(Long Island, NY) Carrying excess fat around the mid-section also known as central abdominal obesity means a type of fat called visceral fat, is more prevalent than it should be. Visceral fat gets stored within the abdomen and is what creates a bulge in the belly area. Because it is a more metabolically active fat, it increases inflammation and insulin resistance of tissues that increase the risk of developing heart disease, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and possibly certain cancers.
There are a lot of misconceptions around how men get fit, lose weight and of course, obtain that six pack. Many women believe it’s much easier to lose weight and tone for them, but it’s not without hard work.
Belly bulge or fat, is a shared commonality among both men and women here in the United States.
There are many contributing factors:
- Age – As we get older, we become less active and our calorie needs decrease
- Genetics – This can affect how and where you store fat
- Gender – Aging causes hormone levels to decline in both men and women, causing more fat to be stored in our mid-section.
- Smoking – Smokers tend to have more fat deposited in their abdomen.
- Diet – Food choices play a major role in determining belly fat
- Lack of exercise – Increasing exercise will help minimize abdominal fat storage
Ask any man embarking down a workout journey and attempting to build a consistent routine and one of the first things he’ll express is the yearning for defined abs. But the question is how much fat actually covers our abdominal muscles? Obviously this can be quite different for men and women. For men testosterone levels affect how lean and toned abdominal muscles get and men have a larger bone structure, which tends to be the reason they remain lean or can tone easier.
Of course, there are a lot of challenges around reducing body fat. The average American man has about 28 percent body fat and a body mass index of 25 or lower. Men who have an aggressive and high-intense workout usually have a body fat in the range of 12-16 percent. But to really get a six pack, many men would most likely need to lose between 20-50 pounds.
A small number of men can maintain super low body fat once they’ve lost it over time. Maintaining body fat for a fit physique is not without its difficulties. Just as those who lose weight and need to maintain it struggle, keeping those toned abs that took years to get can diminish in just a few short months if the workout routine decreases.
The key is to give yourself plenty of time to achieve these goals and understand how you achieved them. I would recommend men focus on achieving their settling point which is the lowest body-fat level.
6 Tips to Jumpstart Your Ab Workout
- Planks are your best friend.
Planks are the secret to getting a flatter stomach. Many people don’t perform them to the best of their ability. Making simple tweaks to a basic plank will create more tension throughout your entire core. Do a regular (straight-arm) plank but make sure the soles of your feet are perpendicular to the floor and then gently drive your heels away from each other.
- No White Stuff Allowed
Whether you’re a lover of white rice or bake with white flour, get rid of it. White foods products indicate they’re heavily processed. There are many other tasty and healthy alternatives such as brown rice, quinoa, sprouted grains and other whole grains.
- Say Goodbye to Sugar
We know, we know, everyone says it but refined sugars are just plain bad and a feeding ground for belly fat. Sweetened drinks, desserts and foods rich in oil are products that highly contribute to belly fat.
- Spice it Up
Increase the amount of spices you use in your cooking. Adding spices is a great way to add flavor without caloric additives like oil. Many spices help burn belly fat. Give ginger, black pepper and cinnamon a try. They’re also packed with different health benefits beyond burning fat, but across the board they lower blood sugar levels and promote insulin resistance.
- Eat a snack between 3 p.m. an 4 p.m.
Eating a snack that contains protein between the hours of 3 and 4 p.m. like almonds, protein bar or an apple will boost your metabolism and balance blood sugar at a time when you’ll probably feel tired and be tempted to eat something unhealthy. Eating every three to four hours will keep your blood sugar even, but many people tend to go five or six hours between lunch and dinner without eating.
- Eat healthy fats
Bring on the avocado. Eating healthy fat helps you slim down. The Institute of Medicine recommends that fatty foods make up to 20-35% of total calories. It’s important to include the right fats in your diet, primarily monounsaturated fats like nuts, avocados and healthy oils.
Dr. Samadi is a board-certified urologic oncologist trained in open and traditional and laparoscopic surgery, and an expert in robotic prostate surgery. He is chairman of urology, chief of robotic surgery at Lenox Hill Hospital and professor of urology at Hofstra North Shore-LIJ School of Medicine. He is a medical correspondent for the Fox News Channel’s Medical A-Team and the chief medical correspondent for am970 in New York City, where he is heard Sundays at 10 a.m.