Carrying extra weight in your belly and back increases your risk of heart disease, high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes. While it can be tough to target these specific areas, it is possible to lose fat in these areas with a combination of cardiovascular exercise, strength training and a healthy diet.
Create healthy meals by ensuring that half of each meal comes from fruits and vegetables. Include green leafy vegetables, such as lettuce and cabbage as well as bright colored vegetables, like carrots and tomatoes. Choose whole-grain options for breads and pastas. Select low-fat dairy products and lean protein such as chicken and fish. Avoid foods that are high in sodium or sugar such as processed snack foods like chips and candy.
Reduce the size of your portions in order to cut calories from your diet. In order to yield a 1- to 2-lb. weight loss per week, you need to reduce your caloric intake by 500 to 1,000 calories every day. Try to limit meat portions to a 3 to 4 oz. serving per meal. Focus on filling the majority of your plate with fruit and vegetables.
Eat most of your meals at home so that you can control the ingredients used in preparation of your foods. When you must eat out, make sure to inquire about what ingredients are included in a recipe and request substitutions as necessary. When possible, order from the light menu or split a meal with a friend.
Get at least 2.5 hours of aerobic activity each week, such as walking, running or biking. Perform these activities intensely enough that you break a sweat and your heart rate increases. Consider taking aerobics, dance or cycling classes at a local fitness center.
Choose higher intensity aerobic activities for faster results. For example, running helps a 160-lb. person burn 986 calories in one hour -- whereas walking only burns 277 calories per hour. Other high intensity choice include indoor cycling, rollerblading, Tae Kwon Do and jumping rope.
Include strength training for your entire body at least two times a week. Make sure to give muscle groups a day off to recover in between training sessions. If you're new to strength training, consider at least one session with a personal trainer to learn proper technique.
Focus on strengthening your rectus abdominis and oblique muscles in your belly and your erector spinae muscles in your back. Perform three sets of 12 repetitions for each exercise.
Do crunches to work your rectus abdominis muscles. On your back with your legs bent and feet flat on the ground, place your hands behind your head and slowly crunch your head and shoulders off the ground.
Perform a bicycle crunch to work your internal and external obliques. With your head and shoulders off the ground and your legs lifted and bent to a 90-degree angle, twist your right shoulder toward your left knee as you extend your right leg straight and about 6 to 8 inches off the ground. Pause before completing the repetition by twisting to the other side.
Strengthen your erector spinae muscles with an exercise called a superman. Lying flat on your stomach with your arms extended straight above your head and your legs straight, lift both your arms and your legs off the ground simultaneously. Be careful not to arch your back. Slowly lower back down to the ground.
- Keep a food diary to track all of the food you eat each day. Making yourself accountable for all of the calories you consume can help you decipher meals or snacks where you need to cut back.
- Get clearance from your doctor prior to beginning any new workout plan.
- MayoClinic.com: Belly Fat in Men: Why Weight Loss Matters
- American Council on Exercise: Why is the Concept of Spot Training Considered a Myth?; Jessica Matthews
- U.S. Department of Agriculture: My Plate
- Centers for Disease Control: How Much Physical Activity Do Adults Need?
- American Council on Exercise: Bent-Knee Situp/Crunch
- American Council on Exercise: Supine Bicycle Crunches
- Jupiterimages/Polka Dot/Getty Images
This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or JillianMichaels.com.