Losing stubborn belly fat is one of the biggest challenges when getting in shape.
Belly fat is not only aesthetically unappealing, it has health consequences. It can make you vulnerable to many conditions such as diabetes and heart problems.
In this blog, we will share with you why belly fat is so ‘stubborn’ to burn, explain what exactly is Ketosis and how you can lose stubborn belly fat through Ketosis. We will also share a specific exercise and a diet plan to help burn this belly fat.
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What is Stubborn Belly fat and why it is bad for our health?
While you may have fat all over different parts of your body, it isn’t the same.
Stubborn belly fat is the soft layers of fat around the waistline that covers your abs.
To be more precise, there are three types of fat:
- Triglycerides– A fat circulates in your blood
- Subcutaneous Fat– The layer of fat directly below the skin’s surface. This is the fat you can grab with your hands
- Visceral Fat– The dangerous fat. This is located beneath the muscles in your stomach
Belly fat unfortunately does not just sit still. Some visceral fat is necessary, but too much can lead to health problems.
You can estimate whether you are carrying too much belly fat by measuring your waist with tape. Anything over 80 cm (31.5 inches) in women and 94 cm (37 inches) can provoke health issues.
Carrying excess visceral fat is associated with an increased risk for:
- Coronary heart disease
- Sexual dysfunction
- Sleep disorders
Why is Stubborn belly fat so “Stubborn”?
To understand what makes belly fat so difficult to burn,let’s dive into the biology.
Burning fat is a two-part process:
- Lipolysis is the process whereby fat cells release molecules of stored fat into the blood.
- Oxidation is the process whereby cells burn this stored fat.
The body stimulates lipolysis through the production of adrenaline and noradrenaline (Catecholamines). Catecholamines enter your blood and travel to fat cells attaching themselves to certain points known as receptors.
Once catecholamines attach to receptors, they release the fatty acids stored within.
However, fat cells aren’t all the same and some do not respond well to catecholamines.
If you have done a diet for a certain time frame, you may have noticed this. Certain areas of your body like your chest and arms tone up, but other areas like your belly and hips seem to have not changed.
The reason for this is that fat cells contain two opposing types of receptors for catecholamines – Alpha and Beta receptors.
Alpha receptors impedes lipolysis and beta receptors stimulate it.
Therefore, fat cells with a high amount of beta receptors are easy to mobilize while fat cells with a high amount of alpha receptors make the fat burning process more difficult.
To summarize, the reason why belly fat is in fact so stubborn, is that the fat cells in this area of the body contain more alpha receptors than beta.
What is Ketosis?
Ketosis is a metabolic state where your body forces itself to predominantly burn fat as energy.
It occurs when there is limited access to glucose (blood sugar), which is the preferred fuel source for many cells in the body.
During Ketosis, stored fats are broken down for energy, resulting in a buildup of acids called ketones within the body.
If you’re healthy and eating a balanced diet, your body controls how much fat it burns, and you don’t normally make or use ketones.
But when you cut way back on your calories or carbs, your body will switch to ketosis for energy.
Ketosis is most often associated with a ketogenic diet.
How to lose stubborn belly fat through ketosis
By limiting the maximum consumption of carbohydrates.
In absence of glucose, our body produces alternative chemical compounds called ketones to feed our brain and muscles, therefore, the name ketosis (read this for more info).
Although it does not work for everyone, going into ketosis decreases appetite, improves our body’s regulation systems, and normalizes weight.
To ‘turn on’ this metabolic route, you just have to decrease carbohydrate intake to an average of 60 grams per day and do intermittent fasting.
This strategy is very useful, but its use should be limited (you can consider this practice 3-7 days a month).
Restricting carbohydrates for too long can lead the body to have decreased insulin sensitivity and a loss of one of the characteristics that define the human species: your ability to use different energy substrates (metabolic flexibility).
Ketosis Body Side Effects
- A characteristic smell in your breath (due to the acetone levels),
- Different frequency and urinary concentration
- Energy changes
- Frequent muscle cramps (if this happens, introduce a mineral supplement or a hypertonic drink without sugar).
Lose stubborn belly fat: 10 Tips during Ketosis
- Hydrate yourself and drink plenty of water. Add broth (made from vegetables and bones) to accompany meals.
- Maximize fat burning effect during this stage with high intensity workouts on an empty stomach.
- Limit carbohydrates to 10% of your total daily food calories.
- Increase the intake of fat and maintain good protein levels (1.2-2 grams /per kg body weight).
- Do not forget to workout while fasting
- Do not exceed 3 meals per day
- When you do a HIIT workout, give it your all. We need to raise adrenaline and make your body mobilize the last energy deposits.
- Give yourself time to recover between workout sessions.
- This “stubborn” type of fat has poor blood supply. Stimulate it with cold showers or contrast baths (alternating warm and cold plunges).
- 7-9 hours of sleep each night is recommended. If you are sleeping poorly, you will elevate stress hormones.
Exercise and Ketogenic diet plan to burn stubborn belly fat
Workout Sessions Guide
WORKOUT 1: (Monday)
- WARM UP: 3-4 min
- SPRINTS 5-10 sprints for 15 seconds, 30 seconds rest.
- METABOLIC Activity: Jogging (50-60% intensity) for 15-30 min.
- Interval Time (IT) repeat the following circuit for 12 to 18 min
WORKOUT 2: (Wednesdays)
- WARM UP: 3-4 min
– 2 laps:
– 1 min: Skipping
– 1 min: Jumping jacks
– 1 min: Steps
– 1 min: Lateral displacement
– 1 min: Twists
– 1 min: Dragon walk
WORKOUT 3: (Fridays)
- WARM UP: 3-4 min
- CP e.g.: 2 rounds: 10 Surfers, 1 min run, 10 Push up roll, 1 min run, 25 Overhead Squat, 1 min run, 13 Jump Stars, 1 min run, 27 McKenzie, 1 min run, 8 Mountain pushups, 1 min run, 20 Plank balance, 1 min run
WARM UP: 3-4 min
- Paleo Run (CP). e.g.: 2 rounds of the following
10 Surfers, 1 min run
10 Push up roll, 1 min run
25 Overhead squat, 1 min run
13 Jump stars, 1 min run
27 McKenzie, 1 min run
8 Mountain pushups, 1 min run
20 Plank balance, 1 min run
- To The One (TTO) 2-3 exercises:
10 V situps 10 Jumping lunges 10 Hindu Pushups
9 V situps 9 Jumping lunges 9 Hindu Pushups
8 V situps 8 Jumping lunges 8 Hindu Pushups
2 V situps 2 Jumping lunges 2 Hindu Pushups
1 V situps 1 Jumping lunges 1 Hindu Pushups
WORKOUT 4: (Sundays)
- WARM UP :3-4 min
- SPARTAN RACE e.g.:
- Hard Stop (HS): e.g. 40 lateral push ups (Every time you stop, do 5 mountain climbers)
Refer to our Full HIIT Exercise list for videos and instructions on each exercise.
Understanding the reasons why it can be difficult to lose belly fat is very important. We hope you now understand why belly fat can be so stubborn and hope that you come onboard and do the Exercise and Ketogenic Diet Plan!