Posted by: WJA | 2009/04/08

Getting rid of the gut

I need some help. I have been training for over 6 months now, the last 4 months with a PT. I am a 41 yr old male.

Whilst my original goal was simply getting back into shape, I have moved on to some body building to improve my overall physique.

I just cannot seem to shake off my historical gut - there is a band of fat around my middle section (in the belly button region) that simply will not budge no matter what I do.

Is this linked to my eating plan as I also just cannot seem to get my body fat percentage down below the 15 percent mark (Started out at 23) and it has been hovering at this level for 3 months now. Overall I am not gaining or loosing weight being a relatively constant 70kg.

I am using USA CLA supps during the week and PhedraCut over the weekends.

Under this fat my abs are rock solid as I have been working these quite heavily.

What can I do to shake this belly?

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Our expert says:
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This is perhaps the most common question, even those who exercise regularly. It’s particularly troublesome as we get older, because we lose muscle mass and that makes it more and more difficult to combat the body’s frustrating tendency to store fat, which is really the problem here. Our genes determine where that fat is deposited, which is why some people battle with the stomach, others with arms or thighs.

Regardless of the location, the key is a combination of proper exercise and careful diet. Proper exercise means avoiding the myth that you can spot reduce. That is, there is a perception that you can target specific areas for fat loss by doing very specific exercise. Unfortunately, a million sit-ups a day is not the sole solution. It certainly has a beneficial effect, as I’ll explain, but by itself is not the solution. So rather than becoming pre-occupied on one area, your aim should be to increase metabolic rate – that’s how you burn fat. You do through regular cardiovascular exercise, which includes cycling, aerobics, taebo, spinning, walking or jogging. You’re already doing this with your jogging, but you might consider how often you run (four or five times a week is ideal), and very importantly, the intensity (running speed). A small increase in intensity, even once a week, can have a big effect.

Given what you've said about your training, perhaps you need to do more cardio work, in order to actually burn fat.

You should then combine this with some weight training. Weight training, which includes sit-ups, is helpful because it increases muscle mass (which has the long-term effect of raising metabolic rate) and because it literally helps create more muscle. More muscle means a more toned appearance. Just doing sit-ups is a start, but you can raise the impact by doing a variety of exercises that target different abdominal muscles. I’d suggest speaking to a trainer at the gym to discover these.

Finally, remember that diet is the great “enabler”. If exercise is perfect, but diet poor, then you undermine your progress. So cover that base, perhaps by seeing a dietician, and get cover all three bases. I certainly would not be using CLA or phedra cut - they don't work anyway, just a waste of money and they have risks that can be quite serious (phedra cut is banned in the USA after being linked to some sudden deaths.

Good luck

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