If you're looking for super quick ways to lose belly fat, you may be one of the millions of people carrying around extra weight in your midsection — or you may just want to look better in your jeans. Either way, you can trim down fast by pairing efficient exercise techniques with a smarter diet.
Belly Fat is a Concern
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly 40 percent of U.S. adults are obese, and the associated medical costs are in the billions of dollars. The incredible part? The obesity-related conditions driving these expenses — heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer — are often preventable with lifestyle changes. But where do these changes begin?
Understanding belly fat, which is commonly associated with obesity, is a good place to start. According to Harvard Health Publishing, there are two different types of belly fat — subcutaneous and visceral.
Subcutaneous fat is the cosmetic type you can pinch or grasp with your hand, which doesn't create as big a concern as visceral fat. Visceral fat, in contrast, lies deep within the abdominal cavity and is a powerful driver of the obesity-related diseases that lead to premature death.
Once you truly understand the risk of belly fat and where it resides, the next step is to commit to change. But if the words "lifestyle change" seem like an illusion, and "diet and exercise" seems like a broad and overwhelming concept, perhaps *making a commitment to specific and proven methods *will help you get started. Yes, there are super quick ways to lose belly fat!
Read more: Soft Belly Fat vs. Hard Belly Fat
Super Quick Ways to Lose Belly Fat
It really does boil down to two things: a healthy diet and exercise. However, if you are looking to achieve the results you desire in a shorter time frame, there are proven methods that bring about faster results.
1. High-Intensity Interval Training
A common misconception people have is that spot reduction, or the idea that you can lose weight in just one area of your body by doing targeted strength exercises, is possible. That's simply not the way it works. That's why, when it comes to losing belly fat fast, cardio is king. And not just any type of cardio — High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT).
HIIT training involves short interval sprints of max effort (80 percent of your max effort or higher) with recovery in between. This is one of the most effective ways of shedding fat fast, according to the American Council on Exercise. This is because the body uses fat for fuel during a HIIT workout and continues to do so post-workout until the body restores to its normal resting state.
Read More: Hate HIIT? You'll Love These 7 Workouts
2. Choose Better Food Options
If cardio (specifically HIIT) is king, better food choices are queen, and both are incredibly important. Nutritionists and trainers agree that, in addition to physical activity, it's important to reduce calorie intake, eat regular meals, and avoid letting small "slips" turn into weight gain.
To be more specific, the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion's Dietary Guidelines for 2015-2020 suggest a healthy mix of whole vegetables, fruits, grains, proteins, dairy and oils, while limiting added sugars and saturated fats.
Be sure to check labels, as many pre-packaged grocery store items found today, even if they are savory in flavor, contain added sugars. Alcohol is not suggested, but if it is consumed, moderation is key, with up to one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men.
Read More: A Meal Plan for Obesity