Your fat-loss plan shouldn’t be left to chance. Use these 5 methods from fitness expert Erin Stern to help jump start your fat-loss goals.
Spot reduction of fat or losing fat from only a specific area is not possible. It is, however, possible to lose overall fat and reduce stress levels – which can directly impact belly fat. Often, small tweaks in lifestyle and training habits can lead to great results. Here are a few changes you can start making today!
Reduce stress levels
You can do this by either eliminating stressors or changing the way you look at stress in your life. Start by eliminating unnecessary stress. This can include limiting time around toxic people, creating to-do lists, and getting things done instead of procrastinating. We don’t always have the ability to completely eliminate stress, so it’s important to manage it or re-think how we perceive a situation.
Meditation can really help, too. Sit out in nature or download a free app for guided meditation. It’s also important to remember that events don’t actually cause stress – our reaction to those events is what causes it!
Improve sleep hygiene
Try to limit electronics an hour before bed. Electronics emit blue light which can suppress melatonin. This makes it very difficult to go to sleep. If you can’t avoid evening screen time, get blue-light blocking glasses or switch electronics to nighttime mode. The screen will emit warmer tones that won’t affect sleep as much.
Make a to-do list for the next day and clear your mind. It can be difficult to sleep when the mind is preoccupied with all the things you need to do for the next day. Writing everything down in lists can take the pressure off.
Before bed, make your room dark and cool. As stated above, light can inhibit melatonin and give signals that it’s time to wake. A warm room makes it more difficult to sleep, too. Set the temperature to around 68 degrees and pull those blackout curtains tight across windows. Also, try to unplug electronics, or keep them in a separate room.
Try to eat the most when you’re most active and eat earlier in the day rather than later. We have a natural rhythm to sleeping and eating. In the morning, cortisol levels are high and melatonin levels are low. The metabolism is primed to digest. Later on, in the afternoon and evening, cortisol drops and melatonin starts to rise. Melatonin can inhibit insulin secretion. This means that you’re not as well-equipped to handle a large meal later in the day or at night! Avoiding big meals right before bed can make a big difference in your progress! Try to eat within a shorter time window, for example from 7am-7pm, or from 8am-8pm.
Weighted abs exercises, vacuums, and planks
Train your 6-pack and the muscles under the 6-pack. This will help tighten and shrink your waist. Planks and vacuums are great for tightening the transverse abdominis (TVA), which is like an internal girdle. You can take inches off your waist by training the TVA often! Weighted crunches will help build up the rectus abdominis, or 6-pack, which can make the muscles look more visible.
Watch different plank variations and how to perform a vacuum here.
Incorporate HIIT into your current routine
HIIT (high intensity interval training) can be done 1-2x per week for the best results. HIIT is all-out effort for 4-12 sprints. Keep in mind, a sprint is anything you’re able to go all-out on. This can be the rower, treadmill, stairs, sled, pool, hills, bike, etc! This burns fat and elevates your metabolism for up to 48 hours after you’re done. When adding HIIT, perform it on a separate session or after upper body training.
Thanks for reading! Until next time, train hard, y’all!
Erin Stern, 2x Ms. Olympia | Team myHMB Athlete