Our bodies tend to build up fats quickly. When we want to achieve a leaner body, we focus on where fats are very prominent–our bellies. There are many exercises to slim down our bellies. The most common workout for our bellies is sit-ups. But do sit-ups burn belly fat? Unfortunately, no.
Many people overdo sit-ups, thinking it may help them flatten their bellies. Though it does not burn belly fat directly, it helps trim your shape. Understanding that overworking your body by doing sit-ups may stress your lower back and neck is essential.
You can do sit-ups to tone your belly, but you must also incorporate various exercises and a balanced diet.
What Are Sit-Ups and How It Benefits Your Body
Sit-ups are abdominal exercises where you lift your torso while lying back. This classic ab exercise uses your body weight to strengthen your core. Sit-ups use muscles, such as rectus abdominis, obliques, transverse abdominis, and hip flexors.
It is one of the most famous abdominal exercises since you don’t need to go to a gym to do this. As long as you know the proper form and breathing, you can maximize the benefits of sit-ups even in the comfort of your home.
Aside from strengthening the core, sit-ups also improve body posture. It helps your spinal position to be aligned and improves your body posture. It also relieves back pains due to frequent slouching or improper posture. Sit-ups also improve your balance and stability by keeping your upper body straight during the exercise.
It may also improve your athletic performance. Because sit-ups’ primary function is to strengthen your core, it helps distribute power to your body during sports. It may also trim down your belly. You use your rectus abdominis during this exercise. As it tears down from working out, you gradually increase size as you recover.
Understanding Spot Reduction and Overall Weight Loss
Many people exercising while targeting a specific muscle group will lose the fats in that area. It is what we call “spot reduction.” It is possible, but most of the time, it is ineffective. Sometimes, it may even lead to injuries because you are not balancing the use of other muscles.
People who usually do this are those who tried working out before but experienced only a little result. When you try to lose weight, you lose fats in other body parts. Fats are in many parts of your body, and targeting a single muscle group may lead to an unproportioned body figure.
Complete weight loss is not only about how you work out. There are also a lot of factors that contribute to how you can lose weight. It may include genetics, body condition, hormonal changes, and, most significantly, the food you eat.
Why Spot Reduction is a Myth
To lose fat, you need to reduce your calorie intake. You also need to burn more than you eat. Losing fat requires regular workouts, targeting all parts of the body. You still burn calories even when you make spot reduction. However, it does not mean you steam for a specific body part.
Some experts say that spot reduction only works on tiny muscles. But these muscles don’t contribute to the overall fitness. Even if you feel exhausted from exercising, you are not trimming down fats on a specific part of your body.
How The Body Burns Fat
Your body uses energy while you’re resting and being active. As you breathe out, you lose your body fats through sweating and carbon dioxide.
There are different ways how your body burns fat. Since fats come from the calories you gain from the food you eat, one of the ways to burn them down is by cutting down your calorie intake. If you have fewer calories to burn, your body will use the energy stored in your body’s fats.
Another way you can burn body fat is to work out. It is the fastest way to burn calories since you use more energy during physical activities. But this doesn’t mean you have to limit your calorie intake to an extreme level. You still need an appropriate amount of calories for your daily activities.
The Importance of a Healthy Diet for Weight Loss
What and how much you eat will determine how you should work hard for your weight loss journey. Including healthy foods like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains will aid you in your weight loss. These foods contain fewer calories but will still make you feel full. As long as your source of calories is good nutrition, you can still have the energy you need for the day.
Imagine you are trying to burn at least 350 calories. It can be easy to take this amount of calories. A typical fast-food burger can have up to 700 calories in one sitting. But you can only burn 350 calories by running or swimming for half an hour.
A healthy and nutritious diet also means reducing sugar intake and including more macronutrients and micronutrients. 80% of your weight loss journey will come from a balanced diet. Know which foods to avoid and add more of your body’s needs. Portion control is the key.
The Role of Cardiovascular Exercise in Weight Loss
Cardiovascular exercises aim to spike your heart rate during exercise and make your lungs work harder. You can go on the treadmill or cycling if you’re into athletic activities. However, you may also do lighter activities, such as brisk walking, when you head out for the grocery.
Cardio exercises use large muscles in the upper and lower body. In short, you make use of your whole body for the entire duration of the training. In addition, you continue to burn calories even after your routine because you still need to return to normal breathing.
Some cardio exercises even a beginner can try are hiking, dancing, walking, and swimming.
The Role of Strength Training in Weight Loss
Like cardio exercises, strength training also burns calories effectively, which leads to weight loss. You use multiple muscle groups at once while increasing your muscle mass when doing a high-intensity workout.
Strength training exercises can help you get leaner muscles—your increased muscle mass help in improving your metabolic rate. Meaning you can burn more body fat than lose muscle mass.
However, you need to be consistent in finishing your strength training sessions. You can ask for a well-designed training program that requires you to work out at least five times a week. If you’re a beginner, you can try lifting lighter weights and increasing them gradually as your body adjusts to the regimen.
Tips for Losing Belly Fat Through Diet and Exercise
Consistency is The Key
Doing an exercise once will not lose your belly fat. It takes need time and effort to see the results. For some, a few inches may only be visible after a month of regular exercise and a consistent calorie-deficit diet. Some people do intermittent fasting to adjust their eating habits.
When you do these consistently, you build healthy habits that become part of your lifestyle. Your body will seek these activities daily, mainly if your body gets used to these exercises. Your body will also look for healthier food options.
Stick to Your Goal
Looking forward to achieving your goal helps you stay committed to your weight loss journey. It builds discipline and enables you to develop a habit when you see the weight-loss effects and maintain it. Because of this, you can prevent having setbacks and continue working on losing belly fat.
There are many ways to get motivated. You can check your progress by measuring your waistline or looking at your before and after photos. By doing this, you can increase your self-confidence and continue making healthy choices. You’ll become more conscious of your food and think twice before consuming sugary and unhealthy foods.
Your fats come out as sweat when you work out. It means you also lose the fluids in your body every time you do intense exercises. It also improves your digestion, which is essential to see a leaner tummy. Aside from that, it also prevents you from getting bloated or experiencing constipation.
Drinking plenty of water may also help in reducing your calorie intake. When you are fully hydrated, you feel fuller and tend to eat less food.
Though sit-ups do not lose belly fat directly, it helps you burn calories. It is an essential step in reducing weight and losing overall body fat. Additionally, you cannot lose belly fat alone. You need to work on your whole body by incorporating different exercises, eating a healthy and balanced diet, and changing your lifestyle.