Have you ever wondered why you can drop pounds on the scale but you can never lose the fat on your stomach? If that question strikes a chord with you, then you are not alone. In fact, the majority of people who attempt to lose belly fat just end up losing some body weight without ever burning an ounce of fat off their stomach.
You see, typical weight loss methods do nothing to burn that stubborn belly fat that sticks to your stomach and holds on for dear life.
Does this mean we just have to accept that our unsightly ab flab is here to stay? Absolutely not! I’m about to show you how to banish your belly fat once and for all!
Before we get into the actual plan, we need to discuss why the fat on your stomach does NOT respond well to traditional fat loss methods. In other words, what makes this fat so stubborn?
There are several reasons, and each of them needs to be addressed in order to win this battle.
Here they are:
Insulin-The correlation between insulin resistance and general obesity is well-documented and well-accepted. But there is an even greater association between insulin resistance and abdominal fat.
This is no secret, as it has been known for years that people with excessive belly fat are at a greater risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes (which is an insulin-related disorder).
This leads to the chicken or the egg theory. Does the insulin cause gains in belly fat or does belly fat negatively affect insulin metabolism? The answer to this question is debatable but the precise answer is not essential to know.
What IS essential is the fact that we recognize the correlation between insulin levels and belly fat, and that by controlling insulin secretion; we can prevent new fat from being stored in your abdomen while mobilizing and burning the stubborn fat that is currently there.
What to do: As you can see, insulin must be controlled in order to effectively lose belly fat. They very best way to accomplish this is through dietary means.
Here are some simple steps you can employ immediately to keep your insulin levels in check: Avoid excessive sugar and processed food consumption, eat a serving of fibrous vegetables and/or fruit at each meal, limit saturated fat consumption, eat smaller meals throughout the day, and be sure to consume healthy fats at most meals.
Cortisol- For those of you who don't know, cortisol is a hormone that is manufactured and released by the adrenals. It is considered to be “the stress hormone” because it is released in the body in response to stress.
Cortisol does a lot of nasty things in the body including: breaking down lean muscle and negatively affecting insulin metabolism. Both of these effects can lead to gains in body fat. But how does cortisol affect your abdominal fat specifically?
Well, abdominal fat is extremely sensitive to the negative effects of cortisol. In fact, it has five times more cortisol receptors than any other fat on your body. So when you have high levels of cortisol in your blood, your body wants a place to put it.
Therefore, your body will try to hold on to your abdominal fat so it can have more available receptors for the circulating cortisol to bind to.
What to do: We must reduce our levels of stress to an amount that our bodies can handle. Basically, we want to minimize as much as possible our body’s adrenal “fight or flight” mechanism. This stress reduction should be mental, emotional and physical.
For the psychological stress, you must find ways to best deal with difficult life situations without stressing yourself out over them. I know this is easier said than done, but at least now you have some extra incentive to reduce the stress in your life – you’ll feel better, but you’ll look better too!
The physical stress, on the other hand, can be minimized by avoiding overtraining. To avoid overtraining, you must control the intensity and the training volume of your workouts.
Intensity can be controlled by not training to failure on every set and in every workout. Volume can be controlled by not allowing workouts to exceed 50 minutes and by keeping the main work sets below 20 during each workout. For more detailed methods on how to keep cortisol under control, check out my “Hormonal Trick Makes Losing Belly Fat Easy” article.
Alpha/Beta Receptors- There are two main types of receptors on fat cells which have a profound effect on body fat metabolism. These two classes of receptors are the Alpha-receptors and the Beta-receptors.
The Beta-receptors are considered the “good guys”. They increase fat burning and increase blood flow, thus making more fat burning hormones available to burn your body fat. As far as the fat burning process goes, they are considered to be like the gas pedal, accelerating the amount of fat being released from the fat cell to be burned as fuel.
On the other hand, we have the Alpha-receptors. These receptors are considered the “bad guys”. They decrease fat burning and inhibit blood flow which in turn doesn’t allow fat burning hormones to access the fat easily. Again, as far as the fat burning process is concerned, the Alpha-receptors can be considered the brake pedal, halting the fat from being released from the fat cell.
Unfortunately, your stubborn belly fat has a significantly greater number of Alpha-receptors than it does Beta-receptors.
Note: This phenomenon is true for all stubborn fat. Lower body fat on women’s butt and thighs and lower back fat on men also have a disproportionate amount of Alpha-receptors.
What to do: Since the distribution of Alpha- and Beta-receptors is determined largely by your genetics, we cannot change the ratio of these receptors. We can, however, keep our foot on the gas (activation of the Beta-receptors) and minimize the braking (activation of the Alpha-receptors).
To accomplish this goal, one of the most important things to do is control insulin (see above for more details). Insulin definitely seems to be a catalyst for Alpha-receptor activity.
Additionally, you can block the Alpha-receptors by working out with a particular style of training.
When you train with a well-designed metabolic training routine, you create sympathetic nervous system activity. This activity in turn blocks the Alpha-receptors, thus allowing the Beta-receptors to dominate your fat cells, which as you know, will stimulate your body to burn its stubborn fat.
Well, there you have it. Now that you know why stubborn belly fat is so stubborn and what you can do about it, you are on your way to a lean and sculpted midsection!