The belly is a common place for the male body to store fat, and skinny or normal weight men are no exception. There are several reasons why a non-overweight man may carry a few extra inches round the waist. Factors include a lack of physical exercise, genetics and stress. By reducing belly fat, you also cut the chances of developing heart disease, high-blood pressure and diabetes.
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Its in Your Genetics
Genetics may determine your body-fat distribution. Some individuals naturally store fat in the belly, while your body shape can make it difficult to attain a completely flat stomach. Columbia Health states the shape and size of organs in the stomach region – such as the intestines and kidneys -- may or may not contribute to a slightly fuller stomach. Resistance exercise such as crunches will strengthen your abdominal muscles but will not get rid of fat. Whether genetics are on your side or not, you can improve your stomach appearance by doing cardio workouts.
Trim the Body Fat
Even without being overweight, you may still have too much body fat -- this is known as normal-weight obesity. A high percentage of body fat in non-overweight men can be attributed to a lack of physical exercise. To reduce body fat, aim to perform 300 minutes of moderately intense cardio, such as brisk walking, weekly. To get the same benefits in half the time, choose a vigorous form of cardio, such as running or playing basketball for 150 minutes per week, or 30-minute sessions, five days a week.
Build More Muscles
Muscles need more attention than fat. This makes your metabolism work harder to maintain the energy level you need to fuels the muscles with oxygen. Perform compound resistance exercises at least twice a week on non-consecutive days. Squats, pullups, bench press and deadlifts will give your body a full workout. Depending on your strength, perform between 10 to 25 reps of each exercise in one to three sets.
Sit Down and Relax
Stress can release hormones known as cortisol that can contribute to belly fat. In 2000, Elissa S. Epel, Ph.D., and a research team at Yale University found that lean women with stress-induced cortisol were more likely to store fat in the abdomen. Epel states that these effects will most likely affect men, who are more likely to store excess fat in the abdomen than women. Sleep for at least seven hours each night, and keep stress down with relaxing activities such as yoga to reduce cortisol levels.
Your diet is the biggest factor in battling belly fat. Cut out foods with solid fats and added sugar, such as sugary snacks, baked goods, soda and fast food. Have a source of lean protein such as chicken breast and complex carbs, such as fruits and green vegetables with every meal. Food rich in omega-3, such as salmon and walnuts, contains essential fats and can help you boost fat metabolism. Healthy eating stabilizes your blood-sugar levels, which helps reduce hunger and sugar cravings.
- Columbia Health: I Want a Flat Stomach
- Rush University Medical Center: One Trick to Losing Belly Fat
- Science Daily: Stress May Cause Excess Abdominal Fat In Otherwise Slender Women, Study Conducted At Yale Shows
- The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology &amp; Metabolism: Body Fat Distribution And Cortisol Metabolism In Healthy Men: Enhanced 5beta-reductase And Lower Cortisol/cortisone Metabolite Ratios In Men With Fatty Liver
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: How Much Physical Activity Do Adults Need?