly, sometimes also referred to as a beer belly, can negatively affect your appearance and doesn't have any physiological benefits. Additionally, excess belly fat increases your risk of medical conditions, such as coronary artery disease, diabetes, hypertension, cancer and elevated triglycerides. A reduced-calorie diet and effective exercise can slim your stomach and improve your quality of life.
Reduce your caloric intake by 500 to 1,000 calories every day so you lose 1 to 2 pounds per week since 1 pound of fat has 3,500 calories. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services notes that weight loss at this rate is safe and easier to maintain in the long run compared to faster weight loss. For most men, this means eating between 1,200 and 1,600 calories daily.
Makeover your diet and eating habits to include vegetables, lean meats, whole grains, low-fat dairy and fruits. Avoid foods that are high in sugar, salt, cholesterol and saturated and trans fats. Substitute high-calorie foods and beverages for low-calorie alternatives. For instance, eat fat-free frozen yogurt instead of ice cream and drink low-fat milk instead of whole milk. Also, eat smaller portions, and steer clear of excess calories from sugary beverages and alcohol.
Perform at least half an hour of cardiovascular exercise on most days of the week to burn calories. Go swimming, ride a bike or play a game of touch football or basketball. Maintain a moderate pace that still allows you to talk but not sing. When you get comfortable with the physical activity, slowly increase your workout duration to one hour to continue losing weight and to prevent weight gain.
Include strength training in your exercise routine on at least two days of the week. Strength training can increase your metabolism by 15 percent, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Work all major muscle groups, and use free weights, weightlifting machines or your body weight for resistance.
Perform knee raises in the captain's chair apparatus, bicycle crunches and abdominal exercises on a stability ball. According to the American Council on Exercise, these exercises are most effective when it comes to targeting your stomach muscles. Understand that they won't reduce belly fat, but they will strengthen your abdominal muscles so that when your fat reduces, your belly will appear toned and trim.
- Scientific American: Why Does Fat Deposit on the Hips and Thighs of Women and Around the Stomachs of Men?
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: Aim For A Healthy Weight
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: How Much Physical Activity Do Adults Need?
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Why Strength Train?
- Rush University Medical Center: An Expert Opinion: Is There Really "One Trick" to Losing Belly Fat?
- American Council on Exercise: New Study Puts the Crunch on Ineffective Ab Exercises