Any extra belly fat is frustrating.
We all want a flat stomach, and once we notice some extra fat around our middle, we go in panic mode.
It is hard to change and get rid of extra belly fat.
There is no single way for how to get rid of muffin top.
With that in mind, let’s talk about what causes muffin top in the first place, how to get rid of it, and debunk some of the myths around it.
Table of Contents
What causes muffin top?
Excess belly fat is usually referred as a muffin top.
It can be caused by a variety of factors.
The simplest one is you have excess fat all over.
Even when you lose fat, losing the one around the belly is challenging.
Here are four factors that contribute to belly fat.
Where your body stores most fat is due to genetics 1.
If your parents and grandparents had more of a pear-shape, you are likely to be shaped like that as well.
However, genetics should never be your excuse to be defeated by the muffin top.
One of my favorite phrases is “Flat stomach is made in the kitchen”.
Consuming a lot of sugary drinks, high-sodium foods, and foods with artificial ingredients will lead to a belly fat 2.
There are many foods that trigger bloating, and you should avoid them at all cost.
Women entering perimenopause and menopause may find extra fat around their middle 3.
It is just a change in hormones.
Women who are estrogen dominant, will store even more fat around the belly 4.
It is important to balance your hormones for weight loss and how to get rid of muffin top.
There a number of studies showing a link between visceral fat and chronic stress 6.
And even worse, when you are under stress, you normally crave for unhealthy sugary and salty food.
Debunking popular myths
Let’s talk about some popular myths regarding a muffin top.
Nowadays, we are flooded with commercials that it is easy to flatten your stomach.
But do not believe it.
Hard work pays off, especially if you want to know how to get rid of a muffin top.
Myth No.1 Spot Reducing
This is one of the biggest misconceptions people have.
You think that working an area of your body over and over will result in a flat stomach?
Doing a thousand abs exercises per day will not help 7.
Instead, you need to work on reducing your overall body fat.
Myth No.2 Constant cardio is best way to get it done
Another impulse people have when they are obese and have a muffin top is to begin overexercising.
Nothing is good if you overdo it.
That applies to exercise as well.
You can do cardio for an hour every day of the week, and you will still not get the desirable results 8.
Same as with abs, working just one type of exercise will not help.
Cardio will help you burn calories, increase your overall energy levels, and open oxygen pathways.
It is great.
But doing only cardio and no strength exercises will not result in reduced belly fat.
Myth No.3 What about starvation diets?
Another popular mistake people do when they try to find out how to get rid of muffin top is go on a starvation diet.
Now, changing your diet is a key to getting rid of excess fat.
But that doesn’t mean a starvation diet.
When you skip meals, you put your body into starvation mode, and your body actually conserves calories and store them as fat 9.
In a way, instead of losing fat, you are gaining fat.
How to reduce belly fat naturally?
There are three keys in reducing your belly fat and learn how to get rid of muffin top.
Those three are healthy diet, strength training, and cardio exercises.
You probably heard this before, but let’s repeat it.
You cannot work off a bad diet.
As simple as that.
If you are not eating healthy, your workout is wasted.
One of the biggest reasons for obesity in the world is diet rich in excess sugar and carbs 10.
So, physical inactivity is not to blame for increased obesity levels.
It plays a role, but the key is diet.
Eating clean doesn’t mean starving yourself.
We will get into the right diet in a moment.
The second key is strength train.
As mentioned before, just cardio will not do the trick.
You need to work out your muscles.
The muscle is an active tissue that helps you burn calories.
You want more muscles.
A big misconception among people is that they will look muscular and like a bodybuilder if they do strength exercises.
As you increase your lean muscles, you also increase the basal metabolic rate, one that helps you burn more calories.
The third key is doing cardio intervals.
The best way to do cardio is high intensity interval training, a form of cardio that is most efficient for burning calories.
Another form of cardio is tabata intervals.
In addition to those three keys for how to get rid of muffin top, there are also two suggestions.
One is to get enough sleep, because no sleep leads to stress and food cravings.
The second is to train your core the right way.
We touched on this before.
You have to work out your entire core, not just your abdominal section.
How to change your diet?
Let’s talk more about changes to the diet you need to implement in order for how to get rid of muffin top.
Here are a couple of suggestions listed in bullet points:
- Set aside specific meal times. Always eat at a dining room table, and when possible, prohibit from eating in front of the television or at your desk
- Limit portion sizes. Make it a priority to eat frequent and small meals so that the calories are easier for your body to burn
- Monitor fat intake, and consume monounsaturated fats. They are much better than trans fats. Some exaples include avocado, green tea, olive oil, almonds, blueberries, bulgur, yogurt, and low-fat milk as good sources of healthy fats
- Stick to home-cooked meals. Try to limit yourself as much as possible from fast food meals and processed foods
- Eliminate high calories drinks from your menu like sugary fruit juices and sodas. Alcohol is also a no-no
- Get more fiber in your diet to feel fuller and slow down digestion. High fiber foods are broccoli, cabbage, collard greens, peas, Brussels sprouts, avocado, and some fruits
- Replace refined grains with whole grains that contain more fiber and less sugar
- Add more protein to your diet, and make sure to source it from lean protein sources like lean meats
- Avoid sodium, one of the biggest causes for belly fat. Sodium causes your body to retain water and gas, and it results in bloated abdomen
Exercises to get rid of muffin top
Let’s talk about some of the exercises that can help you lose belly fat.
As mentioned previously, you need strength training, not just cardio.
Most of these are targeting your abdominal section, and your entire core.
1. A starting position is with feet hip-width apart, and your arms at your sides
2. Reach down towards the toes with one arm, and in the same time lift the other one up towards the waist, placing it on the hip
3. Alternate sides with one arm up, and the other one down
1. Put the hands behind your head, with the elbows wide and knees slightly bent
2. Make sure your hips do not move, and then twist to one side and then to the other
3. Alternate between sides for 50 reps
1. Start in a plank position with the abs tightened
2. Lower into the forearm plank by bending your elbows and coming down on the forearms
3. Roll to the left side into a forearm plank, and in the same time, stack the right leg over your left leg
4. Put your right hand on your hip, and dip your hip towards the floor and lift back
5. Repeat 10 dips on one side, and then 10 to the other side
1. Sit on your butt, and press your feet into the ground. Bend your knees
2. Lean back a little, and grab a dumbbell in your hands
3. Rotate the dumbbell from side to side, twisting your torso in the same time
4. Do 10 reps on each side
1. Start in a standard plank position, and position your hands directly under the shoulders
2. Roll to the left side into a side plank, and then come back to the standard plank position
3. Roll to the right side into side a plank, and then come back
4. Keep alternating until you complete 10 rolls on each side
1. Lie down on the floor with your back and feet flat on the floor. Keep your knees bent
2. Lift your butt up until your knees and shoulders form a straight line
3. Lower your butt, and repeat up again 20 times
When you are under stress, you are flooded with cortisol, and it sends a signal to the visceral fat for survival 5https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/11/001120072314.htm